Once you experience a bad case of motorcycle helmet fogging, you immediately understand just how dangerous it can be. It’s not a slight annoyance. It’s the kind of problem you only let happen once (and probably why you’re reading this right now).
Motorcycle helmet condensation obscures your vision and slows down your reaction time (1). Of course, you can wear as much safety gear as possible. But without a clear picture of what’s happening on the road around you, you’re in serious trouble.
Unfortunately, motorcycle helmet fogging can become a recurring problem. Even top-of-the-range visors are susceptible to fogging up. Poor ventilation on the inside of your visor is part of riding and condensation is likely to form.
We all know that motorcycles are not as safe as traveling by car (3). As enthusiasts, we may try not to look too deep into the statistics out there. For us, the joy of riding outweighs the greater risks involved.
“Riding a bike is like an art, something you do because you feel something inside.”
But that doesn’t mean we can’t try and make it as safe as possible. Learning how to stop helmet visor fogging is a godsend for riders. So, what are the best ways to prevent motorcycle helmet fogging?
Fog Prevention Options
Open the vents or visor for improved airflow
Most anti-fog motorcycle helmets come with vents for airflow. These help reduce the temperature inside the helmet and allow moisture to escape. Ensure as many vents as possible are open before going out on your bike – that will help reduce condensation.
Another tactic is to open the visor while riding, letting in the fresh air. However, this can solve the problem by creating another one, with the visor offering less protection from wind and rain. Something especially problematic for riders who wear glasses.
A quick temporary fix can be to open your visor whenever you make a stop, at traffic lights, for example. This refresh of air inside the helmet can clear the visor, but it doesn’t stop the underlying issue. Condensation will continue to build up once closed again.
Use a pin lock visor
Pin lock technology is a popular solution to motorcycle helmet fogging. It is essentially a second visor fitted to the inside of the primary visor, forming an airtight seal. This motorcycle helmet anti-fog insert creates a small layer of trapped air. Trapped air is an excellent insulator keeping it warmer and therefore reducing condensation. Think of it like double glazing for your helmet visor.
It is important to consider that pin lock visors cannot be universally fitted to all helmets. Some helmets are not compatible, and many manufacturers produce helmets that fit their own corresponding pin lock products (1). You can check to see if your helmet will support pin lock visors by looking for two little studs on the inside of your visor, near the right and left edges. That’s where the visor will clip in.
Anti-fog visor insert
A newer approach finding use is anti-fog visor inserts offered by companies like WeePro. They prevent motorcycle helmet fogging using the same principle as pin lock visors. They are a thin, flexible plastic insert that creates insulation on the inside of the visor to reduce fogging (1).
Using a plastic anti-fog insert is a cheaper alternative compared to pin lock visors. They are also compatible with nearly all motorcycle helmets.
Anti-fog face mask
Anti-fog face masks are available that help prevent fogging. However, their performance can vary considerably between products. Made of neoprene, they are worn over the nose and mouth and fasten to the inside of the helmet. They guide your breath away from the visor and absorb moisture to reduce condensation. Anti-fog face masks are an affordable option but should be tested in store before buying to ensure they work correctly.
A temporary solution for motorcycle helmet fogging is available through the use of anti-fog sprays. They are applied to the entire surface of the visor evenly and form an anti-fog layer. Although this layer typically only lasts 24 to 72 hours, attentive riders may choose to apply the spray before each use (1).
The temporary nature of anti-fog spray reduces its effectiveness plus its performance is worse in cold and humid climates that are more prone to motorcycle helmet fogging. Also, it is a time drain as you have to clean your visor before spraying thoroughly.
Other potential fixes
There are plenty of other fixes out there that some riders will swear by. These include:
- Removing neck buffs or nose guards to improve ventilation
- Furniture polish on the visor, applied and buffed with a cloth to give a clear view
- Simple dishwashing soap
- Your own spit/saliva – in a pinch, this will add a layer of water that temporarily stops condensation from forming. Scuba divers use this effectively to keep masks from fogging at depth.
Why does my helmet visor fog up?
We’ve discussed some of the solutions, but what causes motorcycle helmet fogging? Understanding the underlying science behind what is happening can help you learn how to stop helmet visor fogging in the future.
When out riding, your visor offers protection from the wind and rain. It also means you won’t be struck by any gravel or debris kicked up off the road. However, enclosing your head with a helmet and visor creates the perfect conditions for condensation to form.
As you ride, your visor chills due to external conditions. This could be because of low temperatures, rain, and wind. When moisture from your exhaled warm breath hits the cold visor, it rapidly cools and condenses, creating the fogging we are all familiar with. It is the same effect as windshields when you get in your car on a cold day, unlike your car though there isn’t a blower to clear the condensation away.
Another factor to consider is humidity. This measures the amount of water vapor present in the air. Higher humidity means there is more water vapor to condense onto the visor, worsening motorcycle helmet fogging (1).
As fogging is affected by climate conditions, your geographical location significantly affects how bad of a problem it is (1). Places with:
- Colder climates
- Higher rainfalls
- Stronger wind chills
- Higher humidity levels
Are more prone to motorcycle helmet condensation.
The solutions discussed above work in a few different ways:
- Increasing ventilation or directing breath away from the visor to reduce the temperature and humidity inside the helmet, reducing condensation.
- Creating a layer of cool air between the visor and your breath, insulating the inside of the visor
- Creating a layer on the visor which doesn’t allow microscopic beads of water (also known as condensation) to form on the inside of the visor.
That last one may be the hardest to understand as it introduces a new variable. Anti-fog sprays form a temporary bond on the visor surface. They contain hydrophilic ingredients (a fancy way of saying water ‘loving’) or surfactants that lower the surface tension of the water molecules (1).
Water has many interesting properties. If you are interested, you may want to learn about hydrogen bonding and how that gives water its surface tension. The one-sentence explanation is that electrons are not distributed evenly in water molecules, creating an attractive force between molecules pulling them together tightly.
When water condenses, the surface tension causes droplets to form that can obscure vision through transparent surfaces. Lowering the surface tension of water condensing on the visor produces a thin film instead of droplets. A film of water allows light to pass straight through it, and you get to see what’s happening on the road. Droplets of water disperse light, producing blurry and unclear vision that can lead to issues for motorcyclists (1).
What works as anti-fog?
As mentioned before, some riders will swear by using furniture polish, washing up liquid, or even spit to prevent fogging on your visor. However, there are some common misconceptions out there, and it is important to research or do some home testing to make sure you are not going to worsen the problem.
There are some “fixes” out there on the internet that actively do more harm than good. Please don’t attempt to use toothpaste or shaving cream. These can be abrasive to the visor while also potentially stripping other coatings applied to the visor for scratch resistance or UV filtering.
Another solution some riders use is Rain-X glass water repellent. Rain-X utilizes water-beading technology to help keep car windshields clean from grime, dust, bugs, and weather. However, this product is intended for automotive glass applications only and is not recommended for use with motorcycle visors.
Best anti-fog spray
We believe the best anti-fog spray out there is Muc-Off Premium Anti Fog Treatment. Muc-Off is a company that designs products specifically for motorcycle and bicycle use, rather than adapting products for other niches.
Muc-Off’s Anti Fog Treatment spray uses its premium anti-mist formula to create a transparent, micro-thin coating on the inside of your visor that is long-lasting. So you don’t have to worry about constantly spraying your visor. One treatment prevents fogging for up to five days.
It has excellent moisture absorption properties that help motorcycle helmet rain and sweat bead off and out of your vision. It is available in a small handy 32ml spray bottle, taking up barely any space in your pack.
Don’t just take our word for it; 77% rated it “excellent” on Trustpilot with over 6000 reviews.
How to make your own anti-fog spray?
If you want to save some money and take the DIY approach, you can make your own anti-fog spray.
A simple anti-fog solution with alcohol is just 1/4 cup of water and 3/4 cup of rubbing alcohol mixed with a drop of dish soap. Place in a spray bottle, shake well, and you’re good to go.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, another approach uses vinegar. Fill a cup 1/3 full of water, then fill to the brim with vinegar. Transfer to a spray bottle and apply to your visor. Once applied, wipe down using a microfiber cloth. This vinegar solution is also great for cleaning off the grime from your visor.
When making DIY anti-fog solutions, it is good to use distilled water instead of tap water to ensure other minerals don’t make it into your spray.
Never Let Fogging Ruin Your Ride
No matter where you live or how often you ride, you need a plan to deal with motorcycle helmet fogging. Even if you live in a warm, dry climate and ride infrequently, it only takes your vision to be impaired once for there to be dire consequences.
With everything to consider when it comes to motorcycle helmet fogging, make sure you find the solution that matches your needs. The benefits of not having to worry about reduced vision on a ride will outweigh your efforts. Forget about unplanned breaks to clean up your visor and make a plan for how to stop helmet visor fogging.