If you step outside in the morning and your glasses fog up, it can be annoying. But when you’re cycling, fogging glasses is not only annoying but also dangerous. So how can you keep cycling glasses from fogging up?
Here’s how you can keep your cycling glasses from fogging up:
- Use an anti-fog spray or lens wipe.
- Apply dish soap, shaving cream, or baby shampoo.
- Try saliva.
- Visit a dive shop.
- Buy glasses with built-in anti-fog technology.
If all riders wore the same glasses, rode in the same environment, and had the same vision, then maybe there would be one solution that works for everyone. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to keep cycling glasses from fogging up. Try the following solutions, and one of them will do the trick.
What Causes Cycling Glasses to Fog Up
It’s simple—condensation causes your cycling glasses to fog up. You probably remember learning about condensation from your elementary school days when the teacher held up a glass of iced tea and asked why the glass was “sweating.” The same principle applies to your cycling glasses.
The warm air inside your glasses meets the cooler air rushing over them, and the moisture behind the lenses turns into fog.
Where does this moisture come from? Your breath is one source, and sweat can be another. In addition, humidity can also contribute to moisture.
How To Keep Cycling Glasses From Fogging Up
Since removing all moisture between your face and the lenses is difficult, most methods to keep your glasses from fogging focus on keeping the water from sticking to the lenses, while some suggestions focus on preventing moisture from building up.
One of these solutions might work for you but not another cyclist and vice versa. What works on one kind of lens might not work on another. Environmental factors can also affect how well a tip works.
Just remember that whenever you get five bike riders together, you will get at least seven opinions. So if one of these methods does not work for you, then try another.
1. Use an Anti-Fog Spray or Lens Wipe
Anti-fog wipes or sprays work as liquid solutions with hydrophilic properties or materials that cause water to spread evenly across a surface and dissipate. Put in simple terms, the solutions absorb the water and push it to the edge of the lens, where it can dissipate.
If you use an anti-fog spray and it doesn’t work, it could be because it wasn’t meant for your lenses. For example, this Dynamic Labs Fog Stopper Spray, available on Amazon.com, works best with anti-reflective lenses (although the manufacturer claims it works on all lenses). Jaws Quick Spit Anti-Fog Spray, also available on Amazon.com, claims to work on both glass and plastic.
Lens wipes are another option to consider. The advantage of a product like the Life Art Anti-Fog Wipes on Amazon.com is that you can use them to clean your phone computer screen. Another advantage of wipes is they’re an all-in-one product—no need for a microfiber cloth. Or you can buy a product like the Ultra Clarity Defog It Anti-Fog Kit on Amazon.com, which includes a cloth.
Surfactants are another class of hydrophilic products. Soaps, shampoos, and dish soaps are examples of a type of surfactant that has both hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties. They use hydrocarbon chains to repel water by reducing its surface tension. In short, surfactants like soaps keep the liquid from settling on the lenses.
2. Apply Dish Soap, Shaving Cream, or Baby Shampoo
A little soapy water and a soft cloth might do the trick for you. First, wash your lenses in soapy water. Then, shake off excess liquid and gently wipe the lenses. Some cyclists swear this method works best if you wait a minute or two before drying the lenses so that you leave a film on them.
Dawn Ultra Liquid Dish Soap (available on Amazon.com) is often mentioned as the preferred dish soap. However, any soap that doesn’t contain oils, lanolin, or abrasives will do. And soaps that make your dishes smell like lemon or oranges can harm the lenses.
Bar soap, like Ivory, also works. Rub some on your hands, on the glasses, and then buff them dry with a soft cleaning cloth. As with dish soaps, don’t use soaps that contain abrasives. Exfoliants might be great for your skin but not for your lenses.
Your bathroom has several products that might prevent fog. For example, some cyclists swear by shaving cream. Use just enough to rub it on both sides of the lenses, distribute it evenly, and then wipe it off. Since you want to leave a residue that will prevent moisture from sticking to the lenses, wipe them clean with a non-abrasive cloth.
Many scuba divers sing the praises of baby shampoo. Apply it like shaving cream—rub some on the lens, wait a minute, and wipe it off. Divers prefer baby shampoo because it doesn’t burn your eyes. Plus, it comes in convenient travel-sized bottles.
You should avoid most adult shampoos as they contain lotions or moisturizing ingredients.
3. Try Saliva
Your saliva contains surfactant proteins that are similar to those found in the above cleaners. Like other surfactants, it lowers the surface tension of liquids, causing the water to spread from the lens instead of settling on it.
So why doesn’t everyone use saliva? Because it’s spit, and some people are uncomfortable using spit. Plus, optometrists often advise against it because a) they would rather that you buy a spray or b) too many people spit and wipe it off with a paper towel, dishcloth, or shirt.
While some optometrists advise against using saliva, many divers and cyclists swear by spit. It doesn’t sting in your eyes and is readily available.
4. Visit a Dive Shop
If there’s a dive shop near you, consider stopping by and asking the divers or instructors for recommendations. Divers also face condensation problems, and if none of these tips work for you, they might have a tip that’ll do the trick.
Scuba shops will often concoct recipes that they claim are better than any specific product. For example, the owner of Steve’s Scuba Dive Shop swears by his formula—50% baby shampoo, 40% dish soap—he prefers Dawn—and the other 10% is water.
5. Buy Glasses With Built-In Anti-Fog Technology
Manufacturers of sporting glasses have begun to add anti-fog, hydrophilic coatings on the lenses. When shopping for anti-fog cycling glasses, look for those that provide circulation so that some of the heat generated by your breathing can escape.
Here are some options that are available on Amazon.com:
- Rudy Project Keyblade Sunglasses. These have cutaway circulation slots on top of the lenses. Just as important, the glasses curve away from the face to prevent heat build-up. As with many pricier cycling glasses, they’re lightweight and have unique features, such as interchangeable lenses. Warning: Get ready for sticker shock with these glasses.
- ForceFlex FF500 Sunglasses. At the other end of the price range, these glasses are nearly indestructible, have UVA, UVB, and UVC light protection fused into the lens. However, they have no circulation features, so you’ll definitely need to use one of the hacks we’ve suggested.
- Oakley Flight Jacket Sunglasses. This mid-priced pair has an excellent anti-fogging feature—a nose piece that pushes the lenses from your face, increasing the amount of airflow.
- Rudy Project Propulse Sunglasses. If contacts won’t work for you and you’re looking for cycling glasses, this one check all the boxes. They have an option for prescription lenses, good ventilation to prevent fogging issues, and are reasonably priced if you skip the photochromic lenses.
After all the money you put into your bike, you might decide to buy less expensive cycling and fog-proof them.
Break Bad Habits
You might have some habits that contribute to your foggy glasses problem. Here are a few:
- Using microfiber cloths when cleaning your glasses. Wash them first, shake them dry, and then use the microfiber cloth.
- Cleaning with a dirty cloth. You’re spreading the grease onto your cleaned glasses.
- Not storing them properly. Glasses aren’t immune from dust and dirt.
- Pushing your glasses on your forehead while taking a break from riding. That’s a sure way to get sweat onto lenses. You want to keep moisture off the lenses.
- Using textured fibers like paper towels, tissues, or t-shirts to clean your glasses. This is a big no-no.
Think of finding the perfect method for cleaning your cycling glasses as a science experiment. What works for one cyclist doesn’t work for another. The variables such as type of material, weather conditions, and the terrain you’re biking on all affect how well one of these cleaning hacks will work for you.
Experiment with some of these methods to see which one works for you. And if you forgot to prep them or have run out of defogging liquid, you always have some saliva to work with.
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