You’re halfway through your first kilometre loop at the lake. Your goggles are on snug, your pace is steady, you’re energised, you could be on track to smash your PB. Then all of a sudden, without warning, the dreaded goggle fog appears, leaving you unable to see and an awkward few moments treading water to wipe away the condensation.
Preventing ‘goggle fogging’ is one of the perennial problems for outdoor swimmers. Remedies for the issue include spit, washing-up liquid, anti-fog spray – the list goes on. But which is the most effective method of keeping your goggles clear?
We asked the Outdoor Swimmer team and a couple of our Olympian contributors how they fend away pesky goggle fog.
1 - Baby shampoo
This is the go-to option for our founder Simon, editor Jonathan and sales exec Jo.
Put a small drop of baby shampoo on your finger, smear it around the lenses, then rinse it thoroughly before putting them on. This creates a thin film inside the lenses of the goggles which stops condensation from building up.
We would advise you not to use washing-up liquid or regular soap for this, as it could be harmful if it were to get in your eyes. Opt for baby shampoo instead: a much safer and just as effective alternative.
Manufacturers advise against this technique, as most goggles now come with a coating of anti-fog which makes it harder for condensation to stick to the lenses. But when this wears away, baby shampoo works brilliantly.
If you don’t have any on-hand, saliva will also do the trick.
2 - Stop fiddling
This is a simple, but effective tip given to us by Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne. She finds that when you mess with your goggles, that’s when they start to fog-up.
Try your best to leave your goggles alone once they are on and fit comfortably. Regularly re-adjusting and removing your goggles, putting them on your head and so on allows the temperature inside the lenses to fluctuate, making them more prone to condensation.
Olympic medallist Cassie Pattern also advises that you don’t touch the inside of your goggles with your fingers or towels when you buy a new pair as this could scratch the anti-fog coating inside. If you need to wipe, dunk under the water or give the inside a lick.
3 - The wind-screen wiper method?
Sometimes your goggles are just always going to fog and there’s not much you can do to prevent it. Which brings us to one of the more creative solutions we’ve heard.
Keri-anne says when she was competing, she would purposely put a few drops of water in her goggles. Not so much that she would get water in her eyes, but enough so that when they started to fog up, she could shake her head and the water inside would act like wind-screen wipers and clean the lenses!
Definitely one to try next time you’re in the water!
4 - Storage
An over-looked, but really important tip. Goggle manufactures advise that you store your goggles in a protective pouch, to gently clean them with luke-warm water and leave them to dry naturally after every swim. Doing this means you will be able to preserve the anti-fog coating for longer.
5 - Anti-fog spray
We’ve had mixed experiences using anti-fog spray here at Outdoor Swimmer. To cut a long story short, the overall consensus is that for a just as effective, if not sometimes more effective solution, you could save yourself the money spent on anti-fog spray by taking care of your goggles and by using baby shampoo when the anti-fog layer wears away.