Maintaining your swim goggles is an essential duty for a swimmer, even more so for an open-water swimmer. It directly impacts your ability to sight. A goggle that is fogging can impact your swim distance and effort severely. A simple maintenance routine can save you a lot of hassle.
Free and Effective: Spit
Spit in the dry goggles, rub the spit in, (take care to spit in only "saliva", no ‘snot’ should be spat onto the lenses), rinse the goggles in clean water, now do not touch the inside of the goggles... you’ve got yourselves goggles are fog-free at least for 45mins to an hour & 'for free'!
Off The Shelf: Toothpaste
Use Colgate or any other plain white toothpaste, rub it on the inside of the goggle lenses, rinse the goggles in clean water, now do not touch the inside of the goggles... your goggles are fog-free for a swim training session or two, at least!
Lasting Effect: Detergent/Baby Shampoo
Although I’ve tried the two methods above quite successfully, the best ‘fog-free effect’ and the most ‘long-lasting effect’, discovered by me one or two months back, is by the following process!
Clean goggles with any detergent / dishwash liquid to make the goggle lenses oil-free. (I like to use Amway "Pursue") Air-dry/drip-dry them totally. Now once the lenses are dry, put a drop of any “transparent” shampoo / dish-washing liquid in to the lenses so that it coats the inside of the lens. I prefer to use Johnsons “no-more-tears” baby shampoo cause it doesn’t burn your eyes even if you’ve not rinsed the goggles properly and a wee bit is left inside the lenses. (actually ratified by an MD opthal friend)
The key is that you let the shampoo ‘rest’ on the lenses for half an hour to an hour, and then rinse the goggle in clean fresh water. Take care not to rub the lenses as the intention is to leave a thin film (of a few microns) on the lenses. Leave the goggles untouched to dry on their own, now-onwards, DO NOT TOUCH the insides of the lenses. Before your swim just wet the goggle lenses / rinse them, in clean water (never touching the insides). Viola... fog-free goggles!
In case I forget this elaborate ritual, which I do many a time, I just rub in Baby shampoo before I swim at the pool deck, then rinse the goggles in clean water when I shower... it STILL WORKS almost as good!
How do you refurbish your old swim goggles (minor scratches)?
The following comes with a caveat that you TRY IT out AT YOUR OWN RISK on very expensive swimming goggles. I’ve tried it on non-mirrored goggles of less than Rs. 1000/- value.
Apply a white toothpaste (not a gel... the white one, say like a Colgate) to both, the inside and outside surface of the goggle lenses. Polish it off with a soft cloth rubbing in small circular motion.
Repeat step one with some baking soda if the lenses are damaged a lot. I’ve found that dental cleaners like “Mukta chamak” work fantastic for this step.
Repeat the second step twice... but on the second time let the toothpaste and Mukta chamak coating dry almost completely on the lense. Buff with a very soft cloth.
On the goggle (preferably dry) sprinkle some “Mukta chamak” (or very finely ground soda bicarb) and with a very soft cloth, buff off the lenses.
Once buffed, wash the goggles thoroughly using a good dishwash liquid. Let it dry.
Apply a few drops of “Johnson’s baby shampoo” to both the inside and outside of the lenses. Let it dry a bit... buff off the shampoo layer with very soft tissue paper. Repeat if necessary.
Not only will the lenses become slightly clearer, they’ll fog less too!