Ever go to put your regulator in your mouth and get taken aback (to put it nicely) by the smell of funk? Or you take a look through the mouthpiece and there is something orange or black hanging out in there? If your gear rarely dries or you live in a humid environment, this can happen to you! I have seen (and cleaned) orange gunk from regulator second stages, black slime from mouthpieces, and oil from both of those. Gross!
How can you keep this from happening? Keep things clean and dry! For cleaning and disinfecting, antibacterial dish soap works fine, or even just warm water. It’s better not to use a bleach solution since bleach is a corrosive agent and can damage the internal working parts of your regulator. After disinfection, it’s important to keep things dry! Dump all that water out of your second stage and let it dry out of direct sunlight to keep funkiness to a minimum.
We all know that there are two kinds of divers out there: those who pee in their wetsuit and those who lie about it. Whichever type you are, it’s important for you, your wetsuit, and your dive buddies that you get that funk out!
Here at the shop we use a product called Sink the Stink, and it does just as its name implies! It’s actually a suspension of ‘good’ bacteria that love to munch on all the smelly organic matter that’s produced by the ‘bad’ bacteria that munch on algae, urine, and other such stuff that finds its way into your suit. A cap full in a bucket or bathtub full of water and a good soak will make that gnarly suit fresh and clean smelling again, no rinse necessary!
Testing for bad air is something we’re all taught to look (and smell) for in our open water class. Crack open your tank, cup your hand over the outlet and take a whiff for anything that’s oily, funky, or just not right. Bad air can also have a taste – something distinctly oily, like diesel, or even like perfume. This comes most commonly from improperly maintained compressor or an intake for the compressor near an exhaust. If you ever get a tank that smells or tastes ‘off,’ let that dive shop know and don’t go dive on that tank of air! Headache, nausea, dizziness, or worse can occur at depth if your air is truly contaminated. So take a whiff of that air before you head down!
If you’ve got other de-odorizing tips and tricks to share, post them in the comment section below.