Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Frustration of a Foggy Mask

Image by rkit via Pixabay

Have you ever had a mask that fogged up continuously?  You want to enjoy the beautiful colors of the coral reef, but all you can see is a foggy blur?  You spend more time messing around with your mask on the surface than you do with your face in the water.  You feel jealous at all of the amazing things everyone else keep seeing.  "Did you see that octopus!?"  "Did you see that flounder?"  "Look, a turtle!"  Despite your most noble efforts rinsing the fog out every 10 seconds and squinting your eyes to see past the fog, you don't see anything! 

Image by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures Edited by Amy Kelley

Well, stress no more.  With a few tricks of the trade you will be seeing clearly in no time.

You may notice that new masks tend to fog even more than old masks.  Why is this?  When masks are assembled in the factory, a thin film of silicone ends up on the lenses.  That film helps make a water-tight seal between the lenses and the frame of the mask, but it also causes the mask to fog like crazy.   

The coating on the lenses can be removed in a few different ways.  

Image by William Warby via Flickr
Toothpaste (the white kind, that is slightly abrasive) can be used to scrub the film off the inside lenses by rubbing it around in a circular motion.  

Image by Christian Carter via YouTube
You could also use soft scrub to do the same thing.  

Image by Sun Ladder via Wikipedia

The quickest and easiest way to remove the film is by burning it off.  Carefully take a lighter and move the flame around the inside of the lenses.  It is important that you do not burn the silicone mask skirt or yourself when you do this.  When you notice a black film appearing, you will know that you are burning off the silicone residue.  Let it cool, then wipe away the film with a paper towel or tissue.  You can repeat this process until the black residue is no longer appearing.

After you have removed the silicone film and the lenses have cooled, you can apply a commercial defog solution for best results.  We sell Trident de-fog at the dive shop here in Secret Harbor.  

Image by Stephanie-inlove via Deviant Art

The next best option is using diluted baby shampoo.  Any soap would work, but the "No tears" aspect of baby shampoo makes it better.  As a last resort, if you don't have anything else, spit can also do the trick...but it doesn't work as well or last as long.  The key to using any defog solution is to apply it right before entering the water, and only give it a light rinse so the residue from the defog is still on the lenses.  If the lenses have a slippery coating, any condensation will bead-up and fall down to the bottom of the mask, leaving your view crystal clear.  

Image by OpenClipartVectors via Pixabay

If your skin is significantly warmer than the water temperature, the temperature difference will cause the inside of your mask to condensate more.  

Image by Rudyasho via Wikimedia Commons

To minimize this effect, submerge or splash your face to let your skin cool before putting your mask on.

Happy snorkeling!  I hope your next time out on the water is fog-free and full of amazing fish and creature sightings!

Image by Amy Kelley

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