Maintaining and cleaning your snorkel gear definitely contributes to their lifespan and comfort. However, can you simply put them in the dishwasher and that’s it?
There are a couple of things to understand before you decide to use the dishwasher. Let’s take a look at individual snorkel gear:
Most snorkels can be cleaned in a dishwasher. It’s probably best to remove the clip that attaches to the snorkel mask since it could loose it’s flexibility. Place it in the upper compartment of your dishwasher and generally you should be fine.
However, remember this. Dishwashers can get extremely hot! Some plastics can melt, especially the thinner parts. Since a lot of snorkels don’t come with a “dishwasher proof” label, there’s always a chance of ruining it.
The mouthpiece of a snorkel is often made from silicone. Silicone itself can stand high temperatures without being harmed. The question that remains is, which materials have been used to manufacture your mouthpiece? Is it a high quality silicone or a similar looking kind of rubber? Rubber isn’t always compatible with hot dishwashers.
We read a lot of forums about this topic, and it seems that a good amount of people had no issues. But remember, there’s a risk of destroying your snorkel, especially if it’s of low quality.
If you buy a decent snorkel mask, chances are they come with tempered glass lenses. Tempered glass can stand extreme temperatures, making it a dishwasher safe product. That being said, there’s always a tiny chance of cracks. If you have plastic lenses, like most full face snorkel masks do, you better find another method of cleaning (we list them below).
Proper masks come with a silicone seal. Like we mentioned before, silicone is able to stand high dishwasher temperatures.
Another thing to take into considerations is the frame of the mask. If the frame around your mask is made out of plastic, well, there’s a small chance of melting it. The so called “frameless masks” don’t come with this risk, as long as there are no other plastic parts attached.
When reading a bunch of online discussions we can conclude that many people have no problems when cleaning their mask in a dishwasher. However, we hope that by now you understand there’s no guarantee.
A good amount of snorkel fins consist of plastic and/or rubber. Even though both of these materials can sometimes survive a dishwasher session, would you take the risk?
Thick plastic or robust rubber might be unharmed, depending on their quality. The thinner areas have a higher chance of deformation.
We couldn’t find anyone who actually tried this, and even though it could work, we’d say just don’t do it.
It is possible to clean your snorkel gear in a dishwasher. However, depending on the quality of your gear, there’s always a risk of damage.
Tempered glass and silicone are usually compatible with dishwashers, even though there’s a small chance of cracks. Plastic, especially when thin, could melt to a certain extent. High quality thick plastic seems to cause no problems for most people, but there’s no guarantee.
We would never advise anyone to use this method. Besides the risks of any damage, think about disinfection. Does your dishwasher provide that? Does it’s water reach every corner of your gear?
Fresh Water Directly After Snorkeling
Every time you finish your snorkel adventure, make sure to clean your equipment with fresh water. Most snorkel locations should offer this, and if not, make sure to bring your own. It’s important to remove any ocean salt or swimming pool chlorine with a nearby fresh water source. Before you let it dry completely, make sure to remove as much remaining water as you can. A small towel can already do the trick
Make sure to avoid too much sun exposure on your gear. Sunlight can harm the silicone, so find a shady place.
Soapy Water At The End Of The Day
After a long day of snorkeling and enjoying the beach, we always prefer to clean our gear properly. We use a bucket of warm water with some kind of cleaning soap. We let it sit for about an hour whilst we enjoy a drink or play a game. Afterwards it’s important to rinse with fresh water and to remove any soapy remains. Dry it with a towel and you’re all set for the next day.
Disinfect Once In A While
Every once in a while, especially before going on a trip, we want to disinfect our mask and snorkel properly. Tiny areas are aways a lovely place for bacteria to grow. Little corners below the silicone or the hollow tube of your snorkel are places to pay attention to.
A small tablespoon of bleach is enough to mix with a bucket of warm water. Put your equipment in the solution and let it sit there for about half an hour. Afterwards, clean carefully with fresh water and dry with a towel.
Even though some people use their dishwasher to clean their snorkel gear, we’d say just don’t take any risks. It’s not that much work to clean them by hand.
Disinfection and getting rid of bacteria is important once in a while. It reduces the risks of getting sick. You want to avoid that at any time, so make sure to also clean other people’s equipment. Maybe you like to go snorkeling with your kids, or who knows your wife goes snorkeling when pregnant. There are a whole lot of reasons to look after others.
If you want to read more about how people clean their gear, maybe this discussion on TripAdvisor is of help. It’s not about dishwashers but how people go about it. We also share a separate article about cleaning snorkel gear. Make sure to check that one out as well. Happy snorkeling!