With face coverings now recommended when leaving your home, here’s how to keep your glasses from fogging when wearing a face mask.
While personal travel restrictions are slowly easing and we’re all adjusting to the new “new normal,” most of us are still advised to wear face coverings when leaving the house. In some places, it’s even mandatory.
For those who wear glasses, face masks can create a new problem: the lenses get foggy, making it difficult to see. Meanwhile, we’re not supposed to remove the face mask to wipe our glasses because that risks spreading contaminated droplets.
Why Glasses Get Foggy When Wearing a Mask
Glasses get foggy when wearing face masks because our breath contains water vapor warmed in our lungs. When this vapor meets the cool surface of our eyeglass lenses, it creates condensation droplets.
So, the way to keep your glasses getting foggy when you’re wearing a face-covering is to keep your exhaled breath from reaching your lenses. You’ll find several ways to accomplish that listed below, so try one or a combination to keep your glasses fog-free.
How to Keep Glasses from Getting Foggy When Wearing a Mask
To stop your glasses from fogging up when you’re wearing a mask, you can improve the fit of your face covering, absorb excess moisture in your breath, and treat your lenses with anti-fog materials.
Improve the Fit of Your Mask to Stop Fogging
Keeping your warm, moist breath from reaching your glasses in the first place will stop them from getting cloudy. The easiest way to do this is by tweaking how your mask fits.
No matter which approach you use, the CDC says your face covering needs to fit correctly against your face, be secured in place, allow you to breathe without difficulty, and it must be washable.
Add a Metal Nose Strip
Some face masks include a bendable metal strip over the bridge of your nose. If yours does not, you can make a nose strip out of a variety of materials.
- Pipe cleaners
- Twist ties from plastic bags
- Crafting wires
- A thick strip of aluminum foil folded repeatedly
Position the strip on the outside upper edge of your mask and attach it using a flexible, washable adhesive like a glue gun or rubber cement, or sew it in place with a simple overhand stitch.
Tape Your Mask in Place
A strip of tape across the top edge of your mask is a quick alternative to adding a metal strip. Good options include first aid or athletic tape, beauty or body tape, or even a Band-Aid since they’re all gentle on the skin. Don’t use duct tape or packaging tape, though — they’ll hurt.
You’ll need to remove the tape before washing your mask and reapply it every time.
Cross-Tie Your Mask
If your face covering is the tie-on style, use a trick that doctors and nurses rely on: cross-tie the straps. Doing this seems counterintuitive, but it dramatically improves how your mask fits over your nose. All you need to do is tie the top strap below your ears and the bottom strap above them.
Wear Your Mask Higher
You can also try adjusting your face-covering to fit higher on your nose, so the weight of your glasses holds it in place. Make sure the mask still covers your entire mouth and chin, though. If yours has creases or folds, you can do this by pulling the top and bottom edges vertically.
Absorb Excess Moisture in Your Breath
Some masks allow wearers to insert additional fabric or another barrier to improve filtration. If yours does, try switching the material you’re using to see if a different type helps.
If your mask doesn’t have a pocket to hold a filter, try slipping a folded tissue between your mask and your mouth to absorb water vapor in your breath. Make sure you can still breathe easily, though, and remember to throw away the tissue after each use.
Treat Your Glasses with Anti-Fog Materials
When your face mask causes your glasses to get foggy, it’s tempting to switch to contacts. Eyecare professionals say this is a bad idea because lenses provide an extra barrier. Plus, wearing contacts increases the likelihood you’ll touch your face or eyes.
Instead, try treating your glasses with one of these anti-fog remedies.
Let Soapy Water Air Dry on Your Lenses
Remember how moisture in your breath causes condensation to fog up your lenses? A method used by surgical theater staff that prevents fog is washing their glasses with soapy water then letting it dry on the lenses.
This method works because the soap contains fatty substances that reduce surface tension. Letting it remain on the lenses leaves behind a thin film that keeps moisture in your warm breath from clinging to your glasses. Most types of soap or even baby shampoo will work.
Rub Them with Shaving Cream
Shaving cream does an excellent job keeping bathroom mirrors from getting foggy, and it can work on your glasses, too. That’s because, like soap, it contains fatty substances that break the surface tension to prevent condensation buildup. Be sure to use the foam style, though, and not the gel.
Use Anti-Fogging Products
You can, of course, buy commercial anti-fogging spray cleaners for glasses (like Z-Spray) or even products designed for car windows (like RainX). That is if you can find them. Currently, however, those products are scarce both online and in stores due to high demand.
Do NOT Remove Your Face Mask to Clean Foggy Glasses
Remember, one of the best ways to protect your health besides frequent hand washing is by not touching your face. That includes not touching the things that touch your face, like your glasses or mask.
Reposition Yourself NOT Your Glasses
A quick way to get rid of the fog without wiping is by compensating for the temperature difference between your lenses and your breath. That means, if they’re fogging and you’re in a sunny spot, step into the shade and wait for the fog to clear. If you’re in a shady spot, move to a bright area so your lenses can warm up.
Wash Your Glasses and Mask After You Get Home
Both your face covering and your glasses act as barriers to droplets in the air. Be sure to wash both as soon as you get home.
Just like washing your hands to stay healthy, using warm, soapy water on your mask and glasses gets them clean and ready for use the next time you leave the house.