How to Keep Shooting Glasses From Fogging Up

Picture this, you’re firing off a few rounds from your trusty pistol at an outdoor range. You’re wearing your favorite pair of shooting glasses, and you’re having a blast. It’s a rather hot day and after a few hours, you begin to sweat profusely. Soon after, your glasses begin to fog up, completely ruining your aim. This is a problem that we all face at one time or another. Not only is it super annoying, but it can also be dangerous! So how can you keep shooting glasses from fogging up? Let’s find out! First, let’s take a look into why glasses fog up in the first place.

Why Lenses Fog Up?

There’s a very simple reason why your glasses will fog up and ruin your day. You see, if the temperature of your glasses is colder than the heat coming from your face, your lenses will fog. This disparity in temperature causes what’s known as surface tension. This tension, in turn, formes heat and moisture. These tiny water droplets then attach to the glass in your lenses and form the fog. So in other words, it all comes down to:

#1 – The temperature of the environment

#2 – The levels of moisture in the air

Knowing this, we can understand why lenses fog under certain conditions. Basically, the colder it is outside, the easier it will be for your glasses to fog up. Let’s picture an example of this to illustrate. You’re on a long road trip to Aspen, Colorado. You have the heat on in your car, and your glasses aren’t fogged up at all.

The second you leave the car, however, the cold air hits your lenses. Thus, your glasses will become much colder than your face. According to the rule that we just went over, that means that fog will form! If you’re going to be shooting on a very cold day, you can expect to encounter this annoying issue.

Let’s look at some more conditions where lenses will fog up:

  • Shooting on a very humid day. Remember, lenses will fog due to not only temperature but also the levels of moisture in the air. Humidity is literally concentrated water vapor in the air! As such, you can expect your lenses to fog like crazy in especially humid conditions.
  • Shooting on a cold day. As previously mentioned, cold temperatures cause fog like nobody’s business.
Hunting in the cold
  • Rainy conditions. Once again, moisture levels! It doesn’t get wetter than rain, so fogging can definitely occur. Not only that, but the cold rain droplets can lower the temperature of your glasses even further.
Trap shooting in the rain
  • Overexertion. This is what happened in the example that we opened with. If you’ve been working hard, you’re raising the temperature of your body. You’re also sweating and releasing moisture into the air. From there, it’s hello fog city!
  • Certain clothing items. High-collar shirts, scarves, and bandanas can trap heat and moisture. As you can imagine, this leads to fogging!
  • Wearing your glasses too close to your face. Certain types of glasses will fit snug on your face. This can be bad for fogging, as it limits the amount of air that can travel between your glasses and face. This air is crucial because it can dissipate the heat emitted from your body. When there isn’t enough air, fogging can occur!

Okay, so now that we know what causes fogging, how can we prevent it? After all, fogging is not only annoying, but it can be seriously dangerous. If you’re driving, climbing, or shooting, you need crystal clear vision and awareness. Fogging can lead to mistakes and even serious accidents. Considering this, it’s important to arm yourself with some anti-fogging tools! First and foremost, let’s look at anti-fog coatings available on certain glasses.

Factory Anti-Fog Coatings and Their Effectiveness

Effectiveness: 3 – 6 months depending on usage and conditions

Many sunglasses and safety goggles will ship with an anti-fog coating. This is exactly as it sounds, a coating that prevents your lenses from fogging up. Sounds great! So all you need to do is get a pair of glasses with an anti-fog coating and you’ll never have to deal with fog again, right? Not exactly. You see, even the best anti-fog coatings are only temporary. They tend to last only a few months before becoming completely ineffective.

That doesn’t mean to say that they’re worthless, though! Quite the contrary. When they’re in effect, anti-fog coatings are the best defense for foggy lenses. They will keep your lenses clear 100% of the time thanks to their technology. So how do they work?

How do factory anti fog coatings work?

Well, they use hydrophilic coatings to maximize surface energy. Remember what we said earlier about surface tension? We said that two conflicting temperatures cause the release of heat and moisture. Well, the anti-fog coating essentially nullifies that tension. That way the water can spread out in sheets instead of droplets, thus dissipating the fog.

All right, now you should understand anti-fog coatings and how they work. But what should you do when their effectiveness wears off? That’s when it’s time to turn to home remedies and some helpful commercial products!

We sell a few shooting glasses and sets with antifog coatings:

Home Remedies for Fogging Lenses

Effectiveness: a few minutes to a few hours

Believe it or not, but you can stop your lenses from fogging using some everyday household items. While these are by no means a permanent solution, they will clear your lenses for at least a full day. This can be great when you know you’ll be shooting in cold or humid weather and don’t have a coating or spray on hand. Let’s take a look at the most common and effective methods!

  • Shaving cream. This is one that’s been around for a long time but for good reason. All you have to do is take a dap of shaving foam and apply it to both lenses. Rub it in evenly, and then wipe it off with a clean fabric. This will create a protective layer on your lenses that will prevent fog!
  • White soap. If you don’t have any shaving cream on hand, any type of soap will work. You can apply it the same way as the shaving foam. Rub it on evenly to both lenses, and then wipe it off. Why does this work? Well, for the same reason that anti-fog coating does! You see, the detergents in soap and shaving cream help reduce surface tension. This will spread the water out in sheets instead of droplets, eliminating the fog! Bear in mind that soap and shaving cream will only last for a few hours at most before wearing off.
  • Saliva/breath. While this is not recommended, it’s better than nothing. Spitting on your lenses and rubbing it can help reduce surface tension. It won’t be effective for long, but it might be what you need to get through whatever you’re doing. You can also breathe on your lenses to fog them up and wipe them off. However, this will only work for a few minutes at best. Not only that, but it involves you having to remove your glasses, which can be dangerous. It is also quite disgusting. Use it as a last resort only!
  • Adjusting your glasses. Earlier we mentioned that wearing your glasses too close to your face can cause fogging. The remedy is incredibly simple, pull them back farther! This can even help on a cold or humid day. If your glasses are farther away from your face, there’s more space for air to enter and dissipate your body heat.
  • Adjusting clothing/accessories. We also said that high-collar shirts and scarves could trap heat and moisture. The same also applies for layers of clothing. Unbuttoning your coat, wearing your scarf open, and lowering your collar can help! If you’re having trouble with fogging and can’t figure out why then stop and take a long hard look at what you have on! One of your clothing items may be the culprit.

So there you have some useful home remedies to try out if you’re in a pinch. Some soap or shaving cream may just save your life in a tight situation! Okay, now let’s look into some commercial products that can help you combat the fog!

Longer-term Commercial Products for Foggy Lenses

Effectiveness: a few hours to a few days

So your anti-fog coating wore off, and you don’t feel like spitting on your lenses like a barbarian. That means it’s time to hit the store and find some helpful products to use! Of which, there are many. Here are some of the most useful ones that you’ll find:

  • Anti-fog sprays. A good spray should grant you a full day fog-free. They’re also very simple to use. Spray on both sides of your lenses, and let them dry. After that, use a clean dry cloth to wipe them off. If you’re constantly shooting in cold or humid environments, carrying spray is a must!

  • Anti-fog gel. Similar to spray, anti-fog gels can be a lifesaver in the field. They will last about a day or so after applying. To do so, apply to both lenses, let dry, and wipe off.

  • Anti-fog wipes. There are also anti-fog wipes available. They will last several hours and are easy to use. However, bear in mind that they are one-use only. If you try to reuse it even one time, it won’t work at all.

  • Anti-fog balms. These are the most long-term solution. A good balm can last a couple of days. They’re easy to apply and are also very effective.

Breaking it Down

All right, so we’ve covered a lot so far. Let’s break down what we’ve learned.

  • Fogging occurs from drastic changes in temperature or moisture. Cold and humid environments are the main culprits for fogging up lenses.
  • Anti-fog coatings are amazing but will only last a few months. After that, their effectiveness is completely gone.
  • Home remedies such as shaving cream are great to use in a pinch.
  • Commercial remedies are more effective but still won’t last forever. Balms are your best bet for longevity.

In short, nobody likes dealing with fog. As long as you follow this guide, you should have enough knowledge to prevent this ever happening to you! Do you have a favorite anti-fog treatment? Let us know in the comments below!

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