You can prevent snorkel mask fogging; it is not difficult to stop, and it is important for enjoyment. Because how many times have you found yourself snorkeling along and realized you were cranking your head to the side to try and see out of the one spot on your snorkel mask that wasn't foggy? What a pain.
Well, it does not have to be that way. If you do things right you should rarely have any fogging in your mask, just crystal clear vision.
You may be surprised to learn that the number one reason for a foggy mask is a dirty mask. The moisture forming inside your mask has to attach to something. That something is dirt specks and oils. Moisture cannot easily attach on a very clean mask. With a clean mask the moisture sheets down and collects at the bottom instead of fogging.
Moisture also can attach to the microscopic imperfections in the glass. That is why anti-fog, baby shampoo or spit works. They act as surfactants that reduce the surface tension of the condensing water, making it less likely to cling to the glass.
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No, we do not mean you give up hope and throw your mask into a fire. New masks sometimes come with a layer of silicone grease on the inside of the glass. That silicone attracts water vapor, causing fogging, and may not be easy to clean off. So if the steps above do not work for you, and you have a tempered glass mask (don't try this with a plastic mask), then you may need to have your mask burned for you at a dive shop to prevent snorkel mask fogging. This is a process where someone uses a lighter or matches to burn away any coatings of silicone. You can see it being done in the video below. Obviously lots can go wrong doing this, like breaking your mask because of too much heat, burning your silicone skirt or yourself, so let a pro do it.
We use a simple solution of mild shampoo and water to prevent snorkel mask fogging.
But Stream2Sea now makes a reef-friendly Mask Defog that we will test in the future and report about in our newsletter. Stream2Sea is the same great company that makes the best snorkeling sunscreen that is reef-friendly that we use.
Also available is Gear Aid Sea Gold but follow their instructions carefully. That is not a product you use before each time you get in the water, and you do not want to get any of it in your eyes. JAWS Quick Spit Anti Fog is another product that is biodegradable, and is both a cleaner and anti-fog.
One of the marketing features of a full face mask is that it stops fogging, because air flow is directed across the lens of the mask as you breathe in. Well, we have found that every full face mask we have used can still fog up. They still need to be cleaned to help prevent this problem, but more carefully, because they nearly all have plastic lenses, instead of glass. And if the plastic gets scratched inside it will increase fogging problems.
One final important tip to prevent snorkel mask fogging. Condensation happens when the temperature of the glass is lower than the air inside the mask. Basically that happens when you go from a hot environment to a cold environment. So when you have had your face in the water, and then come up and face the sun, the hothouse effect warms the air inside, and then when you plunge it back into the colder water the glass will quickly cool, and condensation will form. So when you are sitting up in the water to talk with your partner, or when you first put your mask on, make a habit of turning your back to the sun.
We have shared how to prevent snorkel mask fogging for years in our eBook snorkeling guides. And many people have told us that by following these steps they have noticed a big improvement in stopping foggy snorkel mask problems.