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Swim Goggle Anti-Fog

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Swimmers, tired of cloudy, steamy goggles? You’re in luck! Read on for advice on preventing swim goggles from fogging up- and learn to make your own swim goggle anti-fog.

What Causes Swim Goggle Fogging?

To understand how to prevent foggy goggles, it’s important to understand the science behind the annoying goggle clouding that prevents you from making the most of your time in the pool.

What is it? Fog – Steam – Clouds?

The annoying fog that forms on your goggle lenses during your swim workout or race is actually condensation, tiny water droplets formed when water vapor changes from a gas into a liquid.

What Causes Condensation?

Condensation is a phase transition of matter that occurs when water vapor contained in hot, humid air comes in contact with a cold surface. The air temperature inside your swim goggles increases due to body heat; body temperature continues to climb due increased athletic exertion. Perspiration forms around your eyes, further raising goggle humidity. Colder water outside your swim goggles causes goggles lenses to cool. As water vapor comes in contact with your cooler swim goggle lenses, it reaches its saturation point, causing water droplets to form during a process known as deposition.

Swift Swimmer Fact: Goggle condensation forms when water vapor meets a cool surface.

How To Keep Swim Goggles From Fogging Up

Here are some essential tips for preventing foggy swim goggles.

  • Buy Anti-Fog Goggles: High-quality swim goggles lenses are  pre-treated with anti-fog coating. Read product descriptions to make sure!
  • Don’t Touch Goggle Lenses: Your big fingers should be used to pull you through the water. Keep them away from the inside of your goggle lenses or you’ll erode and smudge the anti-fog coating, causing it to lose effectiveness prematurely.
  • Use Anti-fog Spray: If your goggles are fogging, apply anti-fog spray to restore an anti-fog coating on your lenses.
  • Slacker Anti-Fog:
    • Spit: Don’t underestimate yourself. Spitting in your lenses, followed by a quick shake, will temporarily abate fogging. However, repeatedly stopping your swim to fill your goggles with spit gets old- and attracts odd glances.
    • Sloshing: Keep a little bit of water in each lens, allowing it to slosh across your goggle lenses as you swim. This is annoying, but will suffice in a pinch.

Tip: Don’t wear your swim goggles on your forehead. Your hot forehead (yes, you’re hot) and a lack of airflow can also cause condensation before you dive in. Pro Tip: Instead, push your goggle straps into the leg of your suit, swim cap, or neck of your wetsuit.

Swim Goggle Anti-Fog

How Does Goggle Anti-Fog Work?

Swim goggle anti-fog is a surfactant that lowers water droplet surface tension, causing it to spread easily in a process known as “wetting”. Wetting prevents water from scattering into droplets. Voila- no fog.

How To Apply Goggle Anti-Fog

Don’t be a pool fool! Keeping anti-fog solution in your swim bag and taking :20 to treat your goggles is well worth your time, helping you see the clock, other swimmers, and the pool. Here are two techniques for applying anti-fog:

  • Quick Start:
    • Squirt or spray anti-fog, coating the entire inside lens.
    • Rinse your goggles (a fast dip in the pool if you’re at swim practice) and give them a shake.
    • Get on with your swim.
  • Overnight:
    • Carefully squirt or spray anti-fog, coating the entire inside lens.
    • Give your goggles a quick rinse.
    • Position goggles with the insides of the lenses pointing upward and allow them to air dry.
    • Again- keep your paws off the insides of the lens!

DIY Anti-Fog

There are plenty of DIY (Do It Yourself) swim goggle anti-fog treatments that swimmers can brew at home. Here are two to try- at your own risk!

Baby Shampoo Anti-Fog:

The easiest DIY solution is baby shampoo. Like most shampoos, it is a surfactant and will prevent fogging. Apply baby shampoo to the inside of goggle lenses by using a cloth to wipe and spread the shampoo. However, caution must be used:

  • Scratch alert! Take care when wiping baby shampoo onto goggle lenses! Lenses scratch easily; be sure to remove any dirt or debris from the lens surface prior to wiping- and use a soft, clean cloth.
  • Pain Alert! Leaky goggles will cause shampooed water to enter your eyes- this hurts enough to stop your swim mid-stroke.

Stacey Kiefer’s Anti-Fog Recipe

Stacey Kiefer’s anti-fog recipe leverages the strengths of store bought and DIY anti-fog solutions by combining off-the-shelf anti-fog with dishwashing soap. Stacey maintains that this combination creates a more resilient anti-fog coating with greater longevity. Ingredients:

  • Anti-fog solution
  • Eco-friendly liquid dishwashing soap

Directions:

  • Mix Kiefer or Speedo anti-fog with liquid dishwashing soap inside a spray bottle in a 4:1 ratio.
  • Spray a uniform coating of anti-fog over entire interior of both goggle lenses.
  • Give your goggles a quick rinse.
  • Shake remaining water from lenses.
  • Pain Warning! You’re ready to swim, but make sure your goggles don’t leak- or you’ll get soapy water in your eyes!

Did that clear things up?

We’d love to hear from you. Please share your fogging prevention techniques- or greatest challenges to swimming. We’d love to help. Until then, check out our posts on swim goggle care and lap swimming etiquette. See you at the pool, Robin Spencer Kiefer

About Robin Kiefer

Robin Spencer Kiefer is a lifetime fitness swimmer and endurance athlete. After becoming an Ironman in 2008, Robin continues to push the limits of marketing & parenting. He is the Vice President of Digital Marketing and Ecommerce at Kiefer.

Recent Comments (7)

I’ve never found anti-fog goggles to work for more than the first use or two. I have been VERY attentive to the instruction not to touch the inside of the goggle lenses. They work great when brand new, but by the third swim with them they fog up just like the old ones and I again find myself frequently having to take them off to wipe the fog away with my fingers.

I have found that a tiny bit of hand soap from the washroom dispenser, when I make the effort to do it, works for about the first 20-30 minutes. Because I am concerned about having the soap near my eyes inside the goggle (and I would have the same concern about a commercial anti-fog product on the inside of the lenses near my eyes) I wipe it almost dry before putting the goggles on, and it seems to be enough to work for a while.

Nice! Hand soap is a handy idea- most pools should have it on hand in washrooms. Good call on the wipedown- drying, not crying!

…let me amend that comment slightly: Once the anti-fog coating on new goggles starts not to work, I don’t immediately go back to wiping off the fog with my fingers, I’ll take them off and dip them in the water and put them back on, hoping that these new goggles will be different from all the old new goggles of the past, but it ends up never really preserving the mythical anti-fogging properties and it’s not long before I have to go back to clearing them with my fingers. Sigh… ;-)

Swimmer Problems- you’re not the only one. Does spit in your goggles work for you?

I’ve experimented with spray, spit, shampoo, you name it. Quick Spit Gel works best for me. I apply before I leave for the pool to give it time (about 30 min) to work. Then I take them in the shower and rinse until the water goes from milky to clear. Then they’re good for a whole practice. Do not just splash them with pool water or you will rue that decision for the next 8 hours of your life.

Sea Drops are also decent. You don’t have to rinse them nearly as thoroughly but the anti-fog protection also doesn’t last as long.

Thanks for the advice; glad you’re staying fog-free!

I will try that

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