How to Keep Glasses from Fogging When Wearing a Face Mask

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With face coverings now recommended when leaving your home, here’s how to keep your glasses from fogging when wearing a face mask.

Eye glasses positioned over top edge of surgical mask and metal strip bent to keep glasses from fogging

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.

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 Your Lenses Fog-Free 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.

Ways to Improve How Your Face Mask Fits

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.

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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.

Keep Your Breath from Fogging Your Glasses

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.

Treatments that Stop Glasses from Getting Foggy

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.

Soapy Water

Remember how moisture in your breath causes condensation to fog up your lenses? Hospital surgical staff use soapy water to keep their glasses from fogging during surgery. To do this, dunk your lenses in a bowl of soapy water then let it air dry on them.

This method works because the soap contains fatty substances that reduce surface tension. Letting it dry on the lenses leaves a thin film that keeps moisture in your breath from clinging to your glasses. Most types of soap or even baby shampoo will work.

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.

Don’t Take Off Your Glasses to Deal with the Fog

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.

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