How To Prevent Windshield Fog

by | Nov 12, 2020

You never want to be driving a vehicle when you can’t see where it is heading. If you are currently struggling with a fogging windshield pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot until you get this problem resolved. Driving with limited visibility puts you, your car, your passengers, other drivers, pedestrians and bikers all at risk. Be smart and utilize safe driving practices. 

We’ve all experienced our windshield fogging up while driving. It can be scary to lose visibility, but the good news is that it is really simple to quickly defog the glass. The phenomena of your windshield fogging up is caused by water condensing either on the inside or the outside of your window. What causes this is high humidity paired with a cool surface for the water to collect. So if you are in Florida or some other high humidity area like we are, this can be an issue you may face quite a bit.

 Luckily there are two things you can do to protect yourself from fog prohibiting your vision while driving. You can:

  1. Remove the fog you are already experiencing using the defrost heat setting on your car (or one of our other quick fixes listed below) or outside air to decrease the humidity. 
  2. Prevent the condensation from ever collecting using a windshield coating.  

We’re going to start with removing condensation that has already collected on your windshield as many of you need an answer now. Once you have cured the current condensation you are facing, consider coating your windshield to prevent this issue in the future. 

How To De Fog A Currently Foggy Windshield

If you are currently driving and are experiencing window fogging, make sure it is safe before continuing to drive. If your visibility is very limited it is best to put your heat on high using the defrost setting and pull over until your windshield is clear again.  There are a few ways to get rid of condensation that has already accumulated on your windshield.

  • Use your car’s heater and defroster to heat the windshield preventing the condensation from sticking and forming any further.
  • Use the car’s air conditioning to reduce humidity in the vehicle
  • Make sure your vehicle is pulling fresh air from outside and circulating it instead of using recycled air from within the cab of your car to reduce humidity 
  • Crack your window 

Using Heat

This scenario is appropriate when the outside temperatures are cold and the inside of your car is warm and humid. Because of the difference in temperature between your windshield which will be cold from the outside chill and the warm interior of your car, condensation will collect on the inside of your windshield. 

As the warm humid air makes contact with the cold glass the water in the air will condense on the cold glass as it rapidly cools from a gas into a liquid. To reverse this effect you can simply use the heat in your car and especially the defrost setting to warm the windshield. 

Technique: Turn your heat to full blast and turn the ventilation setting to defrost. This can be found on your dashboard. The defrost function will direct all the air at your windshield which should clear up in 30-120 seconds depending on the severity of the fogging. 

Using Air Conditioning

You can also opt to use the cooling features of your vehicle to defog your windshield and windows. What the air conditioning will do is decrease the humidity in your car by replacing the humid air with cool dry air from your A/C. Another reason that this method works is because it cools your windshield to the same temperature as the cold air outside. 

Use Fresh Outside Air

When your car is recycling the air in the cab of your vehicle, that air can get quite humid. Whether from wet clothing or boots, or the simple moisture in the air we all exhale, increased humidity is the number one reason that findshields collect condensation. Your car gives you the option to A) pull fresh air to feed to the air conditioning unit or B) recycle the air in the cab of your car. To prevent window fog, you’ll want to choose option A here. Look for the button on your dash board. 

Crack Your Windows

The final method is a simple one. By making the air and temperature outside and inside the same, you can prevent the fogging of your windshield. This method takes longer than simply applying heat but it will work after several minutes. 

How To Prevent Window Fogging

If you frequently experience your windows fogging up you’ll be happy to know that there are steps that you can take to prevent this from happening in the future. Fogging windshields are frustrating but can also be dangerous. You don’t want to be behind the wheel of a 2800 pound car with no idea where you are driving it. 

  • Eliminate anything wet in your car which is increasing the humidity
  • Use a specially designed windshield coating to prevent condensation
  • Clean both the inside and outside of the window or windshield with an ammonia based cleaner
  • Use shaving cream on a dry rag to coat the windshield 

Remove Wet Items In The Vehicle

One of the reasons that cars collect condensation is because there are wet or moist items within the vehicle which are contributing to the high humidity in the cab of the car among other things. We as humans and our pets also can increase humidity just by breathing, which obviously we can’t prevent. You can reduce the humidity within the car by drying out or removing wet items. 

Wipe your boots before getting into your car on rainy days or during the winter when it snows. Avoid putting wet items like towels and clothing in the cab of your car whenever possible and in some cases utilize your trunk instead. 

Using A Specialty Window Defogging Product

From skiers to scuba divers, from car windshields to bathroom mirrors, glass and plastic surfaces alike collect condensation and in the right situation this can be detrimental. When you need these surfaces for visibility, glass condensation can be a huge pain in the butt and must be prevented to allow you to be effective at the task at hand. 

Moreover in the cases of scuba divers or drivers looking out their car windshields, we need these surfaces to remain clear. When they don’t it can be both inconvenient and more importantly dangerous. There are products designed especially for the purpose of keeping these surfaces free of condensation and keeping us, the ones who rely on them, safe. Here are a few staff favorites that you can buy online with fast and free shipping. 

Optix 55 Anti-Fog Spray

One of the best anti condensation products on the market comes from a company called Optix. The product comes in a 2oz and 8oz size for those who want to try the product first before fully committing. What we love the most about this product is that you can apply it whether your surface is wet or dry and it works immediately. Other products may require you to leave the solution on to set for up to 25 minutes and that doesn’t always work for our busy schedules. With Optix it’s a pretty simple spray, wipe and go. Check out current prices and more information below. 

Quick Sheen Anti Fog Spray

At the lower end of the price range for defogging products is Quick Sheen Anti Fog Spray. It works in the same ways as it’s competitors and can be applied to windshields, eye glasses, ski and scuba diving masks. It comes in a convenient 8oz size which is perfect to put in the glove compartment of your vehicle or center console for easy use. This product is also available in a 2oz spray bottle for those who want to test the reliability of the product first. With all anti fogging products it is a good idea to apply multiple coats to get the best results. 

Using Ammonia Based Cleaner

You can use common household cleaners that contain the chemical ammonia to prevent your windshield from collecting fog or condensation. Examples of these types of cleaners that you likely have hanging around the house include: windex and other popular glass cleaners, fabuloso and clorox products. Look for a liquid product preferably a glass cleaner which won’t leave behind streaking. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Ammonia based cleaner (glass cleaners work best)
  • A clean cloth, paper towel, or newspaper

Technique: apply the cleaner directly to the windshield or if you want to prevent the product from becoming airborne and sticking to other parts of your car apply the cleaner to a dry cloth. Work the product over the entirety of the glass surface and allow to dry. Reapply 2x. Repeat this process on the exterior of the window. Test your results using the hot liquid method detailed below. 

Using Shaving Cream

If you are looking for a quick, effective and cheap way to prevent window fogging, look no further than underneath your bathroom counter. Shaving cream can help keep your windows condensation free. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Shaving cream
  • A small dry rag
  • A larger dry towel

Technique: Coat a dry cloth or rag with a small amount of shaving cream. Slowly begin working the shaving cream onto the interior of the windshield using small circular motions. Start from one corner of the window working carefully to coat the entire glass surface and making sure to keep the shaving cream off of all other interior surfaces. When the entire window is lightly covered with the thick foam, take a clean and dry towel and wipe away the shaving cream. Repeat this process on the exterior of your windshield then test. 

Testing Your Anti Fogging Methods:

To test any of the above methods before hitting the road, pour yourself a cup of boiling water or coffee. You can use any liquid so long as it is piping hot. Now that you have your mug of hot liquid, place it on your dashboard as close to the windshield as you can. If you have applied the coating properly (or used an effective product) the steam coming off of the hot liquid should roll right off of your windshield and wont cause any fogging. 

How New Cars Are Preventing Fogging

As technological advancements surge forward in the automobile industry, it is incredible just how many modern issues have been resolved. For example with new vehicles from manufacturers like Toyota, a standard feature is climate control. The climate control feature on these new cars keeps the car regulated at a desired temperature set by the driver. Another awesome thing the climate control does is prevent windshield fogging so you won’t ever have to worry about poor visibility as a result of condensation again! 

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Resources: 

https://itstillruns.com/stop-windshield-fogging-up-7269103.html
https://www.joemyerstoyota.com/blog/2017/february/8/surprising-hack-to-prevent-windshield-from-fogging.htm
http://bestride.com/research/tips-and-tricks/how-do-i-keep-my-interior-windshield-glass-from-getting-foggy
http://appleglasscompany.com/5-ways-prevent-windshield-fogging/
https://www.creditdonkey.com/average-weight-car.html#:~:text=The%20average%20car%20weighs%20just%202%2C871%20pounds.
https://www.nathanielcars.co.uk/news/how-to-prevent-your-car-fogging-up-and-how-to-quickly-get-ri/
https://www.stanekwindows.com/17-window-condensation-solutions.aspx

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