Frustrated with swim goggles that don’t seem to stop fogging up? Here’s how to keep your vision crystal-clear the next time you are down at the pool.
Swim goggles are an essential piece of swimming gear, whether you are heading down to the pool to do some casual laps or you are stepping out for your first Olympic final.
The functions of swim goggles are simple but important: they protect your eyes from the harsh chemicals in the pool (chloramines—the byproduct of chlorine and bodily waste interacting, are what cause your eyes to go bloodshot and itchy) and allow you to see properly.
This last part is what we are going to focus on today, in our little guide for learning how to keep your goggles from fogging up at the pool.
The frustration of fogged up goggles is quite real—it means interrupting your swim workout constantly to clear them, and it means you are less able to see the pace clock, important pool markers (backstroke flags, lane ropes, the wall) and even other swimmers in the water.
When you buy a new pair of goggles the vision is always fantastic. New goggles almost always come with a layer of delicate anti-fog in the goggle lens.
The problem, as you no doubt have come to learn, is that this coating is delicate and doesn’t last long.
Fortunately, there are some tricks and things you can do to help extend the life of your anti-fog and help keep you seeing more clearly in the water.
Based off my own 30 years of competitive swimming career and extensive experience reviewing some of the best swim goggles and swim gear on the planet, here are is how to keep your swim goggles from getting fogged up.
1. Stop rubbing the inside of your swim goggles with your fingers.
This is the big one. And the one I have struggled with the most any time a little bit of condensation, sweat or even water appears inside my goggles lenses.
Swim goggles are manufactured with a thin, delicate layer of anti-fog. This hydrophilic layer works by absorbing water and spearing it throughout the coating. So instead of having a whole bunch of little water droplets scattered across the lens, it absorbs and spreads the water out, giving you clearer vision.
The issue with this fancy-pants layer, of course, is that all it takes to wipe that coating away is to rub the inside of the goggle lens. I’ve done this purely out of habit more times than I care to admit.
Not rubbing the inside of your goggles is a good habit to get into, whether the goggles are brand new or you are updating the anti-fog layer using one of the tricks below.
2. Use an anti-fog spray.
There are plenty of after-market products to help you maintain that shiny new car smell on the inside of your, err, goggles. (You know what I mean…)
As the name implies, give the inside of your goggles a little spray (best to do it the night before your next practice to let the spray set overnight) and off you go.
It’s like hitting reset on your anti-fog with each spray. Look for anti-fog sprays that have natural ingredients—leaky goggles will mean that a mixture of water and spray will get into your eyes during your next swim.
Each bottle carries enough juice for 100-150 fresh coatings of anti-fog goodiness.
Our favorite anti-fog spray: JAWS Quick Spit Anti-Fog Spray
3. Lick or spit on the inside of your goggles.
In a pinch, the easiest (and cheapest) thing you can do is to lick the inside of your goggles, or spit into them before hopping into the water.
This free-range, GMO-free solution works because human saliva is a surfactant—it takes the accumulating beads of water that constitute fog and disperses them. The condensation that would typically explode like a cloud across your goggles instead rolls off the surface of the lens.
In terms of ease and spitting into your goals is as effective as it gets. While it won’t give you the same perfect sheen that you get with new goggles (or even when you use an anti-fog spray the night before you head to the pool), it will help to keep your lens relatively clear.