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Fight Foggy Glasses

What to Do When Your Glasses Steam Up in Cold Weather Riding

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Wow, it's been cold lately. So cold, in fact, that all of the politicians have been forced to walk around with their hands in their OWN pockets. Ha!

Actually it's been cold enough that one of the biggest problems for cool weather cyclists is having your glasses fog up/freeze up when you ride. This is especially true if you wear a balaclava (ski mask) or scarf that channels your warm moist breath upwards toward your eyes. So how to you thwart this?

There are several recipes for fighting foggy glasses on cold days. If this is a problem for you, why not try this:

1. Ivory Soap Rubbed On The Lenses

ivory soap

Take a bit of Ivory bar soap and rub it lightly on the lenses, then buff with a dry soft cloth designed for use with the lens material. Glycerin soap also works for this purpose.  In both cases, the slightly slippery coating helps keep water molecules from clinging to the surface.

2. Use a Commercial Anti-Fogging Agent

steamed up glasses sm
Soren Hald/Digital Vision
Try using a commercial anti-fogging agent such as Fogtech, Cat Crap (no, really, that's its name) or Speedo. Many of these were developed for snow skiers, but, frankly, in my experience, however, none of these solutions have been particularly effective though once you get ten or more degrees below freezing.

3. Filter for Balaclava Mouth Opening

Winter bike people outside
Michael Blann - Digital Vision/Getty Images

Another solution offered by an experienced cyclist is to take a piece of HEPA filter from a vacuum cleaner (used, not new!) and make a sleeve for it then put it flat inside your balaclava where your mouth is. 

Available from your local hardware store in pieces about 4x10 inches, you cut it into a piece about 2x3 inches. This solves a lot of problems by supressing the air from your glasses and face. No wet balaclava and no more fogged-up glasses.

When you are done riding, you can wash the filter piece with your clothes in the washer.  Let air dry after that.

4. Use Ski Goggles

Ski goggles
One solution you might consider is to switch to ski goggles when it is really cold. The goggles are sealed and won't have the same problems with fogging up as ordinary glasses or sunglasses.
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5. Consider Giving Up Your Balaclava

balaclava

Most of the time, foggy/frozen glasses are caused by your hot breath hitting the cool lenses, causing the water droplets to freeze on the glass. Here's an option for you, but this is where it gets really tough. You may consider giving up your balaclava (ski mask) and solve a lot of this problem. Will a scarf wrapped around the lower part of your face work instead? It's essentially a choice between having a warm face or clear glasses.

6. Positioning of Glasses and Balaclava

Balaclava glasses
Anabananasplit/Flickr

Many cyclists notice that their problems with foggy glasses are most significant when they slow significantly or have to stop altogether.  If you need to stop for any period of time, such as waiting at a light, try pushing your glasses down your nose or removing them completely until riding again. It is important to maintain a flow of air between your lenses and your face.  You can also try adjusting your balaclava, moving the material that covers your mouth and/or nose up or down to help channel the exhaled air away from your lenses.

7. Reroute Your Exhaled Air

snorkel
Deborah Jaffe/Digital Vision
One final option: a cyclist I know said he experimented with exhaling through a cut-off snorkel that pointed down under his jacket. He said it worked better than the anti-fog lens treatment but I'm still not sure if he was pulling my leg or not with this "solution."
Related Video
Winter Style: Clothing Tips for Cold Weather
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