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Disinfect mask & Snorkel?

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by CaptAl, Nov 21, 2001.

  1. CaptAl

    CaptAl Angel Fish

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    What is a quick, effective method to disinfect a mask/snorkel between dives? I thought of Lysol spray but I don't know if it would damage the silicone. Would a splash of Listerine mouthwash be effective?
     
  2. Walter

    Walter Instructor, Scuba

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    Lysol is not a product I'd recommend for any use. It is extremely inflammable. Shaklee makes a product called Basic G (I believe that is its name) that kills germs like Lysol, but won't burn. Check your white pages under Shaklee. A mild (10:1) bleach solution will also work, but you have to let it sit for 20 minutes and it will damage your gear. Another option is to wash it with an antibacterial soap.

    DSSW,

    WWW™
     
  3. scorpiofish

    scorpiofish Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Dallas
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    The mask and especially the snorkel are prime breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.

    As far as disinfecting between dives, it is probably not necessary. The VOC's of a spray are probably not good for your equipment.

    I periodically disinfect my gear with a sanitizing solution, but only because it's available to me at my work, an FDA licensed drug manufacturing facility.

    The easiest way to kill germs on a snorkel is a mild bleach solution. I believe it only takes 2ppm to be effective. I don't bleach my mask. A good cleaning with mild soap is effective as long as you completely dry the mask, and I don't mean leaving it out in the sun. Bacteria and mold need moisture to grow. That's why you can get some real bad stuff growing in your snorkel, BC, 2nd stage or anywhere else where moisture can be trapped for long periods of time.
     
  4. BillP

    BillP Senior Member

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    Howdy CaptAl:

    When deciding about a medical "treatment" you must determine if your plan is safe, effective, and, of course, cost effective. I don't have a definitive answer for you because I'm not aware of any good information specific to disinfecting masks and snorkels, but I can share some random thoughts.

    The method of disinfection you choose must be safe for both the gear and the diver. As pointed out by Walter and scorpionfish, the Lysol idea probably isn't a good one. It might be effective, but I doubt it would be safe for the gear or the diver.

    Listerine would be safe for the diver, but I don't know how the gear would handle it. I also don't know how effective a solution of dilute Listerine would be (probably not very) for say disinfecting a pile of rental gear between uses. Occasionally rinsing your own mask and snorkel with Listerine would be pretty simple, but repeatedly rinsing a stock of rental gear would get cost prohibitive in both time and Listerine.

    Household bleach is an effective disinfectant and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for disinfecting surfaces. The more dilute it is, the less effective it is, but the safer it is. A 10:1 solution of bleach is still somewhat caustic. The CDC recommends a solution of 1/4 cup of household bleach in 1 gallon of cool water for disinfecting surfaces. The bleach solution must be made up daily as it loses potency rapidly. Soaking a mask and snorkel for 10-20 minutes ought to be effective, and if the gear is rinsed thoroughly it should be safe for the diver, but as Walter has pointed out chlorine ain't that good for gear.

    I don't have any info one way or the other on the safety or effectiveness of Shaklee's Basic-G. I usually take Walter's word for things, though.

    As Walter and scorpionfish pointed out, a good cleaning with a mild soap and water should be effective enough for a mask and snorkel, safe for the diver, and safe for the gear. It's certainly adequate for your own gear. And as scorpionfish pointed out, don't forget a thorough drying. Bugs like it wet.

    HTH,

    Bill
     
  5. Bob3

    Bob3 Dive Shop

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    When sharing a diving helmet, we'd spray the oral-nasal cup with either Listerene or, more commonly, Ever Clear grain alcohol (180 proof)
    A 5 minute sit time is recommended.
    Our dive kit would almost always have a bottle of Ever Clear in it for use as an antifreeze agent in the volume tanks in cold weather.
     
  6. BillP

    BillP Senior Member

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    I found an article in the Feb. 2001 issue of DAN's Alert Diver magazine on sanitizing dive gear. They discussed the US Navy Experimental Diving Unit's efforts to sanitize gear and recommended four products. SaniZide Plus, Advance TBE, Bi-Arrest 2, and Confidence Plus were all found safe and effective for disinfecting dive gear. The last three can be mixed into a one gallon container for the recommended 10 minute soak followed by a fresh water rinse. Contact info for the products' manufacturers can be found in the link below.

    http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/news/article.asp?newsid=84

    HTH,

    Bill
     
  7. scubabunny

    scubabunny Manta Ray

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    We soak our rental gear in Simple Green every few days, and spray the mouthpieces (regs and snorkels) with Listerine when we rent them out.

    Simple Green is non-toxic, so it shouldn't hurt the diver or the enviornment, but after reading this, I'm not so sure about the gear. I also use it to clean the house because I don't have to worry about the cats being hurt (side point, I know).

    Does anyone know if Simple Green will do the job? Sure smells better than bleach, and I KNOW bleach has a bad effect on BCs! :)
     
  8. Desert Diver

    Desert Diver Angel Fish

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    I use a mint flavored mouthwash, nothing expensive, to disenfect the breathing bags and hoses for rebreathers. it does the trick. It should be OK for any other equipment.
     
  9. ScubyDoo

    ScubyDoo Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
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    There is a product called "Odo-ban" which you can purchase at Sams, which is a multipurpose product. I add it to my wash when Im washing old stinky socks etc. It also works as a disenfectant which kills just about every kind of bacteria. You can mix up a diluted ratio in a spray bottle to use for disenfecting just about everything. I dont know how it would effect the materials on your mask and snorkel though, and Im not sure if it has any properties toxic to humans. I will check the label when I get home and repost. Even if it doesnt work for your scuba needs, its still a great product to have around the house.
     
  10. ScubyDoo

    ScubyDoo Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
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    I checked the Odo-ban label last evening and it indicated that it was for use on "non-food" surfaces only. I can only suffice that it has residuals which are toxic for humans, and therefore would not use it to disinfect masks or snorkels. Sorry!
     

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