How to Clean Dive Slates and Underwater Notebooks

A Magic Solution

Disko Bay, Greenland, a man in a dry-suit with regulator on next to iceberg, shot half over and half under water.
Justin Lewis/Iconica

Dive slates and wetnotes are useful tools for dive instructors and for divers who want to make notes underwater. Writing with underwater writing utensils is just as easy as writing in dry air, but erasing the writing is not. Once you have written on your slate or wetnotes, how do you clean the writing off when you no longer needs it?

The Challenge of Cleaning Dive Slates

Dive slates are plastic tablets and wetnotes are notebooks of waterproof paper.

They can be written on underwater and passed back and forth between divers. They can communicate complex ideas with students underwater as well as to record survey data when exploring new caves.

Wetnotes have many pages, so you may decide to simply discard them or save them for reference. Erasing the dive slates can be a challenge, and you may have tried standard pencil erasers, gum art erasers, and various cleaning solvents. The erasers can leave a sticky goo on the slates. These methods don't clean the slates completely. There is always a thin, grey layer of pencil or faint pencil lines left.

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to the Rescue

A much better solution is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. These dense, white sponges were developed as tools for house cleaning, but they are also fantastic for cleaning both dive slate and wetnotes. Moisten the eraser slightly, and rub it gently across your underwater writing utensils to leave them looking like new.

The Magic Eraser can be stored in a sealed plastic sandwich bag to keep it in better condition for a longer time. Another tip is to cut them into several smaller pieces. When carrying the erasers into harsh environments (such as on dive boats or jungle treks), they are likely to get salty or dirty. Cutting one large eraser into several smaller pieces allows a diver to get more use out of a single eraser.

Cutting them in thirds is a good solution.

The only drawback of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is that they are so effective that they will also dull any permanent lines or marks that a diver may want to keep on his underwater writing tools. For example, you may have drawn a grid using permanent marker on a cave survey slate. After a few uses of the eraser, the permanent marker lines began to fade and you have to redraw them.

Share the Solution

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers last for months (if not years) of gentle use. The erasers are available at most supermarkets in the United States and Canada, but you'll have to check for their availability in other countries you may visit when diving. If you are taking a dive vacation, be sure to pack along enough not only for yourself but to share with other divers, guides, and instructors. Even if they can find them at a local store, they might not have realized what a great solution they are.