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    How To Clean And Pack Down Your Scuba Gear

    July 26, 2021 4 min read

    cleaning scuba diving gear

    You've reached the end of a great day's diving and it's time to pack up your equipment. Here’s how to clean and pack down your scuba gear.

    Step 1: Turn off the air.

    The first thing you want to do is to turn off your air. Turn the valve all the way off and depressurise the lines. It doesn't matter which regulator you push, it's going to take the air out of the lines, which will then make it possible for you to remove the regulator from the cylinder. You'll notice all the hoses have gone floppy line if you've had your gauges clipped to your BCD for streamlining purposes.

    Step 2: Remove the regulator.

    The next thing you have to do is to unseat the valve. This is a key part of your pack-up. The dust cap is very crucial to the lifespan of your equipment, so make sure that you put it back in place. Another important thing to do is to try and make sure there's a limited amount of water in there. You might want to get a towel and blow on it. A bit of air pressure will also blow some of that water off of the dust cap.

    Now put it back in place and apply the same principle of finger pressure to that. It is only rubber, so don’t put too much pressure on your dust cap. Once it’s in place, secure that from any of the outside elements that could get into your first stage. On a boat, even the salty air is enough to start doing a bit of damage. Make sure to put your dust cap on. Secondly, it’s important to keep your hoses untangled.

    Step 3: Take the BCD off.

    Take any excess pressure out of the BCD. Make sure the tank is secured. Don't leave the tank for too long around the deck of the boat. Cylinders fall over, lead weight belts get dropped, and you don’t want to see any damage to your scuba gear so make sure your equipment is stashed away.

    Step 4: Mind your equipment first.

    Whilst it is not a bad thing to try to assist other divers in packing up. It’s important to take care of your own equipment first after you have completed a dive. That way, you know you've packed it all up correctly, nothing goes missing, and nothing gets damaged.

    Step 5: Clean your scuba gear.

    One of the most important parts of your equipment maintenance is cleaning. A lot of equipment and damage is due to poor cleaning. The first step in cleaning your equipment is actually to know your equipment. Not all regulators are the same and not all BCD's are the same and each one requires certain types of cleaning.

    Mares and Aqua Lung, for example, both have a first stage which seals when there's no pressure. Mares have, what's called the AST, the auto sealing technology. So, there is a little seat that will be moved out the way with some air pressure, but when the dust cap is off and there's no air pressure, it will seal, and that water's going to get in your first stage which is crucial when it comes to cleaning.

    Aqua Lung has a mechanical part on the first stage which depresses when it is attached to a cylinder, or if you put too much pressure on the dust cap which might scare a few divers. With its auto closure device, you need to rinse it without the dust cap on. You can put water directly onto our first stage and it’s important to rinse it that way, otherwise, you could see some failure.

    Your Mares should also get a little bit of a rinse. For Atomic, on the other hand, they have what's called a seat saving orifice, which means that the seat in the regulators will retract when it's not under pressure. This ensures great performance over a long period of time. It also means some water can get back up inside the hoses when you're washing them. So when you are rinsing your regulators, and you do get water up inside those hoses, allow the water to drain out of the hoses as well as your regulators.

    It’s also a good idea with the regulators, such as the Atomic or the zeal, to put some air pressure back through the first stage to blow any of that excess water out, so that you don't do any damage internally. It's important to know your equipment when it comes to cleaning up your regulators.

    • Check that your dust cap is in place. You can actually take the whole regulator and dunk it in a tub of fresh water. You can even use lukewarm water, which will help break down some of that corrosion and prevent any of that saltwater or green patina that builds up on the outside of your equipment, from building up.
    • Don’t soak your gear for too long. Take my first stage out, leave that sitting, and let your regulator sit for a while. As you rotate the hoses, pull any of your hose protectors back just to allow fresh water to circulate through the regulator. Pull the low pressure inflator clip back. Make sure everything gets a good flush with fresh water.
    • In the case of a dive computer, make sure you put that in the water as well. Once you have soaked your regulator and given it a good clean, hang it up so that the water cannot drain at all into the first stage. Sometimes you might hear from others that you can't depress the diaphragm purge button on your regulator when cleaning.
    • If you’re taking your dust cap off and you accidentally submerge them in the water, make sure to see your dive technician right away. Otherwise, if you put water through your system, you can cause premature degradation of your equipment.
    • Once all the water has drained from your BCD, you need to inflate it and make sure that everything is as it should be with no leaks. The BCD is then ready to dry out and pack away.
    • For the other scuba gear like fins, wetsuit, mask, give it a good soak too, to make sure there's no salty buildup and keep it all in good condition.