How to Clean Snorkeling Equipment

by Nicholas Bragg

Snorkeling consists of swimming on the surface of the ocean while wearing a dive mask, a breathing tube and swimming fins. Snorkeling is usually done in relatively shallow water over coral reefs to observe the local underwater animal population. Over time the equipment can get dirty and degrade in quality. Take special care to clean each individual piece of equipment to ensure a quality and safe experience.

Run the equipment under fresh water. Always rinse your equipment off immediately after a snorkeling session, even if you don't intend to clean it thoroughly. This will help prevent nasty films and bacteria from growing on the gear.

Clear all of the equipment of debris. Look for clumped sand and shells in crevices. Even tiny grains of sand can scratch your mask, damaging it permanently.

Rinse each piece of equipment with running fresh water either in a sink or tub. Sometimes sun block builds up around the mask skirt. You can remove this by gently rubbing the skirt with dish detergent.

Clean the inside of your mask using a small drop of toothpaste the size of a fingertip. Use your fingers to gently smear the toothpaste around the inside of the mask. Be careful not to use your fingernails as they can scratch the surface. Rinse it with fresh water afterward.

Fill a bucket with fresh water and clean your snorkel. There are two ways to do this. One involves washing the snorkel in the bucket with dish detergent and rinsing it clean under running fresh water. Another involves soaking the snorkel in a bucket of diluted bleach for 30 minutes, then rinsing it clean under running fresh water.

Clean the fins in a bucket of water. Use dish detergent and scrub both the inside and outside using just your hands. Rinse the fins afterward with fresh water.


  • Always store your mask in its case to avoid scratches. Whenever you set your mask down, lay it facing up so the mask isn't flat against the ground.

    If you have problems removing a film or build-up, using the soft side of a sponge. Never use any tools with a coarse surface to clean your gear.

Photo Credits

  • Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media

About the Author

Nicholas Bragg, a lifelong athlete and certified personal trainer, attended four separate colleges from Maryland to California, finishing in 2004. Named to the CEO's club as an elite performer at Intuit in 2009, he changed careers in 2010 and now contributes writing to Mahalo and SportswithM.