Goggles help you see clearly when your face is submerged in water or exposed to wind and cold. However, body heat and evaporating sweat can make those goggles fog up so quickly that you can’t see anything at all, let alone see clearly. While commercial anti-fog products are available, simple homemade remedies ranging from coating the lens to wearing breathable clothing will help keep the lenses clean and crystal clear.
What’s Really Happening
When warm swim goggles have body heat on one side and cool water on the other, the warm side fogs up. This is the same phenomenon you see when condensation forms on a glass of cold water. For snow goggles, body heat is a major problem because many cold-weather garments funnel heat right up toward the goggles. If moisture such as sweat gets inside the goggles, the moisture can freeze.
The State New Zealand Ocean Swim Series website recommends submerging the goggles for 15 seconds in the water you’re about to swim in. Then, put the goggles on immediately. This helps bring the goggles closer to the temperature of the water, reducing condensation. An alternative is to coat the lens with a little dish soap. SNZOSS recommends washing the lenses, but Swimmer.com.au says to rinse the soap out without rubbing. Note that the trick of spitting in the lenses isn’t always recommended due to hygiene issues.
Snow sports and mountaineering require clear vision. Wear secure clothing that releases body heat away from the goggles. If you wear a balaclava, SectionHiker.com recommends getting one that has ventilation that directs warm breath away from the goggles. Also, once you put on your goggles, do not take them off -- do not occasionally place them on top of your head or on your forehead. This prevents sweat from inching into the goggles.
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