How to Keep Your Face Mask from Fogging Up Your Glasses

We've talked to glasses and mask-wearing experts to find out why glasses fog up when wearing a face mask.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

If you wear glasses (or sunglasses) and you’ve been staying safe during COVID-19 by wearing a mask, you’ve discovered every glasses-wearing healthcare workers’ biggest annoyance: fogged-up glasses. You’re just trying to breathe like normal and suddenly you can’t see. We’ve talked to glasses and mask-wearing experts to find out why this happens, and they gave tips and tricks on how to stop this from happening to you.

Why do your glasses fog up?

Wearing masks isn’t the only time glasses-wearers have experienced sudden fogged lenses. Drinking a hot beverage, or walking out into a cold winter day is well-known to cause this phenomenon. So why do masks have the same effect?

“As we wear masks, our warm breath will land on the cool lenses of our glasses, this then creates condensation or fog and may prevent you from seeing what you are doing. You may have noticed this also happens when you wear glasses with a scarf in the winter or when you open an oven door,” Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, told Reader’s Digest.

Armine Ghalachyan, MD, agrees. “Glasses fog up when wearing a face mask because exhaled warm air from breathing escapes through the top edge of the mask and causes condensation on glasses. This is similar to a window or mirror fogging up when you breathe on them,” Ghalachyan of My Mask Saves Lives said. Here are all the times you do—and don’t—have to wear a mask. If any of those correspond with when you’ll need your glasses, you’ll want to take note of these tips and tricks.

How to stop your glasses from fogging up

So how do you stop them from fogging up? “There are different recommendations for reducing or preventing fogging such as using anti-fogging sprays, washing glasses with soapy water, and applying shaving cream on the glasses. Most of these solutions help to prevent condensation on glasses,” Dr. Ghalachyan says.

It sounds simple, but how does that work?

Anti-fogging spray

The anti-fogging spray is exactly what it sounds like, and there are lots of different brands so it is fairly easy to find. (We like this one on Amazon.) It works by creating a shield between the glass and your warm breath—or whatever else is trying to fog up those lenses—and stops the condensation from sticking to the glass. Many of these sprays double as a cleaner so you can keep your glasses clean and fog-free with one simple step.

Buy Now

Soapy water or shaving cream

You may have heard of this trick before. It’s a classic because it works so well. Dab a few drops of dish soap on your lenses and use a cloth dipped in warm or hot water to scrub them clean. The soap works just like a fogging spray and provides a clear film over the glass that will keep it from fogging up.

Shaving cream works similarly and some people swear by it, but our editors found that some streaks were visible with certain brands and preferred both the spray and the soap trick. This isn’t all your household staples can do. Here are 42 extraordinary uses for things you have around the house.

Poor-fitting mask

These are all great solutions to the symptoms of the problem, but to address the real reason your glasses are fogging over, you may need to look at the mask itself. “Fogging of glasses is an indication of poor fit of the mask, specifically, along the upper edge. It is essential for the mask to fit tightly at the upper edge of the mask to prevent air from escaping and fogging up glasses,” Dr. Ghalachyan told Reader’s Digest. “A flexible nose piece, similar to the metal strips used in medical masks, could be added to the homemade masks to help create a better fit at the upper edge. The piece should be flexible enough to be shaped around the bridge of the nose and strong enough to hold the shape and keep the mask edge tight against the skin.”

No, you don’t need to get your mask tailored or buy a special fitted product, Dr. Ghalachyan recommended looking around your house for the tools you need. “Plastic-covered flexible ties attached to coffee bags might be the best option. These are usually flat and sufficiently flexible and strong.” A strip of foam, batting, or fleece that’s sewn into the top of your mask may also do the trick.  Need to restock? Here’s where you can still find reusable face masks.

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for RD.com since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.