How to Clean and Care for Your Ski GogglesPublished on 10/24/2022 · 8 min readBeing able to see clearly on the slopes is a must! Get the most life out of your goggles with these care, maintenance, repair, and storage tips!
Snowboarder Rob Roethler. Photo by Camron Zavell
There’s a common problem we all deal with as snow sport athletes. Fogging, scratches, frayed straps…ski goggles present so many issues on and off the slopes. Fortunately, a lot of these issues can either be prevented or remedied with some simple goggle care. Below, I’ll dive into some common issues and ways to prevent or fix them, and additionally, I’ll debunk (or at least advise against) some myths and bad advice that I’ve seen others recommend online.
Preventing Foggy Goggles
If I had a nickel for every time my goggles fogged up on the slopes…
There’s really no other way to put it, other than…foggy goggles suck. It happens to all of us, and there really is no foolproof, fix-all method to prevent fog from happening, but here are a few tips to keep your vision crystal clear and fog-free.
- Keep Your Goggles Dry – This should be an obvious one. Wet goggles + cold air + body heat = foggy goggles. Keeping them dry to begin with is one surefire way to keep them clear.
- Clear the Tops/Vents – Goggles are built with vents on the very top of the frames. These allow air to flow out through the top instead of steaming up the lenses. Keeping the vents clear will certainly increase your chances of keeping moisture out and your goggles fog-free. Make sure to keep the top area of the goggles clear of snow or your hat. Being sure to pick goggles that are compatible to the shape of your helmet is really important here as choosing a helmet that blocks the vents will cause fogging more often. Additionally, choosing goggles that do not fit the helmet can result in blocked vents as well.
- Take Care When Cleaning – This might sound odd at first, but it makes sense when you think about it. Many goggles are designed with anti-fog films or anti-fog coatings inside of the lens, and even just wiping them with a cloth can ruin this feature by removing or smudging them. Remember, it is always better to blot goggles dry than it is to wipe them dry. This same care should be applied to the outer lens as well, which is vulnerable to fingerprints and/or scratches when wiped dry.
- Quality Counts – I always say that you should splurge on ski/snowboard boots, because if your feet aren’t comfortable, then you won’t last very long on the slopes. I think this should also be true about goggles, because if you can’t see where you’re going, that’s just a recipe for disaster. In most cases, higher-end goggles will be better designed, better equipped (think anti-fog technology), and more comfortable than a cheaper pair. Oakley and Smith are both really reputable brands that are known for making quality goggles.
- Have Spare Goggles or a Spare Lens – Many goggles these days will come with a spare lens. If you’re lucky, you own a pair that holds lenses in place using magnets that are easy to switch on when you’re on the chairlift. If your lenses get wet, pop in an alternate lens if you can, and allow the other one to dry out back in its bag, back at the lodge, or both. The magnetic lenses are great because you can snap them on and off easily while riding the chairlift.
- Products – If your budget doesn’t allow for a high-end pair of goggles or an alternate lens, then consider using an anti-fog product like Cat Crap (yes, you read right). Cat Crap is one of my favorite anti-fog products and is available on Amazon for about $10. There are also other similar products available, such as anti-fog sprays. Cat Crap and other similar products are great for keeping cheaper goggles without anti-fog films from fogging up.
Cleaning Your Goggles
Keeping goggles clean and cleaning them properly significantly helps to keep them looking doper for longer and also helps prevent them from fogging up. It’s important to emphasize here that cleaning them correctly is very important, as you can seriously ruin goggles by thinking they can be wiped with any fabric in any ordinary way. Here's how to clean them properly:
- Use the Goggle Bag – This comes with your goggles for a reason. Use it. The goggle bag is designed to keep the goggles from scratching while in your bag or pocket and it also helps to keep them dry.
- Air Dry/Shake – If your goggles get wet, it’s best to see if you can just shake off the excess water or blow on them before attempting to physically touch the goggles to dry them. If you don’t touch them, they can’t be scratched, smudged, or damaged from any sort of wiping motion. The air dry method can also be used if your goggles accumulate dust during the off-season, which of course won't happen because you're keeping them safely in their bag!
- Blot, Don’t Wipe, and Use a Microfiber Cloth – If shaking won’t dry off your goggles, use a microfiber cloth to dab or blot your lens dry, and be as gentle as possible. This is the best way to dry the lenses because you will not be removing the anti-fog film with friction. Making sure this film stays intact is a great way to keep your goggles fog-free long term.
- Don’t Use a Rag or Glove – Make sure to use a microfiber cleaning cloth. Other materials like cotton or using your glove to dry the lenses, will be much more likely to scratch or damage lenses because they are too rough.
How to Repair Your Goggles
Below, you will find tips on how to repair damages on all parts of your ski goggles.
The best way to fix scratches is to not scratch them. Protect them at all costs and if they do get scratched, consider getting a replacement lens. A few little scratches won’t affect the performance too much, and you might be tempted to use a polish, dish soap, or even toothpaste to repair them. These tricks rarely work and almost always just make the lens condition worse by further damaging it. Having a few other lenses you can alternate in are also great for those times you do get a really big scratch.
A cracked frame happens more often with stiffer frames that don’t flex with impact. The safest option is to buy a new pair. But if this isn’t possible, you can use super glue or an epoxy resin to mend the break until you can buy a replacement set. Super glue is easier to use. Epoxy, which is a reactive adhesive, will bind with the frame material at a more basic level, creating a stronger bond than glue can create.
Super glue is great for repairing loose foam padding.
Using a sharp knife or a razor and carefully running it across the strap can usually remove most of the fuzz that generates the more they’re worn. If the buckle breaks, it’s best to seek out a replacement strap. Replacement straps are typically available from all goggle brands and are usually very reasonably priced.
Storage and General Care
Use the Case or Bag
As I said above, goggles come with bags and cases because they should be used. Keeping your goggles in their provided bag or case when they’re not in use will help protect them from scratches. This is especially true if you toss them in a gym bag or backpack at the end of the day or keep them in your pocket. Once you've put them back in their bag or case, be sure to place them in a safe place where they will not be crushed.
Make Sure They Are Dry
Making sure your goggles are dry is a great way to prevent mold or mildew from growing on them, in addition to keeping them fog-free and smelling fresh. The best thing to do is to leave them out to air dry before packing them up.
Have a Spare/Spare Lens
Alternating lenses will spread out the wear and tear. Additionally, if you do scratch a lens, then at least you’ll have a spare. Different color lenses are also better for certain light conditions. A clear and yellow lens for example is great in low-light scenarios like cloudy days or night skiing.
Don’t Take Them in the Hot Tub!
Here’s a picture of me and a friend ruining our goggles by wearing them in the hot tub on a trip in Crested Butte, CO. We do NOT recommend doing this!
Having goggles that allow you to see is obviously really important. The best thing to do is purchase a really good pair and handle them with care. Well-maintained, quality goggles can make all the difference on those days when the sun is too bright, when it’s dark out, and when the snow is absolutely dumping. Be sure to reach out and ask a Curated Ski or Snowboard Expert about the goggles they would most recommend for your needs!