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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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April 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Burn Your Mask: Dealing with Those Annoying Foggy Lenses ... and a Last Resort Trick

from the April, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

During the manufacturing of a mask, silicone vapor deposits on the glass, which ensures that the mask doesn't stick in the machinery. However, when you wear it, humidity within the mask may cause it to fog. You can usually prevent this by scrubbing off the silicone film with old-fashioned white toothpaste (not a gel) before using your mask the first time. If you spread a pea-sized lump over the inside of the glass and rub furiously, the toothpaste will remove the deposit. Better yet, leave the toothpaste on overnight and when you rub it off, it takes the silicone vapor deposit with it. If that fails, one of our long-time correspondents, Ken Kurtis, owner of Reef Seekers in Beverley Hills CA, offers a solution (but keep in mind that incautious use of a flame can weaken the toughened glass and even damage the silicone skirt of the mask).

"I decided to replace my old, well-used Atomic Frameless mask with a new Atomic Frameless mask. As you know, new masks have a coating inside from the manufacturing process, and you need to scrub them with toothpaste, Soft Scrub or something like that to get rid of the coating. If you don't, then the mask will fog, even when coated liberally with a defogging solution or spit. I didn't do a good job with my new mask because it fogged up fairly good on my test dive. But when I came out of the water and relayed my issue, Nautilus divemaster Dave Valencia said, "Why don't we burn it?"

"What he does is take a lighter and let the flame lick the inside of the mask glass. He goes over every inch, being careful not to get too close to or linger too long near the skirt, lest you melt that. But when he was done (it took maybe three minutes), the inside of my mask was brown from the soot of everything that had been burned off. I rinsed the mask thoroughly, dried it out, reapplied McNett Sea Drops defog and . . . Voila! The mask no longer fogged. It was truly amazing. A fireplace lighter or BBQ charcoal starter, where you can squeeze a trigger and get a continuous flame, may work the best and avoid burning your fingers."

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