How to Wash Your Scuba Gear

Scuba gear in the sand

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Your scuba gear is your life support equipment underwater. It makes sense to keep it in the best condition possible! Basic maintenance is simple: wash your gear as soon as possible after every dive. Salt, sand, and other foreign substances can damage or even destroy your dive gear.

Just Add Water

Most dive shops have a rinse tank with fresh water for rinsing gear, but if you are diving on your own, you may not have access to a dedicated rinse tank. A large tub, bathtub, your shower, or even a garden hose can all be used to rinse your gear.

Many dive shops use two separate tubs, one containing water and detergent for washing wetsuits and booties, and one filled with fresh water for all other gear. If you've been shore diving you may have sand or dirt on some of your equipment and it's a very good idea to rinse this off with a hose or in a separate bucket before washing the gear in the tub.

Cleaning the Regulator

The number one rule when washing your regulator is to ensure that the regulator's dust cap is clean, dry, and securely in place. This helps to prevent water from entering the first stage, which has internal components that are sensitive to moisture.

However, it's still not advisable to completely submerge the first stage in water and let it soak, as some water may leak into the first stage even with the dust cap in place (it's a dust cap, not a water cap, after all). Try to rinse the first stage with flowing water for one or two minutes, rotating any moving parts to be sure that the salt is removed.

Use a hose flow water through the second stages (without depressing the purge button) as well as around the low-pressure inflator hose sleeve, where it attaches to the BCD. Slide the sleeve around a bit as you rinse the hose, to be sure that the moving parts are fully rinsed.

Soak the second stages and hoses in fresh water for a few minutes if desired, but drape the first stage over the edge of the rinse tank to keep it from being fully submerged.

Hang the regulator in and air with good air circulation, and allow it to fully dry before storing or packing.

Washing Your BCD

To wash your BCD, completely submerge it in fresh water and dunk it up and down several times until all salt water and dry salt crystals have been washed away.

You will also need to was the inside of the BCD. Underwater, small amounts of water can enter the inside of the BCD through the exhaust valves and low-pressure inflator. It is necessary to wash all of this water out as salt water eventually dries inside leaving behind salt crystals which can build up over time and cause exhaust valves to malfunction and the internal bladder to tear.

Begin by pushing down on the deflate button of the low-pressure inflator while using a hose to flow fresh water into the exhaust valve. Once the bladder is one-quarter filled, thoroughly shake the BCD to allow the water to move all around the inside. Drain the water from the BCD and repeat a few times.

Partially inflate the BCD by orally inflating it and hang it up to dry.

Dive Computer and Camera

Rinse dive computers and cameras in fresh water, allow them to soak for an extended period if you can, and be sure that they are completely dry before opening the the camera housing or battery case. Remember to thoroughly dry your camera before you open its housing.

Wetsuit, Drysuits, Booties, and Gloves

Your wetsuit/drysuit booties and gloves should be rinsed as well. If possible, use some wetsuit soap to disinfect/deodorize items as needed. Turn neoprene items inside out to dry, and hang drysuits head-down from the boots if possible.

Fins, Mask, Snorkel, and Other Equipment

All other equipment should be submerged in fresh water, dunked up and down until clean and hung up to dry.