How important is it to clean and service scuba gear?

Service Scuba Gear

Cleaning and servicing scuba gear is extremely important for the safety and longevity of the equipment. Saltwater, sand, and other debris can cause damage and corrosion to the gear, which can lead to malfunctions and potentially dangerous situations while diving. Regular maintenance and cleaning can also help identify any issues before they become more serious. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning and servicing, and to have a professional inspect the gear at least once a year.

It is highly recommended to clean and service scuba gear. The threat of contracting a disease or infection from contaminated scuba gear is unlikely; however, there are many advantages to using clean, well-cared-for scuba equipment. Properly kept dive gear can last longer and is less likely to malfunction and cause a diving accident.  

Divers Alert Network® (DAN) encourages divers to read the manufacturer’s guidance in addition to the following procedures when cleaning and sanitizing scuba equipment.

Regulators and Mouthpieces

Before rinsing a regulator:

  1. Ensure the dust cap is clean, dry, and secured over the first stage inlet.
  2. Dip the regulator in fresh water for a short time and gently spin any moving parts to guarantee any salt residue is rinsed off or dissolves.
  3. Allow the regulator to dry entirely before storing.
  4. Use alcohol or an antibacterial mouthwash to sanitize the second-stage mouthpiece as an extra safeguard.  
  5. Swab the mouthpiece first, then scrub carefully using a toothbrush with soft bristles.  
  6. Thoroughly rinse, making sure not to press the purge button.

Wetsuits, Booties, and Gloves

Unless you dive only in freshwater, it’s important to rinse all neoprene items after every dive. Saltwater causes neoprene to lose its flexibility.

All divers should wash and disinfect their wetsuits, boots, and gloves periodically with a long soak in warm water and wetsuit cleaner. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Unfasten Velcro and open all zippers
  2. Duck and gently massage articles
  3. Rinse thoroughly
  4. Hang wetsuits on wide hangers to dry with zippers open
  5. Store in a well-ventilated spot away from direct sunlight or near where a gasoline engine is used.
  • Always follow manufacturers’ guidance.
  • Use only cleaning products made for scuba equipment. Other cleaners can harm dive gear.

Mask, Fins, and Snorkel

Rinse your mask, fins, and snorkel after every dive, and let them dry thoroughly before storing to avoid mildew growth. Use fresh water and rotate any moving parts to remove salt, sand, or other debris. Clean your snorkel the same way you would the regulator.

Buoyancy Compensation Device (BCD)

Rinse the exterior of the BCD thoroughly with clean freshwater. Release the weight pockets (if applicable) and rinse individually.

It’s also recommended to flush the inside of your BCD:

  1. Start by dumping any water that penetrates the bladder during the dive, then pour clean freshwater via the low-pressure inflator hose.
  2. Orally inflate the BCD and shake the water around the fully inflated bladder.
  3. Invert the BCD so that the inflator hose is the lowest point and dump the excess water.
  4. After a thorough rinse, inflate the BCD about halfway. Allow it to dry entirely before deflating it, then store it away from direct sunlight.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s procedures for proper care, inspect your dive gear before use, and service scuba equipment regularly.  
  • Take an equipment maintenance course to learn more about gear care, basic repairs, and maintenance.
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