Brand new masks with tempered glass lenses have a liquid silicone or oily residue from the manufacturing process that needs to be removed prior to using them for the first time. McNett Sea Buff is a pre-cleaner that is designed specifically to remove this oil. You may also use a non abrasive liquid dish detergent or non gel toothpaste. Treat both the inside and outside of the the lenses. Using your fingers, rub the mask lens so that every area of the glass is coated. Rinse the area with fresh tap water. Slide your fingers over the area that you just cleaned and if this action produces a squeaking noise, then you have succeeded. It is important though to thoroughly rinse with fresh water to ensure no irritation from residual detergent occurs. Watch our video to the right on How to Prepare Your New Mask.CARE DURING TRANSIT TO & FROM SNORKELING SITE
Your mask is your window to the underwater world and I have yet to find anyone who likes a broken window. If you drop it, the lens may shatter like the picture on the left. So transport should be done in such a way that it will be protected. If it came with a protective box, this is probably the best way to protect it from all the bumps and grinds that travel has to offer. The box will also keep the lenses from getting scratched. Another solution is to roll up your mask in a t-shirt to protect it in your carry-on or check-in luggage. Some gear bags have a built in pocket either internally, externally or both. If you do not have either, here is an inexpensive solution, use a crew sock.INSPECTING & PACKING FOR VACATION TRAVEL
Inspecting your mask prior to packing should be priority. Make sure it fits, by watching the video to the right. Weight gain, weight loss or even an addition to facial hair will make your mask sometimes not fit since the last time you used it. Inspect the strap and buckle system for any visible signs of wear and replace the strap or mask if necessary. It would be smart to do this a few weeks before you travel because if you have to replace anything, you have time for delivery. It is a good idea to keep it in your carry-on luggage and especially true if you have diopters or prescription lenses. If for any reason, your luggage gets delayed or lost you will still be able to enjoy snorkeling and remember to pack your swimsuit in your carry-on as well. If you choose to pack your mask in check-in luggage, then make sure that it is packed in such a way that it is well padded, like between a layer of clothes on top and on bottom or in the protective box that we discussed earlier in this article.PREPARATION PRIOR TO WATER ENTRY
If not already done, check the fit and inspect the strap and buckle system for visible signs of wear. If the lens is made of tempered glass, use a commercial defog such as McNett Sea Drops or Sea Gold, which is highly recommended and definitely more sanitary than the old spit method for fog prevention. Warning: If you have plastic lenses, please look for a product that works for plastic lens because the products that we sell will scratch them. We do not sell adult lenses that offer plastic lenses. For best results read and follow the directions for use as well as take note of any warnings listed on the packaging.CARE & TIPS
When you are snorkeling, keep your mask on your face because every time you remove it, it will decrease the effectiveness of the defog solution. Never place it on your forehead as this is a great way for the waves to wipe it off your head and many water lovers do know that this is recognized as a distress signal. If you must take it off completely, just pull it down around your neck. When you return from snorkeling, protect and cover your mask from direct sunlight because it can cause premature discoloration of th silicone skirt and strap which is more of a cosmetic issue than anything else.POST TRIP & STORAGE RECOMMENDATIONS
Soak your mask in warm soapy water to loosen and dissolve any environmental build ups such as salt water deposits, chlorine, dirt or sand. Use a soft bristled toothbrush to get into hard to reach nooks and crannies both inside and out. Then completely rinse in fresh tap water and dry thoroughly using a soft cloth or let it drip dry. Then store it in a cool dry location away from direct sunlight and away from contact with ferrous metal object and black rubber object which have been known to cause premature discoloration of silicone. Over time and exposure to the environment, the silicone will begin to take on a pink to yellowish cloudy hue which does not affect the overall performance for it's intended purpose. Storing it in an airtight container (like a mask box) will help to slow down this process.
By Roy Jamason
Updated Sept. 08, 2015