Playing paintball is a fun and exciting activity, but it also requires proper equipment maintenance to ensure safety and optimal performance. The paintball mask is an essential equipment that should be regularly cleaned. A dirty mask can impede visibility and increase the risk of injury, so it’s crucial to know how to clean it properly.
When playing paintball, it is important to worry about your mask will not fog up. A clean lens will give you a clear shot and help you avoid getting hit. This guide will walk you through the steps necessary to clean your paintball mask, from gathering materials to reassembling it.
Why Is It Important To Keep Your Paintball Mask Clean?
Keeping your paintball mask clean between games isn’t just about making sure it always looks new and shiny. A clean mask actually provides some tangible benefits. Here we will provide you with instructions on how to clean a paintball mask at home, ensuring that it remains in pristine condition for your next thrilling adventure.
Improves your in-game performance
How does a clean paintball mask improve your performance on the field? Well having good vision is pretty much directly related to being good at paintball. If your mask and lens are covered up with paint or something else, even just partially, how are you going to see that player sneaking up on you from the outside? Having a clear, wide-angle vision so you can see your peripherals is really important. After all, aren’t you better at everything when you can actually see what you’re doing?
Keeps you safer
A clean paintball mask also helps keep you safe because you can identify damage and deformities on the lens much easier than on a dirty mask. Broken paint and other debris can easily hide a crack on the lens or mask, and that is not safe. You can’t properly inspect the lens when it’s covered in paint.
Clean masks last longer
And lastly, if you maintain and clean your paintball mask regularly, it’s going to last longer. When dry paint stays on the mask or lens for an extended period of time, it can breakdown the material. Other parts of the mask like straps, vents and padding will also break down quicker if they aren’t kept clean and maintained properly. Do you really want to buy a paintball mask only to have it wear out quickly because you wouldn’t take care of it?
So yeah, cleaning your paintball mask is important — but the good news is that it’s not difficult. In fact, it’s pretty quick and easy to do once you know how. But it’s also important that you know how to clean it the right way. If you are using the wrong products or technique, you could damage the mask or lens.
How to clean a paintball mask
A clean paintball mask is essential for anyone who wants to up their game. There are many ways to clean a paintball mask. You can mostly clean it with warm, soapy water, but sometimes you need something stronger like acetone or rubbing alcohol. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your mask is always ready for action.
While cleaning the mask, the most important thing is to remove the lens. It is recommended that you clean the lens with microfiber. If you wipe it down with a paper towel or other cloth, eventually, it will get scratched.
As for the rest of the mask itself, if you have a mask with removable foam, nothing stops you from submerging it in the water. I recommend dunking it if the foam is removed because if you dunk it with the foam, you remove the glue that keeps the foam on.
Inspect The Lens
When you are cleaning a paintball mask, the first thing you should do is inspect the lens. The lens is usually the most fragile and vulnerable part of the mask. And since the lens is what protects your eyes, it’s pretty important that it functions properly.
We give our lens a pretty quick but thorough inspection before we actually start cleaning. You don’t have to inspect it with a fine-tooth comb yet though. We do that at the end when everything is clean and we can really find any cracks or fractures.
For the initial lens inspection though, we hold it up to a light and see if any deformities or defections jump out at us. The edges are what typically crack or give way first, so we pay special attention to all the edges.
And what do you do if you find a crack or deformity? Discard the lens and replace it immediately. It doesn’t matter if it is a small hairline crack or a deep fracture, if the lens is compromised and needs to be replaced. Most lenses should last about 1 year if you take care of them and they don’t incur any damaging scratches or defections.
By the way, if you take a direct hit to the lens from a shot within about 15 yards though, we recommend replacing the lens immediately. Even if there is no visible damage to the lens. The force from a shot that close is significant and will seriously challenge the integrity of the lens. There’s no reason to gamble on whether or not it will hold up to another direct hit at that range. Just be overly-cautious and replace it.
In fact, it’s always better to replace a lens too early rather than too late. Yeah, it sucks spending a little extra money for a new lens. But it would suck way more if your lens breaks in the middle of a game when you knew it needed to be replaced and did nothing about it.
Gather Your Cleaning Gear
First, gather all necessary materials. You will need a mild detergent, a soft-bristled brush, a microfiber cloth, and warm water. It is important to use a mild detergent as harsh chemicals damage the mask’s lens. You might also want to use a lens cleaner specifically designed for paintball masks.
Remove Excess Splatter and Clean The Exterior
After you have inspected the lens for any imperfections, the next step is to remove any excess paint splatter or other debris on the outside of the mask.
If there’s a decent amount of paint, dirt, mud or other debris on the outside, the easiest way to remove it all is by simply washing it off with water. We use the hose in our kitchen sink, but any low-pressure stream of water will work. Just make sure you’re not turning up the pressure to where it’s basically a pressure washer or you could damage the mask or lens.
Paintballs are water-soluble so you should not need much water pressure to get the paint off. Just hold the water stream perpendicular to the mask and just let it rinse it off. Do not spray at extreme angles from the top or the bottom as this can cause problems with thermal lens. How so? Because there’s a small chance you could get water inside the dual-pane lens.
The key to rinsing it off with water is to use hot water at a low to medium pressure stream. No need to be overly aggressive with the water, but hot water will knock the paint off much easier. If you use water, make sure you let it air dry for a few hours afterwards before proceeding on to the next step.
Once most of the excess paint is removed and the mask is dry, then remove anything remaining with some approved lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Just simply apply some of your lens cleaner and then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. This should remove any of the paint remaining.
If you’ve already used a microfiber cloth to wipe away some paint, make sure you use a new clean cloth for this last part. It may seem excessive to use another cloth, but you don’t want to re-apply anything you removed earlier or risk scratching the lens because of some residue remaining on the cloth.
Clean The Inside
Alright, now that the outside of the mask is clean, let’s move onto the inside. The inside of the mask should be pretty clean because not much paint should be able to make its way in, so this should be pretty easy.
Hopefully there’s not much, if any, paint on the inside. But it’s okay if there is, you just need to be a little more careful cleaning the inside than you were with the exterior. The inside lens of a thermal mask is more sensitive and can be damaged if you’re not careful. Just make sure you’re not using anything abrasive or damaging to clean it, and you should be fine.
Single-pane lens are more durable and tough then a thermal lens, but you still need to be careful with them. There’s no need to cause unnecessary damage to it just because you are lazy or in a rush.
We have seen some paintball players use water on the inside as well, and it’s perfectly fine if the inside gets a little wet, but we don’t spray it down like we did the exterior.
Why not? Because there shouldn’t be that much paint or other residue on the inside anyway. Therefore, we just use a combination of microfiber cloths and some lens cleaner and that’s all it takes. You’re not having to knock off big globs of paint so using water to spray it down is just overkill we think.
So just simply spray some approved lens cleaner on the inside lens and then gently wipe it down with a clean microfiber cloth. If there are other areas on the inside that need attention besides the lens, we typically just use a wet sponge and clean it down.
Last Inspect The Lens Again
Now that your mask and lens are nice and clean, it’s time to inspect the lens again because there is a possibility you could have missed a scratch or crack that was covered up by paint earlier. Now that your mask and lens are clean as a whistle though, you shouldn’t have any trouble identifying any deformities or damage.
And that’s it for cleaning your mask. Was that so hard?
Before you go though, we want to cover a few more items to make sure you’re taking care of your equipment properly.
NEVER Dunk The Entire Mask In Water
Like we said earlier, all of the mask can get wet. But that doesn’t mean you should complete submerge it in water. That’s just asking for trouble.
If it’s a really cheap single-pane lens paintball mask, then yeah you can get away with it. It’s probably not going to “damage” anything because the lens is so cheap anyway but dunking it is going to speed how long it will be useful though.
You definitely should never dunk a thermal mask though. When you do this, water can get in between the dual-pane lens and ruin the lens.
Deep Clean The Mask When You Replace A Lens
Good paintball masks made by reputable paintball companies are very durable — when you take care of them. That’s kind of the whole point of this article.
And cleaning them after each game is all you really need to do. But it doesn’t hurt to do a slightly deeper clean every once in awhile.
So when should you do this deeper clean? We like to do it whenever we have the lens removed from the mask. So basically every time we change the lens, we give the full mask a good cleaning.
It really doesn’t involve much more, but you can get in some of the tight spaces a little easier with some q-tips or a toothbrush to get any paint residue out that you couldn’t reach before. Just remove the lens, spray it down with some water and then wipe down some of the problem areas with a sponge or toothbrush that has some dish soap on it.
Another reason we like to give a deeper cleaning every once in awhile though is to try and remove some of the stank from the helmet. Good paintball helmets are made from quality materials that shouldn’t go bad quickly, but they can still start to smell after playing in them for several months.
Tips for keeping your paintball mask clean
To keep your paintball mask clean, make sure that you always store it in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid leaving your mask exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures, as this can cause it to deteriorate over time.
When playing paintball, always make sure that you wear a face guard or other protective gear to prevent paint from getting on the inside and outside of your mask. Be sure to clean your mask with one of the above methods after every use. Following these simple steps ensures that your paintball mask remains in good condition for years.
Make sure to dry off the outside of your mask after each session, as this will help prevent any dirt from building up on the surface. Lastly, store your paintball mask in a clean and dry place.
Take care of your thermal lens
A thermal lens is a layer between the paintball mask and your face that helps keep the lenses from fogging. It is important to take care of this lens by cleaning it regularly with a microfiber cloth or lens wipes.
This will help prevent dirt, sweat, and debris from building up on the thermal lens, which can cause fogging or scratches to the lens.
soap and water
When cleaning your paintball mask, use warm soapy water and a soft sponge to gently scrub away any dirt, debris, or residue on the outside of the mask. Rinse any remaining soap residue with cold water and let it air dry before storing it away.
If you need to do a more in-depth cleaning, use isopropyl alcohol. Apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol onto a lint-free rag and gently scrub away any dirt, debris, or residue on your paintball mask. Make sure all traces of alcohol are removed from the lenses by rinsing off any remaining residue with cold water.
Vinegar is another great option for cleaning your paintball masks. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray the outside of the mask in a circular motion to remove any dirt and debris. Or residue.
The inside of the mask must also be cleaned regularly, as sweat and grime can accumulate on the surface over time. Start by using an old toothbrush dipped in mild soap or detergent mixed with warm water to clean the outside of the paintball mask.
It is also important to note that the mask’s lens should be replaced annually, as they can become scratched and worn over time, impacting visibility. In addition, if the mask is dropped or hit with a paintball, it should be inspected for any damage before using it again.
Use Paintball Mask Lens Cleaners
You can also use paintball mask cleaners. There is plenty of excellent paintball lens cleaner available in the market. Some popular cleaners are:
1. Empire Paintball Mask Cleaner
Empire paintball mask cleaner is designed to quickly cut through dirt and grime on the inside and outside of your mask lenses. It is easy to use and leaves no streaks or residue behind. This cleaner is perfect for keeping your lenses crystal clear and fog-free.
Empire’s Anti-Fog lens cleaner features an efficient pump, ensuring no drop is wasted. Just give it a few pumps and eliminate any buildup clinging to your lens surface. It also comes with a cap that locks tight for portability when you want to take it with you on the go.
2. VForce Vision Lens Cleaner
This lens cleaner is specifically designed to clean paintball mask lenses and has been proven to safely remove dirt, oil, smudges, and other residues without leaving any scratches. It provides a streak-free, clear finish.
It is safe to use on all lenses, so you can trust that your eyewear will look crystal clear in almost any situation.
3. Eclipse Lens Cleaner
Eclipse lens cleaners remove dirt, dust, and grease from paintball masks. Eclipse lets you deliver professional quality output every single time. Perfect for all digital sensors and optics.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mask?
The entire team at Paint the Competition cleans our masks after every game. And we recommend you do as well.
It’s better to get into the habit and make it part of your routine rather than to just put it off and say, “I’ll get to it later or maybe I’ll do it before the game tomorrow.” Because we both know you’re not actually going to do it then.
We know you’re tired when you get home after a long day playing paintball. But just spend 5 minutes cleaning your mask and you will thank yourself later. Trust us.
There’s not really a need to do any type of semi-annual or annual deep clean, but we do give our masks a slightly more intense cleaning whenever we are replacing the lens (more on this later though).
Quality masks are very durable and can hold up really well — if you take care of them. They are very durable and can stand up to the wind, rain, snow elements you might be playing in. So as long as you are cleaning your mask after each game, there’s really no need to worry about any other maintenance.
What To Avoid While Cleaning a Paintball Lens
- Never use abrasive cleaners, solvents, or polishes on your paintball mask, as this can damage the lens and reduce its visibility.
- Do not attempt to remove dried paint by scraping or scratching it off with a hard object, as this will only scratch the lens and create permanent damage.
- Avoid using hot water when cleaning your paintball mask, as this can cause the lens to crack or shatter.
- Never use a hairdryer or dishwasher to try and speed up the drying process, as this could damage your paintball mask.
- Finally, never use glass cleaner to clean a paintball mask, as this could damage the lenses and cause them to become cloudy. Glass cleaners contain ammonia and other harsh chemicals that can damage the protective coating on your paintball lenses, making them harder to see through.
Now you know how to clean your paintball mask properly, and you can enjoy playing without worrying about dirt and grime.
Cleaning your paintball mask is important in maintaining longevity and keeping yourself safe while playing. There are several ways to clean a paintball mask, depending on how much dirt and grime has accumulated over time. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and we hope your paintball mask stays clean!