The One Crucial Step You Should Never Skip After Snorkeling

You should always clean your snorkeling equipment when you're done exploring the ocean. Along with avoiding sharks and not wearing harmful sunscreens when snorkeling over a coral reef, this is one of the first pieces of advice newcomers usually receive after buying their gear. But do you know why it's so important? It turns out that skipping this step could have some consequences.


When you snorkel, you take your equipment into the water with you, so you may wonder why you're supposed to rinse it all off immediately before it even dries. While it might not seem like a big deal, the tiny amounts of debris left behind by the ocean waves can seriously damage your gear and even make you sick. You should give your mask a deeper clean when you have time, but even rinsing it with clean water (not in the sea!) as soon as you take it off can make a huge difference.

Why it's a bad idea to wait to clean your snorkeling gear

Even though your mask may look clean when you get out of the water, little debris fragments can be left behind. When you're swimming in the ocean, salt and sand are the main offenders, but even if you're snorkeling in lakes and rivers, bits of dirt and plant matter can result in the same problems. If you let these particles stay on your mask or fins, they can cause scratches that make it hard to see or even mess with the fit. Your gear may break down faster, meaning that you'll have to buy new pieces much sooner than you would have if you had just taken the time to rinse them out after each use.


This is particularly an issue for your mask because it has many nooks and crannies that can stay wet and grow bacteria or mold. As well as being bad for your equipment, this can be dangerous for you. The last thing you want to do is put the mouthpiece in and start breathing through a tube that's growing pathogens.

How to clean your equipment

You should rinse it off as soon as you finish using your gear. Often, popular beaches and the boats that take you out for snorkeling tours will have a shower you can use to do this before returning to your hotel room. Don't forget to wash out the inside of your mask, too, whether or not water got into your mask while snorkeling. Afterward, you should leave it out to dry completely before putting it away.


Periodically, you should also ensure there isn't any debris you missed in your gear and leave it to soak. You can buy specialized products for this, but warm water and soap without harsh alcohol or petroleum will work just as well. Just like when you rinse your mask after snorkeling, ensure it's completely dry before storage. As long as you regularly clean your gear, it should last many years.