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Anti-Fogging Treatments for New Masks. (a comparison of techniques)

Discussion in 'General Scuba Equipment Discussions' started by lowviz, Feb 23, 2019.

  1. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    As simple as it seems that it should be, treatments to alleviate mask fogging remain a subject of hot debate. I remain surprised that one definitive answer has not been found long ago.

    So, I would like to investigate this in a scientific way. This thread is a spin-off of Glass lens frameless Mask fogging issue in order to avoid a hijack of the OP’s original thread.

    So let’s actually start a SB scientific investigation and do something under controlled conditions to get things started. This is participatory, poster suggestions are most welcome. What is your preferred method and how exactly do you do it?

    @dberry I find your post extremely helpful and (I hope) you would participate as a professional resource: Glass lens frameless Mask fogging issue

    Look what came in the mail today:


    Background (lots of words)

    Science: Do something under controlled conditions. Analyze the results. Do something better under controlled conditions. Analyze those results. Cycle that on and on until you have an answer that fits your required conditions or fails to a constant repeatable outcome.

    I have no ‘pet treatment’ in mind, the best treatment (aka ‘THE’ answer to mask fogging) is most likely something that none of us have tried before. Let’s explore this.

    I posted in the original thread that I just had to talk myself into buying an un-needed new mask for a test. Totally unsolicited, Dano of https://www.makospearguns.com/ PM’ed me with an offer of two of his Minimus masks that he would donate to science. That changed everything! I readily agreed and bought a third then paid shipping for the lot. All three new masks are the same. Now my skin is in the game too and I have just enough new masks for a decent first attempt to evaluate all the most common treatments.

    What treatments to test? Here is where you come in.

    All results need to be compared to a control. IMHO, the two treatments of choice are flaming and toothpaste. So all three masks will get exactly the same flaming and toothpaste as a control treatment for the left lens only. We will attempt to agree on the precise method for each of the three ‘reference’ procedures (spot flaming, flaming with soot, and toothpaste). I have no preconceived notions as to the standard treatments as I don’t clean my masks that way. I need common procedures for soot flaming and toothpaste. All scrubbing procedures will be scrubbed in one direction only so that I can check for lens abrasion.

    Additionally, posters have a say in coming up with three additional treatments (in addition to the three control treatments of flaming and toothpaste). These three treatments will be duplicated on two masks. One mask will have been critically cleaned in a dishwasher before any treatments, the other straight out of the box. This is intended to check if bleed from the skirt and strap make the initial cleaning less effective.

    The third mask is mine and (in addition to the two controls) will be subjected to extreme attempts at cleaning with no dishwasher pretreatment. I would like to find a no flame, no scrub technique. So I will be using liquids. Muriatic acid, alkaline drain cleaner, and an extremely aggressive cleaner that contains hydrofluoric acid (a glass etchant).

    Following the initial testing, there will be a room temperature storage (how long?) and re-test for fogging. That will conclude this preliminary examination.

    This is my initial proposed experimental design, feel free to critique and suggest improvements. This is science, not presupposed bias.
  2. scrane

    scrane Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Boise, ID.
    All masks are different. Some require a higher level of treatment than others. Some need no treatment at all.
    Johnoly likes this.
  3. GrafCanuck

    GrafCanuck Barracuda

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: London, Ontario
    I used the standard white toothpaste method for a Cressi bought 5+ years ago but had to turn to the tried and true flame for my recently purchase Atomic Venom. Next time I will go with the flame only. The flame method is readily available on youtube. For example .
    Khrissi and lowviz like this.
  4. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    Sounds reasonable.

    But I'm attempting to compare the effectiveness of cleaning methods. Each mask will have reference treatments on one lens. If the masks differ wildly then the results of the reference treatments would be expected to differ also. I have three new masks from the same supplier all shipped at the same time. I can't do better than that.

    @GrafCanuck: That looks a lot like water fog to me.

    So the plan is to preheat the mask to 150F (66C) and see if I get the same result.

    I should get no water fogging at that temperature:
    This Day in Weather History: July 8th

    2003: What may be the world's highest dew point temperature was recorded at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in the Persian Gulf. A dew point of 95 degrees was recorded at 3 PM while the air temperature was 108 degrees.
  5. Diver below 83

    Diver below 83 Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: SoFlo
    I did my original pre clean using just dawn dish soap since my lens are mirrors coated I didn’t want anything abrasive touching the lens. Nor did I want any heat/flame. I had a lot of fogging issues with defoggers until I switched to baby shampoo. The second I did that my fog issues have never come back. I put a drop on each side of the lens and lightly rub it in. When I’m ready to go down I just lightly run it out and dampen my face. Zero issues
    lowviz likes this.
  6. dberry

    dberry Hydrophilic ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philadelphia
    I hesitate to offer any further advice without knowing more specifically what is on the lenses and why. And given the variety of materials used on different masks, a systematic study doesn't seem in the cards.

    My guess is that silicone release coatings from the moulds for the frame and skirt have made it onto the glass. Silicone greases and oils are notoriously difficult to completely remove under mild conditions. A good friend of mine has a company that manufactures silicones for all sort of applications and is incredibly knowledgable about these things. I'll ask him for his 2-cents.

    Antifog treatments such as RainX for windshields are typically based on functional silanes (coupling agents) and are quite different than silicones used as release agents. It's seems unlikely that functional silanes would be intentionally applied to glass by a manufacturer if they make fogging worse.

    Has anyone ever tried wiping RainX onto their masks to give longer-lasting anti-fog? It should work as well on a mask as on a windshield, although windshields aren't typically drenched in salt water, which might wash off the treatment from a mask.

    However, in terms of removing silicone oils with physical abrasion, it's likely that a ceramic stove top cleaner such as "CeramaBryte" would be more effective than toothpaste (and unlikely to scratch the glass). But I'd want to test it on a small innocuous patch of the lens before going whole-hog.
    tridacna, Johnoly and lowviz like this.
  7. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    I was considering Mister Clean Magic Eraser and white ammonia. Looking up CeramaBryte...

    No worries with the masks, they have been donated to science. (But I'm thinking that they will all remain functional)
  8. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    I used toothpaste, but an instructor suggested Lemon Soft Scrub. It definitely rinses easier than toothpaste! My favorite defog product is the Seavue anti-fog spray. Spray on twice, don't rinse. Works better than anything else for me. Spit, baby shampoo, etc.

    SEAVUE™ Anti-fog Spray
    lowviz likes this.
  9. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    This fogging problem on new masks came into existence with advent of frameless masks -- those where the glass retainer cannot be mechanically removed. Wouldn't it make sense to find out what manufacturers are exposing the glass to? I suspect that injection mold release compounds are involved. Knowing the chemistry of the product(s) would tell us how to remove it.

    Maybe @MAKO Spearguns can find out?
    drrich2, couv, Sam Miller III and 2 others like this.
  10. lowviz

    lowviz Solo Diver ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northern Delaware or the New Jersey Turnpike
    Compressor likes this.

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