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Clean Underwater Cameras

Learn About the Proper Maintenance After a Dive


Shooting underwater photos is a great hobby, but it requires special care with your camera and underwater housing, both before and after you carry the camera underwater.

To ensure your photography equipment is ready to go for your next dive, it's very important to properly clean the camera housing after the dive. You cannot put off this type of underwater photography maintenance until a few days later, or you run the risk of ruining your photography equipment. Use these tips to help you care for your equipment after the dive.

  • If you dove in a salt-water environment with your camera, be sure to give the camera housing and other equipment a fresh-water bath as quickly as possible after the dive. Residual salt can cause a lot of problems for underwater camera equipment. A fresh-water bath of about 30 minutes is recommended, although you should follow any specific instructions listed in the user guide included with your photography equipment and camera housing.

  • Do not try to force water into the camera housing with any water under pressure, such as from a hose, as it could force salt into areas the fresh-water bath cannot clean.

  • As you give the equipment a fresh-water bath, be sure to turn all of the dials, press any buttons, and twist knobs, allowing the fresh water to clean all parts of the camera housing. Also, press the power button a couple times. However, allow the camera to completely cycle through its start-up and shut-down procedures before pressing the power button again, so you don't cause the camera to lock up.

  • Dry the camera housing with the back lying on a clean towel. The water then will flow away from the camera and the interior of the housing.

  • Never open the housing until it is completely dry ... for obvious reasons. There's no sense in protecting the camera from water with the housing unit, if you only expose the camera to water while cleaning it.

  • Even after you're sure the camera is completely dry and you've removed it from the housing, take some additional care against any stray water. Hold the camera with any access hinges or doors pointing downward. Any stray drops of water then will leak downward, rather than leaking inside the camera.

  • When you're ready to store the camera housing until the next dive, make sure it's in a cool place that never is in direct sunlight to protect the O-rings.
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