A Comprehensive Guide How to clean your scuba gear with vinegar

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Scuba diving is an exhilarating adventure, allowing enthusiasts to explore the underwater world. However, ensuring the longevity and performance of scuba gear requires proper maintenance. While there’s a plethora of commercial cleaners available, many divers are turning to a natural, cost-effective solution: vinegar. In this detailed guide clean your scuba gear with vinegar, we’ll explore the ins and outs of cleaning your scuba gear with vinegar, covering everything from the benefits to step-by-step instructions and important considerations.

diver cleaning his equipment

Understanding the Benefits of Using Vinegar

Vinegar, especially white vinegar, offers numerous advantages when it comes to cleaning scuba gear:

  1. Natural Cleaning Properties: Vinegar’s acidic nature makes it an effective cleaner, breaking down salt, grime, and residue without harsh chemicals.
  2. Safe for Most Materials: Unlike some commercial cleaners that may damage certain materials, vinegar is gentle on most scuba gear components, including silicone, plastic, and metal.
  3. Cost-Effective: Vinegar is readily available and inexpensive, providing a budget-friendly option for gear maintenance.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Vinegar is biodegradable, minimizing environmental impact compared to chemical cleaners.

Common Scuba Gear Cleaning Challenges and Solutions

Before diving into the cleaning process, let’s address some common challenges faced by divers and how vinegar can help resolve them:

  1. Salt Buildup: Diving in saltwater can leave behind salt deposits that, if not properly cleaned, may corrode equipment. Vinegar effectively dissolves salt residue, preventing damage and ensuring gear longevity.
  2. Odor Control: Over time, scuba gear may develop unpleasant odors due to bacterial growth. Vinegar’s antibacterial properties help eliminate odor-causing bacteria, leaving gear smelling fresh.
  3. Bacterial Growth: Moisture and organic matter in scuba gear create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Vinegar’s disinfectant properties help kill bacteria, reducing the risk of infections.
cleaning mask

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Scuba Gear with Vinegar

Follow these detailed steps to effectively clean your scuba gear using vinegar:

1. Prepare the Vinegar Solution:

  • Mix one part white vinegar with three parts water in a large container or bathtub.
  • Adjust the ratio based on the severity of cleaning required.

2. Disassemble Gear:

  • Separate different components of your scuba gear, including regulators, masks, snorkels, fins, and wetsuits.
  • Refer to manufacturer guidelines for specific disassembly instructions.

3. Immerse Gear in Vinegar Solution:

  • Submerge each piece of gear in the vinegar solution, ensuring it is fully covered.
  • Allow the gear to soak for 15-30 minutes to loosen dirt and residue.

4. Scrub and Rinse:

  • Use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub any stubborn dirt or residue.
  • Rinse each piece of gear thoroughly with fresh water to remove vinegar residue.

5. Air Dry:

  • Allow the gear to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
  • Ensure gear is completely dry before reassembly and storage to prevent mold and mildew growth.
cleaning diving gear

How to Clean Scuba Gears

Maintaining your scuba gear is essential for safe and enjoyable diving experiences. Cleaning your equipment with vinegar is an eco-friendly and effective way to remove salt, grime, and bacteria. Below, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean eight essential scuba gears using vinegar:

1. Regulators:

  • Disassemble the regulator into its first and second stages, hoses, and mouthpiece.
  • Submerge each component in a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts water.
  • Allow the parts to soak for 15-30 minutes to dissolve salt deposits and disinfect.
  • Use a soft brush to gently scrub away any debris or residue.
  • Rinse each component thoroughly with fresh water and allow them to air dry before reassembly.

2. Masks:

  • Fill a basin or sink with the vinegar solution and soak the mask for 15-20 minutes.
  • Gently scrub the mask’s skirt and lenses with a soft brush to remove any dirt or residue.
  • Rinse the mask thoroughly with fresh water to remove any vinegar residue.
  • Inspect the mask for any signs of damage or deterioration before allowing it to air dry.

3. Snorkels:

  • Submerge the snorkel in the vinegar solution and allow it to soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • Use a pipe cleaner or small brush to clean the inside of the snorkel tube thoroughly.
  • Rinse the snorkel with fresh water, ensuring all vinegar residue is removed.
  • Allow the snorkel to air dry completely before storing it in a cool, dry place.

4. Fins:

  • Fill a bathtub or container with the vinegar solution and soak the fins for 30 minutes.
  • Use a soft brush to gently scrub the fin blades, foot pockets, and straps to remove any debris.
  • Rinse the fins thoroughly with fresh water to remove any vinegar residue.
  • Allow the fins to air dry completely before storing them in a vertical position.

5. Wetsuits:

  • Turn the wetsuit inside out and fill a bathtub with the vinegar solution.
  • Submerge the wetsuit in the solution and agitate it to ensure thorough cleaning.
  • Allow the wetsuit to soak for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the level of soiling.
  • Rinse the wetsuit thoroughly with fresh water, paying particular attention to the seams and zippers.
  • Hang the wetsuit to air dry in a shaded area, avoiding direct sunlight.

6. Dive Bags:

  • Empty the dive bag and wipe down the exterior with a cloth dampened with the vinegar solution.
  • Use a soft brush to clean any stubborn stains or dirt.
  • Rinse the dive bag with fresh water and allow it to air dry completely before repacking.

7. BCD (Buoyancy Control Device):

  • Inflate the BCD and inspect it for any visible debris or damage.
  • Fill a bathtub or large container with the vinegar solution and submerge the BCD.
  • Press the deflate button to allow the solution to flow through the inflator hose and valves.
  • After soaking for 15-30 minutes, drain the BCD and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water.
  • Hang the BCD to air dry completely, ensuring all pockets and compartments are open.
Clean Scuba Mask

Benefits of Vinegar for Specific Gear Components:

Vinegar’s acidic properties make it particularly effective for cleaning and disinfecting scuba gear components. Here’s how vinegar benefits different gear:

  1. Regulators: Vinegar effectively dissolves salt deposits and disinfects regulator components, ensuring optimal performance and safety.
  2. Masks and Snorkels: It removes residue and bacteria from silicone skirts and mouthpieces, preventing fogging and reducing the risk of infections.
  3. Fins: Vinegar eliminates salt buildup and grime from fin blades and foot pockets, maintaining their flexibility and efficiency.
  4. Wetsuits: It removes odors and bacteria from neoprene material, extending the lifespan of wetsuits and enhancing wearer comfort.

Alternative Vinegar Solutions:

While white vinegar is commonly used for cleaning scuba gear, alternative vinegar solutions can also be effective:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Known for its milder scent, apple cider vinegar is suitable for those sensitive to the strong odor of white vinegar.
  • Rice Vinegar: With its gentle acidity, rice vinegar is ideal for delicate gear materials like rubber and neoprene.

Each vinegar type may require slightly different dilution ratios and precautions, so experimentation and spot testing are recommended.

DIY Vinegar Cleaning Recipes:

Creating customized vinegar cleaning solutions is simple and cost-effective. Here are some DIY recipes tailored to different gear materials:

  • Universal Cleaning Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water for a general-purpose cleaning solution suitable for most scuba gear components.
  • Neoprene Refresh Solution: Combine one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water for a gentle solution to refresh and deodorize neoprene wetsuits and accessories.

Adjust the ratios based on the level of cleaning required and always spot test on a small area before full application.

cleaning diving fins

Post-Cleaning Maintenance Tips:

After cleaning your gear with vinegar, follow these tips to ensure long-term durability:

  • Thorough Drying: Allow gear to air dry completely in a well-ventilated area, ensuring all moisture is removed to prevent mold and mildew growth.
  • Proper Storage: Store clean and dry gear in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, avoiding tightly sealed containers to allow airflow.

Regularly inspect gear for signs of wear and tear, such as fraying straps or deteriorating seals, and address any issues promptly.

Vinegar vs. Commercial Cleaners Comparison:

Comparing vinegar to commercial cleaners can help you make informed decisions based on your preferences and circumstances:

  • Effectiveness: While commercial cleaners may offer specialized formulas for specific gear materials, vinegar provides comparable cleaning power at a fraction of the cost.
  • Cost: Vinegar is significantly more economical than commercial cleaners, making it a budget-friendly option for routine gear maintenance.

Important Considerations and Precautions

While vinegar is generally safe for cleaning scuba gear, it’s essential to take certain precautions:

  1. Spot Test: Before cleaning the entire piece of equipment, spot test a small area to ensure compatibility with vinegar.
  2. Avoid Neoprene: Vinegar may degrade neoprene materials, so avoid using it on wetsuits or dive gloves made of neoprene.
  3. Thorough Rinsing: Ensure all vinegar residue is rinsed off gear to prevent skin irritation during use.
  4. Proper Storage: Store clean and dry scuba gear in a cool, dry place to prevent mold and mildew growth.

For more information, check out : How to Properly Maintenance Diving Gear

diver check his cleaned gear


Clean your scuba gear with vinegar is a simple yet effective way to maintain its condition and prolong its lifespan. By following the detailed steps outlined in this guide and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure that your gear remains clean, fresh, and ready for your next underwater adventure. Embrace the power of vinegar and dive confidently into the depths knowing that your gear is well-maintained and ready for action.

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