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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Vinegar for your Salty Gear

from the June, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

It's inevitable that once you get back from a diving trip, even though you think you have rinsed all your gear thoroughly, you will have missed something. In fact, rinsing it in a fresh water tank before you leave a resort can be perfunctory; the "fresh" water can be diluted with seawater once many people have used it. It's when you start getting prepared for the next trip that you discover that small salt crystals might have formed in places you wished they had not.

This is especially true of camera equipment. Buttons can stick, and filters and adapters can end up jammed together.

To solve the problem, first soak the offending items in clean, warm water. If that doesn't work, try soaking the offending area in a weak solution (1:10 of water) of white vinegar. The vinegar leeches out the salt. Do not under any circumstances soak a wet camera lens, or anything with an optical coating, in this way. It will almost certainly etch the coating and ruin it.

Ken Kurtis, owner of Reef Seekers in Beverley Hills, found he hadn't separated or cleaned two stacked filters for his GoPro after his last trip and he could not get them apart. He says he "placed them, still screwed together, in the bottom of a tumbler-sized glass, poured in full-strength vinegar and let them sit for a few hours. Then I washed them off with fresh water and . . . voila! They came apart easily."

After long trips, some underwater photographers fill a large garbage can with water mixed with such vinegar (around 1:100 of water) and soak their underwater camera rigs in it, pressing all the buttons and operating all the controls, before rinsing them off with fresh water and disassembling. There's an argument for doing this diluted vinegar treatment with all your diving gear after it's been on a long journey. Don't forget to rinse it off properly afterwards.

Klaus Glismann, an Undercurrent subscriber from Hamburg, Germany, tells us he soaks a new mask in neat vinegar to get rid of that silicone vapour deposit we wrote about last month, but we say don't do this with a mask that has coated glass.

- Ben Davison

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