GBBO star shares hack to stop glasses steaming up while wearing a face mask

Foggy glasses is a common side effect of face mask wearing. (Getty Images)
Foggy glasses is a common side effect of face mask wearing. (Getty Images)

We’re gradually adjusting to face masks being an essential part of our every day lives, but the glasses wearers among us will have noticed something of an annoying side-effect: foggy lenses.

But with new coronavirus restrictions meaning that face masks will now be mandatory in even more public settings, it’s a problem glasses wearers really need to sort.

Thankfully, GBBO star Nancy Birtwhistle has shared a handy hack for helping to stop glasses from steaming up while wearing a face mask.

The grandmother, who won the fifth series of the popular baking show, regularly shares lifestyle hacks with her Instagram followers and most recently revealed a trick she uses to stop the steam.

Read more: The face mask hacks you need to know

Sharing a short clip of her demonstrating the tip, – appropriately set to the song Steamy Windows by Tina Turner – the GBBO star squeezed a drop of diluted washing up liquid onto one of the lenses before wiping it off with a cloth.

To put the hack to the test, Birtwhistle then puts her glasses on, along with a black and white polka dot face mask.

Unbelievably the side she had used the washing up liquid on remained fog-free, while the other lens steamed up.

Since posting the hack, the star baker has received a whole host of comments from people thanking her for sharing the idea.

“The most helpful tip ever! Thank you,” one wrote.

“Such an amazing tip! I have been struggling with this,” another spectacle wearer shared.

“GAME CHANGER,” a third wrote, simply.

Read more: People warned to snip straps off disposable masks after charity frees hundreds of animals

But one user did question whether using washing up liquid on glasses could damage the coating on the lenses.

Birtwhistle responded to say that she used diluted washing up liquid and hasn’t had an issue yet, but we thought we should put this query to the experts.

“This is a common issue for people wearing glasses with a mask,” said optician David Hutchfield, from Glasses Direct.

“The fogging is caused by breath being funnelled from the top of the mask and on to the lenses. Irrespective of frame shape and style this will happen.”

Hutchfield says washing glasses with soapy water and letting them dry naturally will leave a film on them that will act as a barrier to reduce fog.

“We wouldn’t recommend this normally as long term application of soapy water may damage any lens coatings, but as a short-term measure in these unprecedented times it can be an effective solution.”

Amir Hamid, medical director and ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra eye hospital group, echoes the advice that the washing up liquid could be used as a short-term solution to the face mask fog problem.

“This approach can work sometimes,” he says. “As long as it is thoroughly rinsed there are no risks to eye health, but there is a risk that you are washing off any of the premium coatings that have been applied, such as anti-scratch and anti-glare on your spectacle lenses.”

Steamy glasses is a real problem for glasses wearers. (Getty Images)
Steamy glasses is a real problem for glasses wearers. (Getty Images)

Read more: Why you should think twice before using a disposable face mask

As an alternative, Hutchfield says some surgeons use tape around the top of a face mask to minimise hot breath escaping up under glasses.

“Before trying that, first make sure the tape doesn’t irritate your skin,” he says. “Some better masks have mouldable bridges for a better fit.

“You could also pull the mask up higher and use the bottom of the glasses frames to weigh them down. This would indicate that thicker, heavier frames might help, but it really depends on the fit of the mask, the shape of the face, and the fit of the glasses.”

Last month a woman was praised for sharing another “game-changing” hack to stop glasses fogging up while wearing a face mask.

The trick, devised by Nic Jam who shared it with the world via Facebook, involves sewing a button onto her mask, which allows her glasses to sit slightly further away from her face, and helps to prevent the steam fogging them up.

Another spectacle wearer has suggested putting a tissue on the inside of your mask to stop the warm, moist air rising.

This tissue tip is seconded by Ceri Smith-Jaynes from the Association of Optometrists, who previously advised folding a tissue “until it forms a strip and place it along the top edge of the mask before you put it on”.

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