Ever found yourself looking through the goggle equivalent of a steamy bathroom while trying to hit a moving target?
If so, you know the pain of foggy goggles.
When there’s a temperature difference between your face and the environment, humidity can condense on your lenses and create a vision-obstructing fog, sort of like a terrarium.
Even so-called fog-proof goggles might not stand up to their claims, so we’ve gathered a few of our favorite tips and products to help keep your goggles crystal-clear.
How to Prevent Fogging
First, let’s talk about what causes fogging. If you’ve ever taken a hot shower and stepped out to find the mirror foggy, you’ve seen it in action.
What happens is that the warm, vaporized water (in the form of steam) comes into contact with the cold mirror and condenses, or takes on a liquid form, stuck to the surface of the mirror.
The same thing happens inside your goggles. Snug eyewear that doesn’t breath can cause humidity to get trapped inside (either from your breath or just evaporating sweat. As you exert energy, your body temperature rises, furthering the difference between it and the environmental temperature.
Fog. The moisture trapped inside your goggles will condense on the insides of the lenses, especially when the outside temperature is cooler than your body temperature.
So… what do we do about it?
Well, there are a few options out there to stop fogging. Here are a couple methods we’ve tried to stop our goggles from fogging up:
- Soap. We know that soap and eyeballs don’t mix, but if done right, this can be a pretty fool-proof anti-fog solution! You have a few options using soap:
- Bar soap–rub it on your lenses, then use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off the residue until your lenses look clean.
- Dish soap–mix with water and wipe on your lenses, inside and out. Dry thoroughly with a clean cloth, and polish out any remaining residue.
- Baby shampoo–the same thing as dish soap, but a little safer for eyeballs!
- Spit. Just… spit in them, and rub it in. It’s gross, we know, but this time-honored tradition has been used by swimmers, divers, military members–anyone who needs fog-free vision on the go.
- Anti-fogging products. There are a variety of anti-fog wipes, sprays, and solutions that can keep your goggles from fogging up. We’ll tell you about some of our favorites below!
How Does It Work?
So, we know it might seem a little weird that you can spit in your goggles, dry them off, and suddenly, there’s no more fog, but… we’ll explain how it works.
Condensation relies on surface tension–the force that makes raindrops keep their shape or lets insects walk on top of water. By spreading a layer of a surfactant, i.e. soap, spit, or sprays, on the lenses, you decrease the surface tension of the condensation, which helps it spread more easily across the lens.
This means, in short–no more fog!
Products to Combat Goggle Fog
“But do I have to spit in it?” You’re asking. No. No, you do not. If you’re looking for a new set of goggles anyways, you might as well look at some of the products designed to cut fog and help prevent it in the first place.
Here are a few options!
If you want to effectively prevent fog inside your goggles without products (or spit), vented goggles are a must. By allowing air to flow in and out of your goggles, it effectively removes the opportunity for condensation to build up (think turning on the bathroom fan or opening the door).
If you find that simple passive vents aren’t cutting it, though, there are goggles with fans built-in. These little battery-powered beauties use a fan to actively vent hot, moist air out and draw in cooler, drier air. This is majorly helpful in preventing fog, as well as keeping your face nice and cool.
Okay, this one is a little silly looking, but we have to admit that the simple genius of it made us stop and go, “Wow.”
When you’re on the field, you don’t want to break the seal of your goggles, which means no taking them off to wipe them and no sticking fingers underneath to wipe away the fog.
Basically, these magnetic wipers use two strong magnets to attach a soft material on either side of your lenses. Move the outside magnet, and the inside one goes with it, so you can wipe the fog off the inside of your lenses without breaking the seal.
When you’re done, just move it to the corner of your goggles until the next time you need it!
There’s some concern about losing the outside magnet, which we could see. However, they tend to stick together well, and honestly, they’re cheap enough that replacing them isn’t too much of a big deal.
Make sure you always keep the soft side against your lenses to prevent scratching, though!
Disclaimer: we don’t actually recommend mesh goggles, but you’ll see them recommended as a fog-free alternative so we wanted to talk about them.
Mesh goggles use a fine steel wire mesh to form the lenses–which seems like a neat idea at first glance. After all, if there are no lenses to fog up, it has to be fog proof! They also offer great ventilation.
However, we personally don’t recommend them for one big reason–they aren’t full seal. Even if they seal around the edges and a BB couldn’t get in, guess what can? That’s right, fragments.
Cheap BBs are known to shatter upon impact, and those lil shards can slip right through the mesh and into your eyes.
Less commonly, but still not unheard of, is the goggles themselves breaking. Whether it was a fast, heavy BB at too short of a range, or just a stress failure after too many prior hits (or cheap materials), these goggles can break, and are much more likely to that plastic lenses.
As we mentioned, there’s a ton of purpose-made commercial anti-fog products, so finding something that works for you may be a matter of trying things out. These solutions are usually pretty cheap, though, so don’t be afraid to try out a few to see what works best.
For a wipe-on version, try Foggies Cleaning Towelettes. These reusable wipes can be used to clean and treat your goggles as needed, just be sure to store them in an airtight container, like a Ziploc baggie, in-between applications.
If wipies aren’t your style, you may prefer a spray, like JAWs Quick Spit spray. We know, spitting is a thing here. This is a natural, hypoallergenic formula that works on glass and plastic lenses, and tends to last quite a while. Just mist it on and rub it in before you put your goggles on.
Finally, Gear Aid Sea Drops are another option. You drop 1-2 drops on the inside of your dry lenses and rub it in. Then rinse it thoroughly before using your goggles. It’s a little less messy than a spray. The formula is non-toxic, biodegradable, and alcohol-free.
Foggy goggles are annoying, but there’s a lot of solutions out there. Obviously, the further ahead you can plan, the more options you have but… spit is always a last resort.
Do you use anti-fog products or any of these tricks to keep your goggles from fogging? Any other tips we missed? Leave us a comment and tell us all about it! Don’t forget to check out the best eye protection for airsoft, too!