snorkel fins, and mask on a rock by sea

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Snorkeling Equipment Made Easy

Snorkeling as a pastime is all about fun and adventure, much like any other activity.

Like other sports it does use equipment, but not a great deal, mainly the mask, fins, and the snorkel. Collectively known as the FMS kit.

Unlike other sports, the kit is pretty easy to maintain in order to keep the equipment functioning for maximum effect and keeping you healthy.

Snorkeling with freshly maintained gear keeps the build of saltwater abrasions, or mask scratches at bay, which if you leave the equipment in a pile after each trip will start to happen.

So it is best to give them some TLC now rather than tossing out large quantities once they reach their expiration date (and starting from scratch). 

To help with these processes we have compiled tips for how to maintain not only yourself but also those pesky fins!

a mask for snorkeling

Maintaining our salt water or snorkel gear requires attention at all times; having fun isn’t always an excuse when there are more pressing matters like safety involved. 

As a general rule, just stay clear of anything abrasive

Anything in salt water needs to be washed off with fresh water afterward (same for chlorinated water from a pool). This prolongs the life of the mask, fins, and snorkel as well as stops them getting discolored.

How To Clean Your Snorkeling Equipment

After each trip to the ocean, it is important to rinse all of your snorkeling gear. 

Rinsing not only removes contaminants from the equipment like sand and seaweed so that they don’t form a gross film on them but also reduces bacteria growth by clearing out any microbes hiding in scratches or cracks. 

I use a soft sponge or nonabrasive cloth because scratching my mask will reduce visibility as well as cause areas for more pesky critters like bacteria to grow!

2 girls in the water with snorkeling equipment


Let’s start with the most important piece of snorkeling equipment of the three, and the one you are most likely to own.

It can be difficult to properly care for your mask, but with the right maintenance it will last you a long time. 

First scrub gently and then swish around in warm water or use dish detergent if needed. 

If neither of those are available, just rinse off with fresh clean water before storing away carefully on a non scratching surface that is not wet!

Make sure to remove any dirt, sand and salt from your mask. 

a beginner snorkeler in Thailand

You should also make sure that there is no residue of sunblock left on the mask before you dry it off with a soft cloth or towel. 

A mask case can protect the mask from crushing damage as well as brushing up against something that will scratch the lens.


I learned recently that it’s really important to clean your snorkel because you can breathe in debris caught inside the tube and also, since there are a bunch of nooks and lips where bacteria grow it keeps you much healthier.

Any dish detergent is good for washing off all the gunk but I read on another website that soaking my snorkel with a mild bleach solution for 30 minutes will kill everything even if i didn’t get every little bit out during the wash. 

Afterward just rinse thoroughly until water runs clear and let dry!


To clean your fins, fill a bucket with warm water and dish soap. Soak them for 10 minutes or so to loosen any debris that might be stuck between the foot pocket and blades. 

Rinse off all excess liquid using freshwater before placing it on towel-lined surface to air dry completely.

At home, I recommend soaking in hot soapy water overnight after you finish snorkeling because it will remove any salt crystals as well as bacteria buildup from sweat residue which can lead to corrosion over time if left untreated.

Stopping the buildup of gunk in the fins makes them permanently comfortable to put on.

When you’ve finished, feel free to hang up to aerate in a proper bag designed for getting airflow around waterside equipment.

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