If you’ve ever used a VR headset, you’ll know that lens fog is something you’re definitely going to experience at some point. It can get a bit annoying to have to keep taking your VR headset off to wipe the lenses. Thankfully, there are a number of simple solutions that can prevent VR lens fog, or at the very least reduce it substantially.
The best ways to prevent your VR lenses from fogging up are to either warm your VR headset before putting it on, or polish the lenses with a tiny amount of dish soap on a microfiber cloth. Both methods prevent water vapor from condensing on the lenses of your headset.
I’ve tried a range of ways to stop VR lenses fogging, and have found a few ways that can prevent it completely so that I can enjoy my time in VR without distraction. Let’s find out why VR lenses fog up, and how exactly to prevent it.
Why Are My VR Lenses Fogging Up?
The lenses of VR headsets fog up due to water vapor condensing against the relatively cool surface of the lenses. When wearing a VR headset, the warmth and perspiration from your face increase the humidity of the air around the lenses, and this water vapor then condenses against the lenses due to them being cooler than the surrounding air.
It’s the exact same process that happens when your glasses or your car’s windows steam up. It doesn’t matter whether you have a Quest 2, Valve Index, WMR headset, or any other VR headset – the same process is going to happen.
The process is made even worse due to VR headsets being enclosed around your face, reducing ventilation and maximizing the warming and humidification of the air in front of your face.
How To Stop VR Lenses Fogging Up?
There are quite a number of ways to prevent VR lenses fogging, but all methods fall into one of two categories.
Some methods aim to prevent fogging by warming the lens so that they are no longer cool enough to cause the water vapor in the warm, humid air to condense on them.
Other methods create a physical barrier in front of the lenses that prevent condensation from occurring in the first place.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to prevent VR lenses fogging, and I’ll let you know which are worth trying and which aren’t worth the effort.
1. Warm Your VR Headset Up Before Use To Prevent Fogging
When you first turn your VR headset on, the lenses and the entire headset are likely to be significantly cooler than body temperature. If you just pop your headset on and start using it, you will likely find the headset fogging up quickly, leading to you having to take it off and wipe the lenses. For the first 10-15 minutes, this will happen repeatedly, which can be really annoying.
Eventually, the heat produced by the headset, and your own body heat will raise the temperature of the lenses, and you will notice less and less condensation/fogging.
By turning your VR headset on 10-15 minutes before you intend to use it, the heat generated by the headset will warm the lenses, leading to less condensation. This solution actually works quite well, and I still use this method as one strategy to stop my Reverb G2 and Quest 2 fogging up.
This method will increase the time it takes for your VR headset to fog up significantly, and the extent of the fogging will be less when it does happen. It’s a far from perfect solution though, particularly for more active VR experiences, where your body temperature rises and you start to sweat. In these situations, you will still have to remove your headset to clean the condensation from the lenses at least a few times.
2. Use A Hairdryer To Warm Your Headset Up
Using a hairdryer to blow warm air at the lenses for 1-2 minutes before using your headset is a quick and effective method for stopping VR lenses from fogging up. It works using the same principle as option one but takes it a little further.
Make sure to hold the hairdryer about 20 cm or more from the lenses, as hairdryers can get really hot, and you certainly don’t want to damage your headset. The idea is to get the lenses a little warm to the touch, but not hot.
Once you’ve used the hairdryer for a minute or two, pop your VR headset on and enjoy condensation-free VR experiences, for a while. This method is really effective at preventing fogging for the first 10-15 minutes, but as you heat up and the lenses cool down, you are still likely to get some fogging of the lenses.
3. Clean Your VR Lenses With A Little Dish Soap
Depending on how you feel about putting dish soap on the lenses of your VR headset, this is one of the most effective options for preventing your VR lenses from fogging up. It creates a very thin barrier between the lenses and the air, preventing water vapor from condensing or accumulating on the lenses. Here are the steps I use for this process.
- Mix a few drops of dish soap in some water. The water should be about as soapy as if you were doing dishes. Wet a microfibre cloth with the soap solution.
- Gently wipe each lense with the microfibre cloth to apply a small amount of the soap solution.
- Use another dry microfibre cloth to gently polish the lenses. This will remove the excess soap solution, but leave a microscopic layer of soap over the lenses.
- Hold your VR headset up to your eyes to ensure there are no smears on the lenses and your view is perfectly clear.
Using this method, you can expect to have a completely or almost completely fog-free VR experience. I was really pleasantly surprised by how well this works. The soap layer does break down after a few days, so this is likely to be a process you will need to repeat to maintain the effect.
Some people recommend wiping the lenses with a drop of concentrated dish soap, applied with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Soap applied in this way is more viscous and may help the coating last for a longer period of time, but it may be more difficult to avoid streaks on the lenses, impacting the clarity of the lenses.
4. Wipe The Lenses As Required To Get Rid Of Fogging
VR lenses fogging up is annoying, but it’s quick and easy to clean them, and it doesn’t significantly detract from the enjoyment of using a VR headset, except for when doing very vigorous activities.
If it doesn’t bother you too much, it’s perfectly OK just to wipe the lenses as and when fogging occurs. Using a lint-free cloth is best to ensure the lenses stay clean.
5. Use A Fan To Keep You Cool While Using VR
I’ve previously tried using a fan to keep me cool to reduce the amount of fogging of VR lenses, but I don’t find this to be particularly effective. I do enjoy using a fan to keep me cool in VR, as I often get too hot when exerting myself in some more strenuous VR exercise games. However, I haven’t noticed much impact on the amount of fogging. This option is best for your comfort only.
6. Use A Vented Face Cover On Your VR Headset
Fogging of VR headsets is exacerbated by the fact that your face is enclosed in the headset, preventing air exchange around your face and the lenses. Increasing ventilation reduces the warmth and humidity of the air close to the lenses, reducing the rate of condensation on the lenses.
Many third-party manufacturers offer vented face masks that can replace the default facial interface that comes with your VR headset. Vrcover.com has a nice vented facial interface for the Quest 2.
7. Store Your VR Heatset In A Warm Location
Another great tip to reduce the amount of fogging on your VR lenses is to store your VR headset somewhere warm. This avoids having to apply any products to the lenses and saves the time that is required with other methods that aim to warm the lenses.
Find a cozy, but not an excessively hot location to store your headset, and this should mean that water vapor is much less likely to condense against the lenses when you start using them. Don’t store your headset too close to a radiator or other heat source that could cause the headset to become too warm, or where it may experience large swings in temperature, that could damage your VR headset.
8. Use An Anti-Fog Spray, Wax Or Gel To Prevent VR Lenses From Fogging
There are loads of products on the market that are designed to prevent fogging of VR headsets, glasses, windows, and swim masks. Spray, wipes, gel, wax, and special cloths are all available. I’ve tried a number of options, and some work really well, but I’ve had disappointing results with others.
I’ve had the most success using Sea Gold Anti-Fog Gel. It’s very reasonably priced and I was very pleased with how well it worked.
9. Make Sure Your VR Headset Isn’t Too Tight
While trying to get your VR headset into just the right position on your face, it’s very easy to overtighten the head straps. Not only can this reduce the comfort of wearing your headset for a long time, but it can also reduce the amount of ventilation that gets in around the sides of the headset. This tends to exacerbate any fogging problem.
Take the time to ensure that the straps on your headset are properly adjusted. The headset should feel snug on your head, but not tight. This can be a particular issue for headsets with less effective head straps, such as the default head strap on the Meta Quest 2.
Whilst getting the right fit won’t completely eliminate fogging, it can make quite a big difference to your experience.
How To Remove Condensation from VR Lenses
When your VR lenses do start fogging up, you want to be able to clean them effectively, without getting the lenses dirty or affecting the visual clarity. You may not think too much about what you use to clean the lenses, but it can make an impact.
It is best to use a clean, dry, lint-free cloth to clean the lenses of your VR headset. Polish the lenses gently to remove all the moisture, and then use a dry part of the cloth to polish them and remove any smearing.
Another quick and easy option to get rid of condensation on your VR lenses is to remove your headset and simply blow gently on the lenses. This cool stream of air will result in the condensation evaporating in 10-20 seconds. You can then put your headset on and get back into VR.
Are There Any VR Headsets That Don’t Fog Up At All?
All current VR headsets are prone to their lenses fogging up. Whilst you can get glasses with a range of anti-fog technologies, there are not currently any VR headsets that come with anti-fog lenses. So whether you have a Quest 2, Valve Index, Reverb G2, Pimax, RIft, or any other VR headset, you’re going to have to use some of the solutions above to prevent fogging of the lenses.
Best Anti-Fog Spray For VR Headsets
There are loads of options for anti-fog spray for VR headsets. I’ve tried a few, and the best one I’ve found so far is FogAway anti-fog spray. It’s not perfect, but almost completely eliminated fogging for about 3 days per application.
The good news is that VR lenses fogging up is a preventable problem. One or more of the solutions listed above should almost completely prevent any issues you have with your VR headset fogging up.