How To Clean A Paintball Mask
A dirty and scratched mask lens is a sure way to ruin an otherwise great day of paintball. A scuffed and grimy lens makes your opponents harder to see, enhances glare from the sun or bright indoor lights, causes eye strain and, most importantly, can degrade the integrity of your protection. You only have two eyes that don’t grow back, so it’s in your best interest to take care of those goggle lenses!
Does Your Lens Need Replacing?
At a minimum you should be changing your paintball mask lens at least once a year. Most players do this in the spring right before the big playing season starts. Get into the habit of inspecting your lens before every day of paintball play. Hold them up to a light and pay special attention to the edges and tabs that connect into the mask. Do you see any deep scratches or hairline cracks? If so, these should be replaced IMMEDIATELY! Any time you take a direct hit to the lens from a distance of 30 feet or less you should consider replacing your lens as well. When in doubt, change your lens. You will thank yourself later.
How To Clean Your Paintball Mask Lens
The only things that should ever touch your mask lens is water, paintball lens cleaner approved by the manufacturer, and microfiber or soft cloths. NEVER use glass or household cleaners like Windex, Simple Green, citrus cleaners or the like. These chemicals can hazardously degrade the lens material and strip off anti-scratch, glare, or fog coatings. NEVER use paper towels, toilet paper or other materials to wipe or polish a lens with. Though they may seem soft, paper products are abrasive and akin to rubbing very fine grit sandpaper on your lens. They will soon be covered in fine scratches and makes everything cloudy to look at.
If the outside of your lens has splatter on it, first wipe away most of the goop with a soft cloth or towel. Give it a spray of water or approved lens cleaner and then wipe away all of the paint with a soft cloth or, better yet, a microfiber cloth. If needed, give one more spray and then buff to a clean, streak-free finish. If any paint dripped onto the inner lens then avoid wiping it. Instead, take a microfiber cloth wetted with water and dab at it until gone.
If you have a single lens mask some players just remove the lens and dunk it under water or under a faucet until clean. NEVER do this with a thermal lens, as water will get in between the lenses and cause permanent fogging!
Transporting and Storing Your Paintball Mask
Your paintball mask should always be put in an aftermarket goggle case or one that may have come with your mask. If you don’t have one then a pillow case works, too. You want to keep the lens from getting scratched while in your gear bag. If your gear bag doesn’t have a separate goggle compartment then it is wise to put it in last on top of everything else so it does not get crushed.
It is very important not to store your mask with paint on the lens. It can permanently stain the lens and possibly degrade the material if left for long periods of time. When you get home, remove the lens and run your mask under the sink to get all paint splatter and dirt out. Pay special attention to any channels or grooves where the lens fits into, cleaning them out with a cotton swab if necessary. Any stubborn paint residue in the mask can get scrubbed with some dish soap and an old toothbrush. Once all is clean and dry, reassemble your mask and store in a goggle bag or case. It’s a good idea to leave soft sided masks on a shelf and not crammed back into your kit bag, as leaving them under pressure like that can mold them into an uncomfortable shape.