Why Does a Mask Fog?
Excessive fogging can put a damper on any well-meaning snorkel adventure. While the Seaview 180° does have built-in anti-fog features, fogging can still occur. First, let's define what it means when a mask "fogs". Fogging is simply condensation on the inside of your mask. Masks fog because of the humidity in the air meeting the cooler plastic or glass lens. Think taking a cold, icy drink outside and suddenly the glass is sweating. The degree to which tiny microscopic drops of water form on the inside of the mask is factored by the surface tension of the lens, the humidity inside the mask, and the temperature of the water. This is really exciting stuff, right?? Before we get into anti-fogging solutions we need to talk about pre-treating your mask.
How to Pre-treat a Mask
Sometimes persistent fogging issues occur because there is something already on the lens. In the case of a new mask it's the silicone residue from the manufacturing process. Other times it may be sunscreen residue from a finger touching the lens. Either way, it's useful to pre-treat a mask before every use. We will toothpaste and water to remove this residue. Toothpaste contains silica which is the ingredient that will help remove small particles from your mask.
Because the Seaview is made of poly carbonate it can scratch more easily than glass. So we need to take some extra precautions when cleaning and pre-treating. You will need water, regular toothpaste and a soft wash cloth:
- Remove the plastic film on the front of your mask.
- Put a dab of toothpaste on the inside of the lens and rub it around in a circular motion.
- Be careful not to scratch your lens with your fingernail.
- Press firmly as you spread the toothpaste around.
- Cover the entire viewing area.
- Rinse the toothpaste off. Use a soft, dry wash cloth to get the residues out of the edges of the lens.
- Make sure the lens is totally dry. Then repeat the above steps 5-6 times.
While this will take a few minutes of your time, it will give you a greater chance of not having any fogging issues. You should also repeat this process before each use.
CAUTION: Be sure to use regular, white toothpaste. Do not use gels or gritty paste as those will scratch your lens.
Ok, so now we know why a mask can fog, but what do we do about it? Using a commercial anti-fog solution helps reduce the surface tension on the mask which will help eliminate condensation from forming. You can check out some commercial solutions here and here.
Another solution that is growing in popularity is baby shampoo. It's cheap and comes in travel sizes. It can be applied directly in small amounts or mixed with water and delivered through a spray bottle.
IMPORTANT: When applying an anti-fog solution, make sure your mask is dry. Put a couple of drops inside your mask lens and rub it around evenly with a clean finger. Once applied, rinse it out using either fresh water or salt water. After rinsing, DO NOT touch the inside of the mask as it will create an uneven spread of the solution.