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How to Stop Safety Goggles From Fogging Up: Pro Tips & Tricks

how to stop safety goggles from fogging up
Written by Willie F Brodson

Medical staff and manufacturing employees wear protective eyewear every day. Nothing is more bothersome than having the goggles fog up five minutes after putting them on. Here we look at why goggles get foggy and the best ways to stop safety goggles from fogging up.

Why do those goggles fog up?

Fog is caused by hot air clashing with cold air. This same process happens when you put cold safety goggles on your warm face. It creates water vapor in the form of fog on your goggles. Once you remove them, this fog dissipates. Unfortunately, most safety goggles are air-tight and prevent dissipation from happening.

Goggle manufacturers understand the problem and have already started to make safety googles that let air in to slow down the fogging effect.

Stopping the Fogging

We know that ventilation helps prevent the safety goggles from fogging, but when combined with a mask and face shield, even the ventilation doesn’t help. Manufacturers of safety goggles and face shields are now adding an anti-fogging coating to the safety glasses, but sometimes they are not very effective. Safety goggles users have been very inventive with methods to stop the fogging. Below are some of the best and most effective ways to prevent safety goggles from fogging. Some are tried and true not-so-traditional ways to defog your safety goggles.

Knowing how to use your eyewear

Before we get to the solutions for fogging, you need to ensure that how you wear them isn’t the problem. Anyone can put their safety goggles on, but doing it properly only takes a few seconds and may stop your vapor issue.

The mask needs to be the best fit for your face. Wearing safety goggles that are too big or partially on your nose can increase the moisture. If you need to wear a mask (which most of us still do,)  be sure to pinch the face mask where it lays on the bridge of your nose to get the best fit, then wear your safety goggles over the face mask to minimize the moisture.

If you have to wear a face shield over the goggles and mask, it will hold in the heat and moisture. Most cover your mouth and catch the warmth and vapor, fog proof the face shield too!

Safety Goggle-Defogging Methods

Tape it down

The mask you wear plays a significant role in fogging up safety goggles. To enhance the fit of your face mask, you can use skin-sensitive tape to make it a snugger fit. Be careful what tape you choose, some will pull a layer of skin off when you remove it, and some may cause redness, swelling, and discomfort if you have alleries. Skin for sensitive skin is a godsend.

Anti-fog glasses

Anti-fog safety goggles are coated to prevent fogging. Medical staff globally cheered when anti-fog glasses came out. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, they discovered that not all anti-fog glasses work as well as advertised.

The anti-fog coating doesn’t eliminate fogging. It just minimizes it. Open-mouth breathing, overheating, and wearing the goggles for extended periods affect the frequency of the fogging.

While manufacturers are selling protective eyewear for employees that are fog and scratch resistant in various colors and styles, the fogging issue is better but not resolved.

Safety eyewear has anti-fogging prescription options

If you wear prescription glasses, you need to have the same vision in safety goggles as you do without them. Wearing safety goggles in the manufacturing sector isn’t safe if you can’t see the daily hazards of the job. Prescription safety goggles are more expensive than no-up-no-extra safety goggles, but they are worth the money if you stay free of injuries and viruses. The best prescription safety glasses are purchased through your ophthalmologist using your eye’s prescription. They can be anti-fog and scratch coated at your request.

Buy and apply the fog coating yourself

You can purchase anti-fog wipes and spray online and in stores to keep fogging to a minimum. If you use the same safety goggles daily, you may have to do this everyday.

Before applying the anti-fog coating, clean the goggles extremely well (soap and water or eyeglass cleaning wipes do the trick), so lint or dust doesn’t get caught between the goggles and the layer of fog protection.

Soaping the lens

Defogging with soaps can be done in two ways. Soaping the lens coats to minimize fogging. Whether you use liquid soap, baby shampoo, or traditional bar soap, rinse the goggles in warm water to remove the extra soap so you don’t get that soap in your eyes.

If you DO get soap in your eyes, gently flush them with cool water and pat them dry, then rinse your goggles some more.

Liquid and Baby shampoo

You only need a few drops per lens. Wash your hands first so you are not placing unwanted germs on the lens. Wearing goggles is terrible enough, but having an eye infection and wearing safety goggles is miserable!

Rub the soap on the entire lens, wait 2-3 minutes and then rinse off the excess soap. The soap residue will prevent fogging. Baby shampoo is a great choice. You can purchase a sample size 2-3 oz bottle that fits in your pocket, purse, or locker.

Bar soap

It’s the same premise as the liquid and baby shampoo, but you rub the soap bar onto the lens. Get the entire lens, wait 2-3 minutes, and rinse. Check to make sure you have all the soap off. Bar soap ingredients can be irritating to the areas around your eye. A soap for sensitive skin is a good option if you tend to react to soaps and lotions.

Shaving cream

Use shaving cream without lotions and fragrance. Wash your hands, and spray the shaving cream on the lens using your finger to cover the entire lens. Give it 2-4 minutes to set, then rinse the shaving cream off. Shaving creams come in sensitive skin options, and travel-size shaving cream can be kept in a locker, purse, or pocket. Shaving cream works really well. This writer has used it many times!

Potato power

The potato is not for meals only. Cut the potato into large pieces, and save all but one piece in an air-tight container. Rub the goggles with the meat of the potato. As you rub it on the lens, you will see the potato juice on the glasses, let them rest for 2-4 minutes and rinse the glasses until the residue is gone. An enzyme in the potato minimizes fogging, but it works better on glass goggles and eyewear than on plastic ones.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a DIYer’s dream, from silver polishing to… defogging safety goggles.

After washing your hands, rub a dime-sized amount of toothpaste (if your goggles are smaller than most, a pea-size amount will be enough) on the lens. Let the paste sit for 1-3 minutes, then rinse very well. If you have difficulty removing the toothpaste, you probably use too much. Use your finger to rub the toothpaste off under the water.

About the author

Willie F Brodson

Certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and a master of Science in Occupational Safety Management from Indiana State University, Willie F Brodson is an occupational safety expert who believes in the age-old saying – “It is better to be safe than sorry.”

Willie’s areas of expertise include legal guidelines for health and safety, coding and construction safety, fire prevention and theft, and environmental technology. Over a span of four decades, he has provided safety training and consultation and developed safety manuals for a number of state-owned and private organizations.

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