Why Snorkeling Masks Fog Up and 7 Ways to Prevent It

Nobody wants to find themselves with a foggy mask during their snorkeling session. Suddenly, those beautiful sea creatures and sea life will look something of a mess, and you simply won’t get the best experience. Aside from a ruined snorkeling excursion, fogged-up lenses of any kind are downright annoying. So why do snorkel masks fog up and how can you stop it?

Snorkel masks fog up because they are either dirty, brand new and have silicone grease on the glass, or moisture is getting inside. The best thing to do is clear the manufacturing residue off, thoroughly clean before every snorkeling adventure, and make sure the mask is dried and worn correctly.

Struggling with a foggy snorkel mask is no fun and can really put a damper on your trip. But you are in luck, there are seven different efficient ways to get rid of the fogginess once and for all. We are going to discuss all the best ways to stop foggy flare-ups as well as some top-notch product suggestions that will leave your snorkel mask clear and ready for action. 

Why do Snorkel Masks Fog Up?

There are three reasons why your snorkel mask will ever end up fogging up:

  1. It’s dirty. When leftover dirt and oils are left on the lens, then moisture will attach to it instantaneously, giving you that horrid foggy appearance. Aside from that, moisture will also attach to imperfections on the glass, so you should clean it every time before use.
  2. It’s new. You might think that a new snorkeling mask should be ready to go right after purchasing, but this simply is not the case. In fact, most snorkel masks will have a leftover residue, known as silicone grease, left on the glass. The silicone will attract moisture, which leads to fogginess. 
  3. Moisture is getting inside. We know that a dirty or brand-new snorkel mask will attract moisture, so the best thing to do (aside from a thorough cleaning) is to make sure that moisture does not get inside in the first place. Dry your snorkel mask thoroughly before wearing and wear it properly. Try to avoid removing the mask during the snorkel session. Try to not exhale through your nose.

7 Ways to Stop a Snorkeling Mask from Fogging Up

If you are struggling with fog in your snorkel mask, you have come to the right place. We are sharing 7 tips and tricks for success under the sea. Some of these tips and tricks are truly ingenious, and most will utilize materials you likely have on-hand, making these not only handy tricks but convenient ones, too. Let’s dive in:

Use Toothpaste on Your New Mask

When you purchase a new mask it will have leftover silicone coating from the manufacturer on the lens. If you do not remove this residue, then you will end up with fog. So what can you do to make sure your snorkel mask is cleaned from this unwanted coating?

One idea is to use the toothpaste trick for cleaning. With this cleaning method, you will need to do the following:

  1. Squirt a few drops of toothpaste onto the lens. Keep in mind that it needs to be paste, not gel. The toothpaste should also be ‘basic’, meaning there is no confetti, bleaching agents, or anything else that is razzle-dazzle as this can hurt the lens.
  2. Rub the toothpaste around with your fingertips. You can also use a small cloth. The goal is to do this gently. Pushing too hard, either with your fingertips or cloth, can also cause damage to the lens. Always be gentle during this process, but make sure the entirety of the mask is covered with toothpaste.
  3. Leave the toothpaste overnight. Leaving the toothpaste solution on the lens overnight will help to draw out any extra coating or residue. 
  4. If you can’t leave it on overnight, then perform the first 2 steps a few more times. If you are in a rush and the family is ready to leave for snorkeling in 20 minutes, then you won’t have time to leave toothpaste overnight. If this is the case, then simply repeat the first two steps. 
  5. Rinse the snorkel mask. When you have completed the toothpaste cleaning trick, you will need to clean the mask. Simply rinse it off with some water. If you are struggling to remove the toothpaste, use your fingertips or cloth to remove stubborn toothpaste.

Use Fire on Your New Mask

No, we do not mean that you should chuck your snorkel mask into an open flame and cross your fingers. Instead, we recommend using the flame trick to clean off the residue from your new snorkel mask. This is the best way to clean off the manufacturer’s leftover coating, but not everyone feels comfortable around flames- even small ones. If that is the case, stick to the toothpaste remedy.

If you’re all for using fire to ignite the coating right off your snorkel mask, then all you need to do is this the following:

  1. Run the tip of a flame (from a lighter or tapered candle) over the entirety of the lens. Continue to do so until the lens turns completely black. Don’t be nervous during this part! Letting your snorkel mask lens turn black is okay, but once it is black, do not continue to run the flame over it. 
  2. Once the glass is black, wait for the lens to cool off completely. You do not want to burn yourself during this process. 
  3. Once cooled, use a cloth to wipe away the soot on the lens. 
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 until the glass no longer turns black. That’s right- you are going to continue to burn the snorkel mask lens until it becomes difficult to turn the lens black. This is an indicator that there is no longer any type of residue coating the lens.

Tip: You should never allow the glass to become too hot. Once it is black, remove the flame from that section entirely, otherwise, it could damage or break the glass. You should also never use this trick on any type of plastic lens as they will automatically burn. Lastly, take care to keep the flame far away from the silicone skirt of the snorkel mask, as they can melt.

Clean Using Your Spit

Of course, your eyebrow probably raised when you read this first tip. After all, most people don’t think of using their spit as a cleaning solution, especially in something that is going to be attached to their faces. But it works. All you need to do is spit on the glass, rinse it (without using your fingers), and empty. Viola! Your fog problem is fixed.

This is one of the best options for when you are out on the ocean and do not have access to your usual cleaning products. Think about it- your go-to anti-fog spray is not likely to be hiding somewhere in your bathing suit, so you will need to find an alternative. And while you shouldn’t remove your snorkel mask in the first place, sometimes you have to.

When this happens, you are likely going to run into some unwanted fog. Well, utilize your spit once more. Spit in the snorkel mask, dip into the seawater and swirl it around a bit before emptying. Don’t put too much saltwater, though, as this can have the opposite effect and create more obstruction to your snorkel mask.

Tip: While utilizing your spit for cleaning is a wonderful choice, you should refrain from trying to use your breath as a cleaner. While this might work on your reading glasses, it will not work for your snorkel glass. Breathing into your snorkel mask, in general, is a bad idea as it adds moisture, which we know now leads to fog.

Clean Using Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo is an excellent option for keeping your snorkel mask fog-free. The benefit to using baby shampoo is that it is relatively cheap (you can find baby shampoo at dollar stores), and they are hypo-allergenic and biodegradable. This means that they won’t cause any irritation to your eyes and will not leave any unwanted residue on the lens.

To use baby shampoo, all you will need to do is squirt a few drops onto the lens, rub all over, using your fingertips, and rinse with fresh water. Remember- just like any other cleaning agent, you do not want to rub the baby shampoo off entirely, or else you will lose the anti-fog coating.

Clean Using a Potato

This method might be hit or miss, but if you have a potato in your pantry that has seen better days, then why not give it a shot? All you need to do is cut a potato and use the inside to rub against your snorkel mask lens. Give it a quick rinse in some fresh water and that’s it! The potato should work as an anti-fogging agent to keep your mask clear and clean while snorkeling.

Use an Anti-Fog Product

If you prefer to use commercial products, then you will be happy to know that there are many commercial products for keeping your snorkel mask from fogging up. These products are specifically designed to coat the mask with an anti-fogging agent that you can feel confident in. 

Most anti-fog products work the same way- you will place a few drops of the product directly on the snorkel mask lens. Then, dunk the snorkel mask in a bit of fresh water (not salt water) to rinse ever-so-slightly. Don’t wipe off afterward, though, as you want enough of the product to stay on the lens in order to work properly.

There are several different anti-fog products specifically designed for snorkel masks. At the end of the article we will discuss the top 3 products on the market to help make your decision easier. If you are sure you will be using an anti-fog product, go ahead and jump ahead!

Wear the Mask Properly

When it comes to wearing your mask properly, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, you should always dry off your face and the snorkel mask before wearing it. Any leftover moisture can quickly (and easily) lead to fogs when you are out in the water. Be diligent when drying off your face. Your snorkel mask can simply be shaken to remove any extra water droplets. 

Make sure that your snorkel mask has a good seal. Not only will lack of a seal produce unwanted fogginess, but it can also allow water to enter altogether. This will lead to a lack of visibility and irritated eyes as they come in contact with the saltwater. Therefore, pay extra close attention that the snorkel mask is thoroughly sealed all the way around.

Try not to remove your snorkel mask while snorkeling. Removing the snorkel mask will make it susceptible to dirt and grime or moisture that will lead to fogginess when you reapply the mask.

The 3 Best Defoggers for Snorkeling Masks

Cressi Anti-Fog Solutions for Snorkeling and Diving Masks

With over 3,000 positive reviews on Amazon and around $10 a bottle, you can feel secure and confident in this anti-fog spray’s abilities. This top-of-the-line product is used by snorkelers and divers alike and is easy to use- simply spray it on your snorkeling mask lens before hopping into the water, and you won’t have to worry about the nuisance of fogging.

Perhaps the best part about this anti-fog spray is that you don’t have to worry about any irritating chemicals or ingredients. With eye-friendly ingredients, you can rest assured that this spray will not lead to burning eyes or irritated, inflamed skin while snorkeling. 

Keep this handy anti-fog spray in your snorkeling bag and you will be glad you did.

GEAR AID Sea Gold Anti-Fog Gel Coating for SCUBA Dive Masks

For less than $10 you can get your hands on a high-quality product known as the GEAR AID Sea Gold Anti-Fog Gel. This handy gel defogs masks with ease. Now, you can stay underwater for longer without having to worry about fog buildup. Being non-toxic and alcohol-free, you know you are getting a comfortable gel that won’t cause issues to the eyes or skin.

With this uniquely designed anti-fog gel, you can rest assured that the gel will last all day long, even if you go through multiple dives- just ask the 300+ positive reviewers that have written happy remarks about this top-of-the-line product! All it takes a single application and you can enjoy a fog-free mask all day. 

This gel is perfect for all types of masks, whether you are using a glass or plastic model, making it a handy and versatile product that you can use alone or share with your buddies. For around $8, it would seem silly not to buy this product.

WACOOL Snorkeling Package Set for Adults

Why fiddle with all these gels and sprays when you can simply buy a snorkel mask that does not fog in the first place? The WACOOL Snorkeling Package Set for Adults is the go-to snorkeling mask for any adult that wants a fog-free dive. Enjoy the ride and gaze at the wonders of the sea without hassle. Enjoy these amazing benefits for less than $30:

  • Easily adjustable. This snorkeling mask comes with adjustable straps that can be customized to fit your head for the perfect fit. The high-grade silicone skirt ensures a perfect mold to any face shape, so you do not have to worry about leaks (and eventually, fogs). You will also love the ribbed design which not only creates a tight seal but a comfortable one at that.
  • Designed with an anti-fog glass lens. The shape and design of this tempered glass lens ensure that you won’t have to worry about pesky fogs during your trip, enjoying a crystal-clear ride from start to finish. The one-piece design also ensures that you can see better beneath the surface with a wider vision. 
  • Designed to keep water out. With an anti-splash system, you never have to worry about moisture entering your snorkel mask- which eventually turns into unwanted fogginess. The snorkel and purge valve work together to clear and drain water before it even thinks about reaching your lens.

What do you have to lose? This is truly the do-all snorkel mask that will prevent fogs from forming. For ultra-coverage on your snorkeling excursion, combine this mask with one of the above-mentioned tips and tricks for keeping fog away from your snorkeling mask.

Conclusion

A fog in your snorkel mask is an easy way to put a downer on your snorkeling adventure, but you don’t have to worry about fogs when you have the right tips and tricks under your belt. Whether you utilize toothpaste, baby shampoo, anti-fog spray, or even your own spit, you can feel confident that your cleaning solutions will leave you with a fog-free trip that leads to endless memories. 


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Sources:

https://www.tropicalsnorkeling.com/prevent-snorkel-mask-fogging.html

https://www.liveabout.com/prevent-scuba-diving-mask-fogging-2963088

Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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