How to Clean SCUBA Gear in Bleach

by Regina Edwards

Scuba gear should be cleaned and dried at the end of each day's dive to prevent salt buildup and reduce bacteria. A simple, mild bleach solution can be prepared quickly for disinfecting your dive gear. Undercurrent.org suggests that soaking gear such as masks, snorkels and rubber mouthpieces in communal rinse tanks should be avoided to reduce the potential spread of disease.

Fill the 1.5-gallon bucket with one gallon of fresh water and add one tablespoon of bleach.

Place rubber or plastic parts of the scuba gear into the bleach solution and allow them to soak for up to 2 minutes. Rubber parts include mouthpieces, snorkels, masks and rubber face skirts. Plastic parts include clips and holders.

Gently brush away, using the soft brush, any noticeable mold or mildew from the rubber or plastic parts after the soaking period. Consider rinsing for a few seconds in the bleach solution to see whether additional areas need to be brushed.

Remove gear from the bucket, transfer to second bucket filled with fresh water, if desired, and rinse the gear in fresh water according to your normal cleaning routine. Make sure the gear is rinsed in fresh water for at least as long as it soaked in the bleach solution.

Hang all gear to dry, taking care to keep it away from sunlight or heat.

Items you will need

  • Bleach (1 tablespoon)
  • Water
  • Bucket (at least 1.5 gallon capacity)
  • Soft brush (e.g., toothbrush)
  • Scuba gear (e.g., mask, snorkel)
  • Optional: another bucket, latex gloves

Tip

  • Wear latex gloves when handling items in the bleach solution to reduce skin exposure or reaction by bleach-sensitive skin. Consider disinfecting only those pieces that are used on your face or inserted into your mouth such as a snorkel or mask.

Warning

  • If you must disinfect your regulator or alternate air source, do not immerse the regulator set up (hoses and first stage) in the bleach solution. Instead, soak the mouthpieces briefly (30 seconds to 1 minute) before rinsing thoroughly and drying. Do not expose your buoyancy control device (BCD) to a bleach solution because it may damage the air bladder and dump valves over time (gently scrub parts if needed using fresh water or prepare a solution with Simple Green). Do not soak wetsuits or other gear containing foam or padding because these materials can dissolve or disintegrate with continued exposure to bleach solutions. Do not immerse dive lights or computers in a bleach solution because repeated exposure may affect plastic housing. Avoid disassembling gear and possibly voiding your equipment warranty.

About the Author

Regina Edwards has been a freelance writer since 1990. She has penned video scripts, instructional manuals, white papers and abstracts. She has also ghostwritten diabetes journals. Edwards is a scuba instructor and Usui and Karuna Reiki teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Saint Joseph's University.