We’ve all been victims of foggy glasses, even if we don’t wear specs regularly. Especially in the summertime, walking outdoors with a pair of glasses on immediately steams the lenses making it virtually impossible for you to see anything in front of you.
Your car is another danger zone for fog. Entering your car on a cold day can cause condensation (aka fog) to form on your windows simply from your own breath.
One solution to the fog problem is to use anti-fog wipes. These wipes are designed to help keep surfaces like car windows and glasses from fogging under conditions that normally cause fog to occur.
Let’s look deeper at what causes fog to happen, how anti-fog wipes work, and whether or not they’re worth the investment.
What Causes Fog on Surfaces?
Surfaces fog because of temperature differences and moisture levels in the air.
Science lesson check-in: The surface of your glasses is cool (literally and metaphorically). When you walk into a hot environment, the temperature of your glasses causes the air immediately surrounding your glasses to reach its dew point, creating water vapor.
That water vapor collects in droplets on your glasses, causing them to fog.
The same happens in your car. If it’s cold outside when you enter your car, your breath can create moisture in the air. As your car gets warmer, the humidity from your breath will reach its dew point, creating fog on your car windows.
How Do Anti-Fog Wipes Work?
Anti-fog wipes work by coating a surface with a chemical designed to make it harder for water vapor to collect in large droplets.
Anti-fog chemicals create a change in the surface tension of your glasses or windows, so the condensation that forms is less visible; we’re talking microscopic droplets of water vapor instead of large, fog-forming droplets.
These chemicals create a surface that makes water form in a non-scattering pattern instead of droplets. These chemicals were first developed by NASA so that astronauts could successfully walk on the moon without their breath fogging their helmets.
These types of chemical agents are safe for use in wipe form but can also be used to treat lenses for permanent anti-fog protection.
Do Anti-Fog Wipes on Your Car?
Anti-fog wipes are similar to baby wipes. They are pre-moistened wipes that are available to temporarily treat surfaces that normally fog. These wipes contain anti-fog chemicals that change the surface tension to prevent fog, but only for about half an hour.
Even wipes that are tested to work for longer than half an hour tend to lose their effectiveness in a much shorter time frame. Most anti-fog wipes are also very small and designed to be used on smaller surfaces, like devices or eyeglasses.
The reason why wipes also don’t work very well on your car is that the surface of your windows and windshield are too large. The amount of anti-fog chemicals in a small wipe isn’t enough to cover a surface that large.
Additionally, when your windows fog in your car, the surface that fogs is on the exterior, not the interior. If you attempt to use anti-fog wipes on the exterior of your car, you’ll likely spread dirt and grime onto your window, rendering it more difficult to see.
If you treat the exterior of your car window with an anti-fog wipe, you’ll also have to remember that as you drive, you’ll come in contact with external elements that could affect the way the anti-fog chemicals perform. Things like rain, wind, and dirt can all affect the way your chemical anti-fogging agent works on your windshield.
Do Anti-Fog Wipes Work for Glasses?
Anti-fog wipes were designed to be used on your specs. If you are in a situation that will cause your glasses to fog, you can quickly treat them with an anti-fog wipe to prevent it from happening.
The problem with anti-fog wipes is that they are a fast, quick-fix solution for a short-term problem. If you don’t deal with your glasses fogging very often, using a wipe can be a great way to keep your glasses clear short term.
If, however, you work with glasses that continually fog, you’ll likely need a more permanent solution than using a short-term wipe.
Cons of Using Anti-Fog Wipes
Anti-fog wipes are a great short-term solution, but for the long term, you’ll need something else.
Here’s what you should consider when using anti-fog wipes:
- They are temporary. You’ll only get about 30 minutes of anti-fog protection per wipe. This means you’ll need to use more wipes to keep your glasses fog-free.
- They aren’t cost-effective. If you need to keep your glasses free from fog continually, you’ll end up using numerous packages of wipes. At about $1.50 per pack, the cost can add up quickly (which can really eat into your coffee budget).
They take you away from your work. Every time you need to stop to use an anti-fog wipe on your glasses, you’ll have to take a break from your work and remove your glasses. If you work with safety glasses, this could compromise your safety by transferring materials to and from your glasses and exposing your eyes to hazards while you are cleaning your lenses.
You’ll also be distracted from your work, which can cause mistakes, take additional time, and cause you to lose focus more frequently.
Anti-fog wipes are convenient in a pinch, but for a better solution, glasses with anti-fog lenses are the best option.
Anti Fog Glasses
If you need a permanent solution for a long-term fog problem, your best option is to use anti-fog glasses. Anti-fog glasses use the same type of technology that anti-fog wipes use. The lenses of anti-fog glasses are treated with anti-fog chemicals that keep them from fogging long term.
Anti-fog glasses allow you to continue working through any situation without being fog-blinded and without stopping your work to treat your lenses with an anti-fog wipe.
Here’s what you can expect with an anti-fog style pair of eyeglasses:
- Work without disruption. Whether you work in a hot environment or are continually moving from indoors to outdoors, anti-fog glasses will prevent you from having to disrupt your work to wipe your glasses free from fog.
- Stay safe during projects. Using safety glasses that are also anti-fog are perfect for use during projects because they allow you to stay focused on your work. Work distractions account for numerous accidents and injuries. Staying focused, especially when you are working on a hazardous project, is essential for workplace safety.
- You’ll save money. The upfront investment of a pair of anti-fog safety glasses is minimal, and they pay for themselves within just a few weeks of use. With an anti-fog wipe, you’ll continually need to pay for supplies.
You’ll always have anti-fog glasses on hand. No matter when you need anti-fog protection, you’ll always have it with anti-fog glasses. You’ll never need to put off a project or task to buy more wipes.
- You’ll look stylish. Safety is essential, but so is style.
For a long-term solution for a seriously foggy problem, anti-fog glasses are the perfect choice.
Slogging Through Fog
Are anti-fog wipes effective? Yes, but only short-term, and you definitely won’t want to try to use them on your car windows! If you deal with glasses that fog consistently, using a pair of anti-fog glasses (or two!) is the best way to get clearer vision.