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Cleaning/sanitizing/disinfecting your gear

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by stuartv, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    9,203
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    TL;DR:

    Listerine is an antiseptic. That is not the same as a sanitizer or a disinfectant. It is probably not the best choice for things like cleaning a rental reg before sticking it in your mouth (just as one example). Steramine seems like a better choice.


    Longer version:

    I was just searching on here for info on the best thing to use to clean the inside of my wing bladder, including killing any mold or mildew that may be in there.

    I found several posts where people were talking about using Listerine to clean regs. And I found a recommendation for Steramine, with this link:

    Steramine Multi-Purpose Sanitizer

    That led me to read the "Tek Tip" at the bottom of that page.

    Sanitizers, Disinfectants, Antiseptics and Your Rebreather | Dive Gear Express®

    So, according to DGX, things like Listerine are an "antiseptic" (which I confirmed by looking here: LISTERINE® ANTISEPTIC). An antiseptic is intended to be applied to living skin to prevent infection. It does not necessarily kill infectants that are already present - particularly on non-living tissue (e.g. silicone or plastic). I consulted Wikipedia and a couple of different online medical dictionaries for confirmation on this.

    In contrast, a sanitizer (e.g. Steramine) is required to kill 99.999% of microorganisms on non-living surfaces within 30 seconds. This is by food industry standards.

    And a disinfectant completely destroys all microorganisms on non-living surfaces within 10 minutes. Bleach is a common disinfectant, but it is not suitable for use on some pieces of scuba equipment (e.g. things with silicone).

    After reading all this, I will be ordering myself some Steramine to keep on hand for periodic cleaning of 2nd stage regs, masks (the skirts get mold, even if you can't see it on a black skirt), etc..

    Just thought I'd share...
     
    Remy B., AfterDark and rhwestfall like this.
  2. Vicko

    Vicko Barracuda

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Croatia
    355
    277
    63
    We clean our rental equipment in chlorine based disefectants, in our case called PlivaSept, but I doubt it's available world wide.
    It does not damage equipment, it has no smell, and can be simply rinsed out.
    We do it every 2 weeks for wetsuits, and 2 times a season for regulators, along with normal fresh water rinsing after every use.
    Just make sure you dilute it properly so you don't disenfect yourself :)
     
  3. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    9,471
    6,125
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    Dettol also seems to be popular. I use a little diluted in a tub of water for soaking wetsuits and regulators. It is labeled as an antiseptic (mainly for wound care), but apparently the active ingredient is used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Maybe Steramine is a better option for this use?
     
  4. stuartv

    stuartv Seeking the Light ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Manassas, VA
    9,203
    4,992
    113
    Perhaps the active ingredient in Dettol is not in a high enough concentration for Dettol to function as a sanitizer (and therefore also not a disinfectant)? I don't know.

    Steramine seems cheap enough and it should work perfectly well on any and all scuba gear, as far as I can tell.

    I use Mirazyme on my wetsuits. It definitely works to get the pee smell out on my suits that have a thin fleecy/fabric lining. I don't know if Steramine would do the same or not.
     
  5. Lorenzoid

    Lorenzoid idling in neutral buoyancy ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Atlanta, USA
    9,471
    6,125
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    I learned about Dettol from previous threads on this topic. Never did any further research. My guess is Mirazyme is specifically aimed at ridding wetsuits of pee smell. Steramine seems to have gained popularity in recent years, perhaps mainly with rebreather folks (for the reasons mentioned on the DGX link you posted). Let's see what others have to say.
     
    stuartv likes this.
  6. offfi

    offfi Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Austria
    102
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    AFAIK, the active ingredients in Listerine are essential oils. I don't think it's a good idea to use that on your dive gear.
    I am also almost certain, that it is not effective enough to desinfect a BC bladder.

    Dettol seems to be a much better choice!
     
  7. Resqdivemedic

    Resqdivemedic Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: chepachet, RI USA
    287
    129
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    Sanitizing does not kill bacteria or other yummies, it inhibits the growth and probability of something contaminating an item. Disinfecting kills organisms that it was specifically designed for. You are better off with a disinfectant like Dettol. I had never heard of it and looked it up, seems like it would work. Mirazyme is a stink buster only going after the bacteria causing the stink. I use it often on my boots. They tend to become quite stinking after several dives. I have also used Simply Green to sink the stink as well. The only time I disinfect my gear is after a body recovery for my public safety dive team. We use disinfectants like Envirocide or other hospital type disinfectants diluted in a tub and let the gear soak.
     
  8. offfi

    offfi Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Austria
    102
    43
    28
    I use denture cleanser tablets for my boots. Put in one tablet each, fill with water, leave it overnight, rinse in the morning.
    No more smelly boots. :)

    Also used them in BC bladders, though I'm not exactly sure if they are really suitable for that purpose.
     
    tridacna, AfterDark and Resqdivemedic like this.
  9. Resqdivemedic

    Resqdivemedic Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: chepachet, RI USA
    287
    129
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    Thanks Offi, I'll give the denture cleaners a try for the stink. Always open to something new.
     
  10. offfi

    offfi Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Austria
    102
    43
    28
    You're welcome! ;-)
    They are great for travel, small and handy.
    And also dirt cheap, no need to buy any expensive brand.
     

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