Cleaning your scuba regulator is important to make sure all the parts stay in good condition and are safe for your next dive. It is recommended to rinse your scuba regulator after each dive and let it soak when possible.
Though a quick hose of the entire regulator is okay to do in between dives, it is not sufficient for properly cleaning the diving regulator. To thoroughly clean the entire scuba regulator, you need to handle each part differently.
How to Clean & Rinse a Scuba Regulator
When rinsing or cleaning your scuba regulator, there are two vital rules to always remember. These rules are safety precautions and prevent damage to your gear.
The first rule is to not remove the dust cap from the first stage and not let the dust cap or first stage soak since it is not waterproof. Instead, hose the dust cap down with gentle fresh water and take care to dry it very well with a clean towel.
Removing the dust cap while you are rinsing or soaking the scuba regulator can let water inside the first stage which you want to avoid at all causes. Even small drops of water coming through the first stage can already cause damage.
The second rule is to never purge while the scuba regulator is soaking because this can also lead to water entering the regulator through the hose.
Tip #1: Rinse the Scuba Regulator After Each Dive
Rinsing the scuba regulator with fresh water after each dive removes the corrosive salt and debris. Leaving your scuba regulator with ocean residue on it will cause wear and corrosion over time.
Even when you are diving in fresh water, it is still a good idea to hose down your scuba regulator with clean fresh water after each dive. This is because there might still be dirt and debris other than salt lingering on your regulator.
Also, use a hose with a gentle stream because a high-pressure hose can also cause damage to the regulator. If you are worried about some salt or debris that is difficult to remove then opt for soaking a few parts of the regulator after rinsing it.
Tip #2: Soak the Second Stage, Gauge, Console and BC
Though you shouldn’t soak the dust cap or first stage, it is perfectly safe to soak the second stage, the BC inflator hose, the pressure gauge, and the mouthpiece. You can choose to soak these parts while still assembled or removed from the pressure tank.
The easier method is to soak the entire package together in a large basin filled with clean fresh water. If you are staying at a dive resort then they will probably have one of these basins available for you.
Remember that the first stage and the dust cap should never be soaked so make sure that these parts stick up well above the water level of the basin.
It is also recommended to rinse the entire unit first, before letting it soak in warm fresh water. This is to get rid of the worst dirt and debris from the scuba regulator and pressure tank while still keeping the water in the soaking basin as clean as possible.
If the basin is not big enough for the entire unit then you need to disconnect from the pressure tank and soak the second stage, gauge, and BC inflator hose separately. Scroll down to read how to disassemble safely.
Tip #3: Disassemble Before Soaking
Separating the pressure tank from the scuba regulator means you need less space to soak your gear. This is especially useful when you want to do a longer soak at home, for example.
Remove the regulator from the pressure tank. Make sure that the dust cap and first stage are completely dry before you secure the dust cap back into place.
Then, form a circle with all the scuba regulator parts while holding the first stage and dust cap in one of your hands. Lower the coil into the soaking basin while still keeping the first stage in your hand and above the water.
Swish the scuba regulator around in the soaking basin so that any debris releases from the scuba regulator. Then, let the scuba regulator soak while making sure that you leave the first stage and dust cap over the edge where they don’t risk falling into the basin.
The scuba regulator should be left to soak for about 5 minutes but you can choose to do it for longer. For example, you can choose to soak your scuba regulator for an hour at home after a diving trip.
Tip #4: Don’t Dry a Scuba Regulator in the Sun
After the rinse or soak, use a clean towel to wipe down all the parts. Then, let it dry further in open air but away from direct sunlight.
The sun’s heat and UV dry out the materials and can damage your scuba regulator so make sure that it stays in the shade before you store it inside in a cool dry place without any chance of mold.
Tip #5: Store Scuba Regulators Hanging
Once cleaned and dry, find a place to hang the scuba regulator from so that you don’t form any kinks in the hoses. Kinks have a lasting effect that can reduce the flow of air.
If kept in a travel bag, create large hoops in the hoses to avoid any lasting kinks in the scuba regulator.