How to Clean a Snorkel: Tips for Maintaining Your Gear

How to Clean a Snorkel: Tips for Maintaining Your Gear
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As with any type of outdoor equipment that you use, your snorkel is going to need a lot of attention over the years. Take a moment to think about the amount of exposure it will receive. Not to mention, it will also likely be packed alongside a ton of other belongings when venturing to your favorite snorkeling spot.

Learning how to clean a snorkel and any other piece of snorkeling gear that you have will help you keep your equipment in better shape for longer. With that being said, it’s also important that you take the time to maintain your snorkeling gear as well. In this guide, we discuss the best snorkel cleaning, treatment, and maintenance tips.

The Most Popular Ways to Clean Your Snorkel

There are a few interesting methods that you’ll stumble across when you research cleaning tips for snorkels. The most effective and sanitary solutions are below.

Method 1: Bleach and Warm Water

When water is trapped in any device, there’s a high probability that mold is going to grow in every nook and cranny. Considering your snorkel is used as a breathing apparatus, the last thing you’d want is to breathe in any mold. This is why it’s recommended that you use a mild bleach solution and warm water.

The emphasis with this process is to use a mild bleach solution and to make sure that you thoroughly rinse the mouthpiece and tube with warm water.

  • Step 1: Dilute a single tablespoon of bleach in a bucket of water and mix the solution thoroughly.
  • Step 2: Place your snorkel and mask into the bucket of water, swishing it around using a gloved hand.
  • Step 3: Allow the breathing tube (J-tube) to sit in the water for 30 minutes.
  • Step 4: Remove the tube from the bucket and rinse thoroughly with warm water. If you are concerned about excessive dirt buildup, repeat steps one through four a second and third time.

Method 2: Dish Detergent and Warm Water

If you’re not particularly fond of the idea of putting your snorkel in bleach, you can also use antibacterial dish detergent. However, you might also need to scrub away any grime that is stuck in hard-to-reach areas, as it’s not as effective of a cleaner as bleach.

  • Step 1: Mix four tablespoons of dish detergent into warm water, mixing the solution together until bubbles form.
  • Step 2: Place your snorkel in the water for 30 minutes. After this time has passed, use an old toothbrush to scrub away any leftover dirt and residue.
  • Step 3: Put the snorkel back into the tub of detergent for 30 additional minutes and remove, rinsing it thoroughly with warm water.

Method 3: Vinegar and Warm Water

Vinegar is known for its thorough cleaning properties, especially among people who like to use solutions that are more organic. When cleaning your snorkel gear with vinegar, you’ll follow the same steps as if you were washing it with dish detergent. However, you might realize that you’ll need to scrub it with a toothbrush a little more than you would with soap.

It’s also important that you gently scrub, as you won’t want to leave any scratches behind where bacteria will be able to grow.

How to Clean a Snorkeling Mask

The mask that you use with the rest of your snorkeling gear is far more sensitive than the J-tube. This is because you’ll be using the mask to see while underwater, so you’ll want to make sure that you avoid scratching it as much as possible.

With that being said, you’re going to want to avoid using astringents for cleaning and instead opt for a silicone-based cleaner. It’s highly recommended that you visit your local dive shop to find the right cleaning solution. You can also consider using toothpaste as a cleaner if you’re searching for a more affordable solution.

The main thing to remember is that you do not want to use a sponge or any other type of brush. Instead, use a gentle microfiber cloth to help remove leftover debris. In addition, it’s important you rinse the mask with warm water to get rid of as much dirt and debris as possible before cleaning.

Important Maintenance Tips

Apart from cleaning, making sure that you maintain your gear is a giant part of cleaning a snorkel. The better kept the equipment is, the less cleaning it will require every season. Additionally, maintaining your snorkel means it will stay in the best possible condition for much longer.

Tip 1: Allow the Snorkel to Dry

After every use, it’s imperative that you allow your snorkel to air dry before storing it. This is because if water is stuck in the tube and then the snorkel is stored, some mold is undoubtedly going to grow. You’ll also notice that the plastic tubing will turn yellow much faster than it is supposed to.

Many people find that using a mesh bag to carry their equipment is a great option, as it allows enough air circulation for your equipment to dry properly.

Tip 2: Rinse All Cleaning Residues

Even after thoroughly disinfecting your snorkel, it’s likely that there will be some residue left behind from your cleaners. It is incredibly important that you rinse the snorkel multiple times to get rid of any trace elements. Why is that? This is because it not only prevents you from having to taste soap or bleach but also preserves the integrity of the plastic.

Tip 3: Storing the Equipment Properly

When not in use, your snorkeling equipment should be treated with care, especially your mask. It’s recommended that you store your mask, snorkel, and fins separately so there’s no chance of scratching.

As mentioned, store everything in a mesh bag and in a cool, dry, and dark place to prevent damage from sun exposure and moisture.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to clean a snorkel is one of the most important pieces of information for any snorkeler. Even though we like to assume that salt water is a great disinfectant, it can also lead to the development of mold.


With the help of these useful cleaning and maintenance tips, you’ll finally be able to protect your expensive equipment like a professional diver so that every season, your snorkeling gear will be clean and ready to use. Additionally, it will easily last for years even with regular use, as long as you use these maintenance tips to store it properly.

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