Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

After diving, once you get home, next; it’s time to thoroughly rinse your gear, dry your gear, and take time to look it over for maintenance. If you have a small apartment with a small bathroom, don’t despair. Creative solutions go a long way to making your scuba diving gear cleaning possible.

When you live in an apartment or small house that does not have a patio, porch, deck, or balcony, then your entire wash/dry operation has to happen indoors.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Modifying Your Bathroom Shower

First, all your gear gets chucked into the tub. If you don’t have a tub, you can go to a friend’s house, go to a car wash, crash a hotel pool… Or make do with a large storage container!

Here’s where you have to be a bit ingenious – we bring in the mop and broom to make enough hanging area in this tiny bathroom.

Once your gear is in the tub, it’s time to make sure the smell is out, as well as anything hazardous that you could unintentionally transfer from one dive site to the next.

Some dive friends of ours suggested using a product named OdoBan(r), and we have a gallon of the concentrate in the citrus scent. They have other scents, but I simply could not imagine my dive gear smelling like eucalyptus, lavender, or cotton breeze! We put about a cup in a full tub, and fill the tub with warm water. I’ve read that unscented shampoo or dive-gear wash solution works as well.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Soaking Time

Then I put the gear – including dive bag, weight bag, regulator bag – anything that could have gotten salty – even my hat – in the tub. For hours. Or a whole day. I pile everything in there to keep the BC’s underwater.

I worry about the drawbacks to using a chemical, including rubber hose degradation. We weighed our desire for our gear to cause no harm to the environment with our desire for our gear to last longer. So, I did some research on OdoBan.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

OdoBan Ingredients

The Clean Control Corporation gives a full breakdown of the OdoBan ingredients. Their safety data sheet says OdoBan is biodegradable and contains no carcinogens. Also, there is a list of precautions to take while using it.

I make sure all pockets are open, my gloves out of the pockets, and all mesh bags are unwadded. I fill and empty my BC several times, draining it through the dump valves, inflator hose, and the pull dumps.

A thorough, thorough rinse is needed. Recently, a friend of mine suggested rinsing my BCD bladder until I can’t taste any salt coming out of it. Great advice.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Drying Gear

I have developed a method for drying my gear. First, I use my mop and my broom to create bars from the corners of the tub enclosure to the actual shower curtain rod like you saw above. It looks ridiculous, but beats hanging your wetsuit on the shower curtain bar and coming back to a puddle on the bathroom floor.

For several hours, I allow my wetsuit and BCD to drip in the shower. Most other items are fine draining on the end of the tub further from the drain, taking advantage of the slope of the tub.

We use the XS Scuba BC Hanger and the XS Scuba Travel Wetsuit Hanger because they fold. Sometimes we keep them in our dive bags so we can hang our gear while we shower at a dive operator’s facilities.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Perfect time to put more notes in my dive log! Small items get “staged” and drip a bit in the sink before moving to the next stage.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

24-48 Hours of Hang Dry

My next stage is to move everything to the workout room and hang it all from our Bowflex Home Gym. Yeah, if you like to dive, getting in your workouts makes all that gear-carrying a lot easier, increases your lung capacity – you know all the reasons why exercise is good for you.

Anyway! In the workout room, that exercise machine is great for hanging wetsuits and sausages. The BCD’s go on the rubberized floor, with a fan set to “low” to keep air circulating. It takes a couple days to thoroughly dry out BCD’s, turning them every 12 hours. Make sure to inflate the BCD so all the crevices can dry, and watch that it holds air pressure.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Take Advantage of Dryer Warm Air

My final move is transferring everything to hang from a tension rod temporarily installed over my dryer. This way, our dive gear is out of the way, and the heat from the next few days’ laundry rises and helps thoroughly dry out all our items.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Time For Maintenance and Record-Keeping Checklists

During this whole process, as I’m handling every piece of my gear, touching every inch of it, and I take this time to think over my gear. I ask myself it there is anything I took on the trip that was unnecessary. Slowly, I think over if there is anything I should have taken that would have made the trip easier.

I keep checklists on my phone in the notes section. At this point, I can add or delete items from my list. Yes, my list for a spring dive is different from my list for a Caribbean dive, or a wreck dive. Different gear is necessary.

My original list came from the DAN website. Their basic packing checklist is available here. See below for more of my favorites. It’s worth looking at several checklists, and then developing your own based on your particular interests and needs.

When I return from a trip, I uncheck each item on my list as I locate it in my dive bag and clean it. That way, I know if there is anything I took with me that did not make it back – gasp – yes, sometimes items go missing when you make several transfers from home to car to hotel to ship to boat to … you get the idea.

Anything missing needs to be replaced now, well in advance of my next dive trip. My list even reminds me to remove batteries from my dive lights.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Easy Time to Inventory for Insurance

Also, keeping a list of your inventory is a good idea in case your entire dive bag goes missing and you need to file an insurance claim.

Another idea here – while you have all your gear out drying, it’s a great time to take a photo of the collection so, again, if you need to file an insurance claim, you have a record since you have a lot more gear than you realize since you probably purchased it piece by piece.

If you ever have to replace it all at once; it’s mind-boggling how many items are lashed to your BC alone!

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Caring For Your Dive Gear

Next; wear and tear. I inspect each bit, each piece, each strap, each zipper for chafe, cuts, anything missing, bent, broken. Now is the perfect time to set aside anything that needs mending, replacing, or modifying.

While the dives are fresh on your mind, and you’re looking at your gear; take note that you needed just one more D ring, or a new clip for something, or your snorkel keeper escaped.

Use a flashlight to inspect your bladder, put some Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant for Wetsuits, Tents and Bags on your dive bag and wetsuit zippers. Inspect for cracks in rubber on fins and masks straps.

Look at the “skirt” on your mask for tears. Check under hose protectors, look at anything that can corrode. I hear vinegar and a stiff brush can do a lot of good, followed by a good rinsing and a shot of silicon.

Check your computer battery, check your wetsuit. Yes, you can patch it rather than purchase an entire new one. There are several brands of wetsuit patch kits available online. Once you start using Gear Aid, you’ll be applying it to every zipper in your life.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

What We Learned

It does not take a huge amount of space to clean your gear.

Lists are wonderful.

Zipper lubricant can revive your gear.

Have you ever patched a wetsuit? What did you use? How did the patch perform?

Now, from the experts on all things diving, here’s a great article that is more about the science of the wash. While I gave you some useful tips and techniques, Scuba Equipment Care – Rinsing and Cleaning Diving Equipment published by Diver’s Alert Network is a thorough explanation of the intricacies of rinsing cleaning gear.

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

Details I Mentioned

XS Scuba BC Hanger
XS Scuba Travel Wetsuit Hanger
Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant for Wetsuits, Tents and Bags
OdoBan

Pictured but not mentioned in the article:

Atomic Aquatic Blade Scuba Open Heel Fins
Akona Dive Weight Bag
Akona Seco Self-Draining Boots 3mm
Aqua Lung Admiral III Dive Glove – Blue, Black, or Purple “DIVE LIFE” on your knuckles
Cramer Decker Scuba Diving Shot Lead Soft Weight Bag in HD Cordura Pouch 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 pounds
Dive Reel from iDive
Excel Wetsuit
Innovative Scuba Cave Reel With Anti Spooling Safety
Princeton Tec Nav Pack LED Dive Light Package Set 
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Rhapsody of the Seas
Scuba Choice Scuba Diving 3 Panels Wrist Writing Dive Slate with Pencil
Scuba Diving Dive Snorkeling Underwater Safety Whistle with LanyardZeagle Contoured Mesh Weight Pouch for one weight
Zeagle Zena Womens Scuba Diving Scuba BCD
Zeagle Ranger BCD
Zeagle All Orange Deluxe Signal Tube 60″ Safety Sausage Signal Dive Marker
Zeagle Shot Weight Pouch Zippered for multiple weights
Zeagle EMT Shears With Sheath
Zeagle Line Cutter With Sheath

Packing Checklists

DAN Basic Packing Checklist
PADI’S Ultimate Scuba Vacation Packing List
Scuba Diver Life’s Ultimate Dive Trip Prep and Packing List – scroll down a bit for the packing list!
Scuba Center.com Sample Packing List
Leisure Pro Scuba Diving Packing List

Read Next: Rinsing and Drying Your Gear on a Dive Cruise 

cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

We Don’t Go Anywhere Without:

  • Stream2Sea Reef Safe SPF 20 or 30 mineral, regular or tinted sunscreen, mask defog, shampoo, conditioner, rash guards and more reef-safe supplies. Use my code “DeepWH” for 10% off. The packages are biodegradeable – not just recycled and recyclable.
  • Cycle Booty Citrus Cleanser and Post Ride Cream.
  • Crisis Medicine Tactical Casualty Care Course knowledge so we can help ourselves. With code “DeepWH” you save 20% on the TC2 course
  • MyMedic Individual Bleeding Control Kits, this link and my code “DeepWH15” will save you 15% on your purchase. We take ours everywhere.
  • North American Rescue CAT tourniquets. Use code “MAY25” for 20% off through midnight on 5/31/20. This is a huge savings!
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  • Travelex is our trip insurer – click for a free quote.
  • Girls That Scuba – members discount card for all things diving.
  • REI Co-op for great sports equipment and travel clothes.
  • Sailo for $100 off your next boat rental! Discount Code: “KimWa1”
  • PierShare to rent your dock out or rent a dock.
  • BoatUS for your boat towing insurance! Code: “HEWAF88”
  • RoadId for $5 off your cycling/running/kayaking/travel id.
  • Dazer Ii Ultrasonic Aggressive Dog Deterrent Repeller Dazzer – keeping dogs at bay while we cycle.
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cleaning dive gear, Cleaning Your Dive Gear When You Have A Tiny Bathroom

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