Anti-fog Helmet Visor Tip

In some biker magazines you’ll see some cheap journalists write that the “dish washing soap anti-fog is an urban myth”, and that it will “blur your vision”, some may even say it’s downright dangerous. This blogpost is to show that if done right, dish washing soap is actually the absolute best anti-fog treatment money can buy. If you’ve tried this and still don’t like it, there are some easier alternatives at the bottom for your convenience.

Why this post
The Netherlands. A damp and cold country where even the most high-tech coated visors fog up at the most inconvenient moments. Particulary at the start of this season it was terrible. Because of the longer and colder than normal winter, I was very eager to get on the bike early. As soon as the snow was gone, I was riding. Because I forgot to take care of the visor, it fogged up. Badly.

I went out to find ways of preventing the fogging up of the visor. A friend told me that pinlock works, but when the airtight seal is gone, you’re in deep trouble. It also adds extra layers of Lexan, meaning more glare. Then, @CityJohn pointed me to FogTech wipes. I ordered a few at Visorvision, and got them very promptly (customer service is A-ok at Visorvision, thanks again Paul!). The wipes work as advertised and add almost unvisible glare to the visor. Good value for money, but the wipes themselves dry out quickly. To keep the effect you have to re-apply the coat, but you will rarely find yourself using the same wipe twice. Not that the price is a problem, but it may become a burden on roadtrips.

To my surprise, I found a longer lasting solution on my kitchen sink. I heard of the dish washing soap tip before but never actively tried it. To my surprise, with a little care, you can coat the inside of your helmet with this stuff, it will be invisible, and will stay on for at least a week. Even better: your visor will actually become clearer when you breathe against it.

Before you do anything: Check if your visor has a special coating. If this is the case, you are probably better off just cleaning it according to the owners manual. If you’re not sure, try this stuff on a small unused part of the visor.

Step 1: Clean your visor

The clean visor should fog up evenly when breathing against it

Before applying any product to your visor, you need to carefully clean it. Taking the visor off and washing it with a soft detergent is probably best. On the road this can be a bit more problematic, so you might want to consider taking a damp sponge with you in a watertight bag, and some dry wipes.

You can test if your visor is clean by breathing on it. If it fogs up nice and evenly, it’s clean enough for the next step.

Step 2: Apply (very little!) dishwashing soap
Take a soft rag (cotton t-shirt or such) and put a small  drop of washing up liquid on it. The less you apply, the easier the final step will be.

The Magic Stuff

Apply a very small drop of detergent on a soft rag to the inside of the visor.

After applying, your visor now looks somewhat smudgy, like this.

Step 3: Buffing
Take a new, clean, soft rag and gently rub the inside of your visor. You’ll see the detergent disappear, and the visor will become clear. As soon as the visor is clear, stop. You don’t want to remove all the detergent.

Buff the inside of the visor with a clean soft rag

Stop when you think it's clear enough

The result. No visible traces of detergent, clear vision for at least a week.

Now try it. Put your helmet on, close the visor and breathe on it like your neighbors dog after a run in the park. It will not fog up. Nice huh? Imagine how many coats you can do with one bottle of dish washing soap? And you don’t even have to take it on the road trip, because every household, hotel or grocery store will have this!

Advanced tips:

  1. After a while, very small dirt particles from your breath will attach to the detergent. This can be seen as a light mist, like you also see on the inside of the windshield of your car. You can re-buff the inside of the visor at least once before re-applying the soap, but it has to be absolutely dry before buffing.
  2. When you are riding, you might notice you didn’t buff the inside quite enough. If it bothers you too much, breathe against your visor to clear it up. Yes, with soap on the visor it will actually become clearer when breathing against it.
  3. If you don’t have the time to do all this, and are going for quick-and-easy, I’d recommend the FogTech wipes, as mentioned earlier.

Ride safely.

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4 Responses to Anti-fog Helmet Visor Tip

  1. Hi Rolf,

    thanks for your kind words about Fogtech and Visorvision.

    I have to offer a word of caution about cleaning visors with anything other than water and a little mild soap – the kitchen wipes you use here may leave a visor sparkling clean, but they will almost certainly degrade the anti-shatter and anti-scratch properties of most EC22.05 compliant visors.

    I’d be very careful recommending the use of them to others people.

    Ask any Arai dealer what happens if you clean any of the plastic parts on an Arai using baby wipes (which are way less chemically agressive than kitchen wipes) and you’ll get an answer that will shock you. They might even poke a pen through your visor to prove the point.

    Take care, and bear in mind that visor care can’t always be done from the kitchen cupboard!

  2. rolfje says:

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the tip on the kitchen wipes, I wasn’t aware of that. I removed that statement from the blogpost, leaving only the “mild detergent” bit. Mind you this post isn’t so much about the kitchen sink, but about getting your visor fog-free with a product (any product) that works. I’ve spent too much cash on products that don’t work, and this is my way to help others not to spend that cash. For instance: “Xeramic Helmet Visor Cleaner spraycan”, hugely expensive, was sold to me as anti-fog product. Needless to say it doesn’t work.

    I’ve tried quite a few products and spend some good money on them, and the FogTech wipes were the first and only product that actually lived up to my expectations, and at a good (low) price, too.

    The dish washing trick takes well over a minute, where the FogTech wipes get this done in under 8 seconds. It’s a matter of preference and availability I guess.

    Thanks for your help and input, get those FogTech wipes at all petrol stations in Europe and nobody will complain about fogged up visors again ;-)

    Cheers,
    Rolf

  3. [...] to rub soap on the inside of the goggle to create a surface that water vapor can’t adhere to. See http://rolfje.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/anti-fog-helmet-visor-tip/ for more information. Anyway, always keep the goggles on when in the workshop, even when tools [...]

  4. Aj says:

    Came across this article about a month ago, but needed to act now (winter has started here where I live). Kudos to you. This works. Works very well. I can now long burp from within my helmet :D

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