Windowed Mask: What the fog? Plus DIY solutions!
I received an overwhelming number of positive feedback after launching the Windowed Mask. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the shares, likes, comments, purchases, and kind words this product has received. I am grateful for your words of appreciation. Thank you for taking the time and keeping me motivated!
Now onto the nitty-gritty! The most frequently asked question that I get about this mask is whether or not the window fogs up. And I want to be completely transparent (pun intended) with you: yes the window does fog, unfortunately. I've looked into anti-fog plastics and they are just too expensive to incorporate into my mask at this time. I've also looked into skin-safe anti-fog sprays that were designed for athletic use such as swim goggles. And while there are some good ones in the market, these products needed to be applied before every use. I didn't think it was practical to ask non-swimmers to buy an additional product just to use my mask. So I decided to look into DIY solutions that involve materials that most people would have at home.
Based on a couple of quick Google search, I found a few at-home tricks swimmers would use to prevent/reduce google fog. The most popular trick was to use their own saliva by spitting into their goggles. For obvious reasons, I am not about to recommend for people to spit into their masks during a global pandemic. Another trick was to rub certain hygiene products into your goggles and wipe off the excess without rinsing. These products could include shaving cream, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.
The reason this works is that those products contain surfactants. Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of water. In hygiene products, surfactants are used as foaming agents, emulsifiers, dispersing agents, and even anti-fog agents!
I conducted a not-at-all-scientific experiment by rubbing the following skin-safe products onto the windows, wiping the excess without rinsing, and placing them on top of mugs of warm tap water, product side down:
- Green toothpaste with added mouthwash (I'm purposely avoiding using brand names, by the way)
- White toothpaste
- Tearless baby shampoo and body wash
- Liquid hand soap
- Olive oil
Another product that I read about swimmers using is shaving cream. I do not have shaving cream in the house so I didn't include that in my experiment. I also had a control piece of plastic that had nothing on it to use as a comparison. I left the mugs covered for about 10 minutes.
The results speak for themselves. The control, olive oil, and beeswax fogged up quite a bit, while the toothpastes and soaps remained clear.
- Control: This simulates how your window would look if you applied absolutely nothing on it. Everyone will get a visual cue that you've been talking moistly.
- Green toothpaste: You do see a bit of smudging on the window, but that's mostly from the product itself. It was sticky to apply and wipe off. There was the tiniest bit of moisture, and not a whole lot of fog.
- White toothpaste: Unlike the green toothpaste, the white one wasn't annoyingly sticky. You get a barely noticeable amount of residue when you apply and wipe off, but it won't be noticeable to those around you. There was the tiniest bit of moisture, and the plastic was still quite clear. This is actually the method I've been using every time I wear my mask while running quick errands.
- Baby wash: The window was clear, but there was quite a bit of moisture that it made looking through the window look a little blurry.
- Hand soap: The window was clear with a little bit of moisture.
- Olive oil: Awful, foggy, wet mess. Water and oil don't mix.
- Beeswax: I applied the beeswax by rubbing a piece against the window. Even before placing the window on top of the mug, the beeswax made the window visibly waxy from the start. The fog made the streaks even more obvious. Plus, it was a lot harder to wash off. I needed to scrape it off the plastic.
Too long, didn't read: summary
One way to prevent/reduce fog is to apply a little bit of hygiene product (toothpaste, soap, or shampoo) onto the window and wipe it off without rinsing. The hygiene products resulted in a fairly clear window in my experiment, with varying levels of condensation. White toothpaste was the winner and my favourite product to use. It had the least amount of streaks and fog with the least amount of condensation.
I think a better experiment would be to actually try each of these products while going out and about in an actual mask. But I actually don't leave the house enough to do that. So in the meantime, this crude mug experiment will have to do.
Do any of you use anti-fogging tricks on your windowed-masks or even your goggles? Let me know!