Looking for ways to clean and care mouthpieces, regulators and BCDs? Read this blog till the end to find things you need to know for a cleaning and caring your scuba equipment.
Cleaning, maintaining and regularly checking your diving and snorkelling equipment will increase your equipment’s lifespan, reduce the likely hood of equipment malfunction, help prevent the build-up of mould or bacteria and reduce the chance of any transfer of disease or infections.
Look out for cleaning instructions
Many manufacturers will provide you with cleaning instruction for their specific brand of equipment and it is important you follow this recommendation.
Regulators and Mouthpieces
Here we will cover some general recommendation for cleaning and caring for your regulators, the methods used may need to be adjusted based on the equipment you have available when cleaning and disinfecting your gear.
Option one: Clean your regulators while they are connected to a Scuba cylinder and pressurised.
This method can allow longer soaking of your regulators and purging, swivelling of your regulators first and second stages whilst cleaning and is a preferred method by some manufacturers.
Once you have connected your regulators to a cylinder, we recommend using a tank with a minimum of around 40 to 50 BAR. Simply turn on your cylinder charging your regulators as you would normally for diving. You can now flush them with fresh water or soak them in fresh water or a biodegradable disinfectant gear wash.
You should also visually check for any possible leaks looking for small continuous bubbles whilst you’re cleaning. Using a soft brush like a toothbrush you can slide down any hose protectors and clean around your hose ends to prevent corrosion and build up on the hose crimps.
Option Two: Cleaning your regulators disconnected.
First make sure your dust cap/cover is in place and is dry, clean and free of any debris prior to fitting your dust cap. Once fitted you can gently rinse with fresh water or by pouring a mixture of biodegradable gear wash over your equipment. Using a soft toothbrush to clean around your hose ends and first and second stages.
Do not purge your regulators whilst they are being cleaned using this method as they are not pressurised, and you need to avoid any water entering the second stage hoses. You can still inspect your regulators, checking for any signs of cracking on hoses or small tears or splits on mouthpieces or lugs.
Whenever cleaning your equipment taking the time to look over them and checking for any wear and tear allows you to organise them to be repaired or serviced prior to your next trip. Common issues are tears or bite damage to the mouthpieces, small cuts around the zip ties close to the securing area of the mouthpiece.
Other wear, damage, or abrasions to your hoses, second stages, and things like missing exhausts can be easy to spot during the cleaning process. If you do notice any leaks, or damaged have your regulators inspected immediately to avoid any further damage. Always wash all your equipment with a final rinse of fresh water to remove any remaining gear wash and dry in a cool shady area.
Cleaning your BCD
The best method is to soak your BCD in a tub of a biodegradable disinfectant gear wash and allow a small amount to drain into or flood the internal bladder. This allows you to slosh the cleaner around and washout any salt crystals or bacteria that may be inside the bladder or hoses.
If you are unable to do this again you can make a mixture and pour the cleaner over your BCD, then by pressing your deflate button you can pour in some cleaner or fresh water into the BCD bladder. When washing pull, clean and test all dump valves allowing the water or cleaner to drain out of the dump valve.
Always flush the BCD bladder again with fresh water and drain using a BCD dump valve. It is usually best to dry in a cool, shady place and with the BCD fully inflated, this also allows you to check for any bladder leaks. Should the BCD deflate and lose pressure within 12 hours you should have your BCD inspected.
Wetsuits, boots, gloves, hoods, dive accessories and mask, snorkel & fins
We recommend again soaking everything in a good quality biodegradable disinfectant gear wash. While cleaning any items that have clips or buckles it is important to swivel and use the clips while soaking to help remove any salt or debris that may be trapped in the buckles . Zips sliders should be run up the zipper teeth opening and closing the zipper while your washing, this includes boots, bags, and wetsuits.
Some items like Zips, Knives, Torches and even cameras need special attention during and after cleaning. This may include using special lubricants recommended by the manufacturer to help prolong life and keep the item watertight. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendation when applying any lubricants to O-rings or to protect any specialised equipment materials.
After cleaning all your gear always dry your equipment in a cool, dry, shady area to avoid sun damage.