What to do if your VR headset lenses fog up?

It is something that happened to us all: you put your headset on to live an amazing VR adventure (like a Robo Recall match) or to watch a great movie (like Miyubi) and after few seconds, the lenses start to fog. Everything becomes so steamy and the experience is ruined. So you have to press the pause button, remove your headset and clean the lenses. You put it on again and… mist again on the lenses. Damn. Is there a way to overcome this problem? Yes, there are some strategies and I want to tell you some of them.

The reason

This mist happens for an exact reason: your face is warm (at least I hope so, otherwise you’d be dead) and sweats, while the lenses of the headset are cold. The sweat from your face together with the warm breathing from your nose go onto the lenses, that are cold and so the little mist particles condense on the glass, creating that fog effect. It is the same thing that happens when during a cold Autumn you’re inside a car and it’s hot inside (for whatever reason :P): the car windows start to fog up.

This problem on misty VR headset has arisen since the first times: I found forum requests about fog on lenses in posts related to the Oculus DK1! So, how to solve that?

Keep your Oculus Rift connected
Oculus Rift CV1
When not in use, keep your Rift on the desk, still plugged into the PC

If you have an Oculus Rift, the answer is very very simple: keep it plugged into your PC. You may have noticed that when you turn off your PC, your Rift goes into standby mode but it doesn’t shut down completely and the orange led is still lit. As a redditor points out, this is because the Rift tries to keep to an optimal temperature the internal gyroscopes and accelerometers, so that when you use it again, they have the maximum precision possible. This has the side effect of keeping the device a bit warm so that when you wear it, lenses are not cold and they don’t fog up.

Electrical consumption of the Rift in standby mode is very low, but if you don’t want to waste a single cent, you can unplug it and attach it to your PC at least half an hour before starting your VR usage.

This is the first advice that I found on this topic and I can guarantee you that it works like a charm.

Warm your lenses

If you’ve not a Rift, you can try a more DIY solution: warming the headset lenses by yourself. The first idea is that just before you launch your VR experience, you take your hair dryer and you warm the internal part of your device a bit. Of course, please, don’t use your hair dryer at its maximum power and keep it distant from your headset while you use it.

Another more simple approach is wearing the device for 10 minutes or such, keeping the part with the lenses on your forehead, so that it warms up a bit. I don’t like this solution that much because usually on the forehead there’s a bit of sweat, hairs, skin particles, etc… that dirty the lenses.

Cool down your face

If you can’t warm your lenses, cooling down your face can help. Using the non-hot hair dryer towards your face can make it a bit more cold and at the same time help in drying it a bit. This way there’s less sweat on your face and your lenses fog less.

virtual reality headset lenses fog
Ok, maybe not with this power…
Breath outside the box

Sometimes the problem is your nose: it doesn’t fit well in the headset, so part of your warm and wet breathing goes up into the device, fogging the lenses. You can try putting some cloth or cardboard pieces next to the nose aperture of the headset to prevent the breathing from fogging up your lenses.

Anti-fog wipes

Online it is possible to find some anti-fog wipes, that are optimal to clean the Rift lenses and at the same time prevent the creation of the fog in future usages. On Reddit, Skenzin advises to use an only certain type of wipes:

At a certain point, even with a microfiber cloth, you’re basically just smudging the grease around. the trick is to find wipes or solution that is ~6% alcohol as to not damage the plastic/polymer lenses. look for wipes that say “safe for all treated or coated lenses”

Notice that technically, Oculus advises against the use of any kind of chemicals on their lenses, but redditors report that they work quite well.

Anti-fog spray

This is a product used particularly in sports, for instance for Skiing masks. People report that it works quite well for Oculus Rift too, even if, also, in this case, it should not be used on your headset. It should not be sprayed every day, only once in a while to prevent the formation of new fog.

And that’s it: a collection of little simple yet practical advice on how to prevent the formation of fog on your headset lenses! Have you tried them? Do they work? Let me know in the comments!

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AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I've no idea what I'm doing. I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I'm not giving up: I've started an AR/VR agency called New Technology Walkers with which help you in realizing your XR dreams with our consultancies (Contact us if you need a project done!)

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