How to Clean Scuba Gear With Bleach

How to Clean Scuba Gear With Bleach
While saltwater does a lot to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on scuba gear, not all dives are in saltwater. Also, sometimes local climactic conditions or simple neglect will result in a moldy wetsuit, dive belt or snorkel. Sometimes these problems are so bad that nothing else will suffice but washing them in bleach. This step should not be undertaken lightly, as chlorine is bad for rubber parts. However, since a lot of scuba students receive training in chlorinated swimming pools, scuba equipment can survive a little cleaning in bleach if promptly and thoroughly rinsed off.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Regular bleach Open tank or tub
  • Regular bleach
  • Open tank or tub
Step 1
Dunk all your scuba gear into a tank filled with fresh water, as you would normally do after any dive. Every dive shop or tour operator will have such a tank available. Double-checking to make sure the regulator's dust cap is in place is a good idea before you dunk that particularly critical piece of equipment.
Step 2
Prepare a tub or tank with a disinfecting bleach and water solution. This should be about 1/4 of a cup of bleach per 15 gallons of water in the tub. Under no circumstances should you exceed this ratio, or you risk unwanted damage to the rubber parts and seals of your equipment. Make sure you use regular bleach. If you are using concentrated bleach, change the mixture's proportions accordingly.
Step 3
Dunk your gear into the bleach and water tub. It might not hold all of your kit, but get as much in there as you can while still retaining enough room to submerge everything.
Step 4
Let it sit for a few minutes. Move the gear in the tub around to guarantee that every crack and crevice gets a little disinfecting action from the bleach.
Step 5
Remove the gear from the tank one piece at a time. Rinse each piece off with a hose to get the lion's share of the bleach off, and then return it to the main freshwater rinsing tank for another dunking to get remove the remains of the bleach. Keep going until all the bleached items are rinsed.
Step 6
Set all cleaned items in a warm, dry place, but not in the sun. Strong sunlight exposure damages some items of scuba equipment. Let it dry.
Step 7
Repeat Steps 3 through 6 for any pieces of gear that did not fit in the bleaching tub the first time around.

Tips & Warnings

 
Cleaning the interior of a buoyancy control device (BCD) with bleach is too risky, and should not be attempted. Any chlorine residue that remains inside the BCD will continue to eat away at the rubber fittings until it is washed out. As bleach can damage the rubber parts present in virtually all pieces of scuba gear, it should only be considered for the worst disinfecting cases.
 
Cleaning the interior of a buoyancy control device (BCD) with bleach is too risky, and should not be attempted. Any chlorine residue that remains inside the BCD will continue to eat away at the rubber fittings until it is washed out.
 
As bleach can damage the rubber parts present in virtually all pieces of scuba gear, it should only be considered for the worst disinfecting cases.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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