How to Take Care of Your Prescription Swim Goggles

Most people don’t think about taking care of their goggles. As children, goggles come and go with the summer and you often need a new pair by next summer anyway because of all the growing and the occasionally drastic change in favorite color. However, as teens and adults, when you find the right pair of goggles it becomes well worth your while to take good care of them. If you own a pair of prescription goggles, or just really nice normal goggles for those of you with perfectly functional eyes, how you care for them will make a huge difference in how long your goggles last. Fortunately, we’re here to help.

1) Try Not to Touch the Lenses

The first rule in caring for a nice pair of goggles is to avoid touching the lenses. This may seem obvious and you may think you already know all there is to know about caring for glasses of any sort, strapped or otherwise, but there are special rules for goggles. Prescription goggles in particular often come with an anti-fog coating on the inside that can be damaged if touched or rubbed too much and fingerprints on the outside of the lenses aren’t exactly fun. Pay close attention to your hands when handling the goggles to try and reduce the amount that you touch either side of the lenses. If you have to, hold onto the cups from the sides instead.

2) Rinse Goggles Clean

In most cases, the water that we swim in would not be considered clean. Lake, river, and ocean water are all full of natural things like fish, bacteria, dead and living plants, and all sorts of dirt while public and private pools are chock full of chlorine, among other things, that you don’t want drying onto your goggles. Do Not use the standard glasses cleaning technique of gentle soap and a soft cloth, as this can damage the anti-fog treatment. Instead, run the goggles under cool tap water to rinse off the residue from the less than clean swimming water, making sure to get into the eyecups and the surrounding rubber suction cups and pads clear.

3) Vinegar for Really Dirty Goggles

If your goggles were dropped in the sand or have become covered in scale (crusty water deposit residue), you may need more than a little running cold water to get your goggles clean but you still don’t want to use soap or a cloth. Instead, fill a bowl with hot water and a few tablespoons of vinegar and soak the goggles for about two hours, then rinse in cold water again. If the strap needs special cleaning, you can do so by dipping your fingers in soapy water and gently rubbing the strap under running cold water, but don’t dip the strap in soapy water which could be bad for the rubber.

4) Allow Goggles to Air-Dry After Swimming

The very last thing anyone wants in their goggles is mold, which is what happens if you pack your goggles away too quickly. When you’re wrapping up your swimming activities, drying off, and saying goodbye to friends, make sure your goggles are hanging up or laid out on a towel to air-dry. If you have to towel them off to move fast, do so gently and hang the goggles once you get back home or to your locker to allow them to finish air drying. Try to avoid rubbing the lenses with a towel or cloth to protect the anti-fog coating. When the goggles are dry, put them away in a case and don’t let them rattle around with other things in your swim bag that could scratch them. Even a little sand could be a problem.

5) Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Modern goggles are made completely out of plastic and rubber, neither of which respond well to extreme heat or extreme cold. Heat can soften the plastic, causing it to melt and warp out of shape. If this happens, not only could your lenses be ruined but your goggles may never fit right again. Extreme cold, on the other hand will make the plastic hard and the rubber brittle. If the strap gets too cold, it’s likely to crack and split rather than stretch. Try to keep your goggles in a zone between 45 F and 85 F if you can help it and if they are left out, don’t be surprised by the consequences.

6) Keep Out of Direct Sunlight

When it comes to swimming, direct sunlight is usually your best friend. It’s warm rays contribute to your tan, help you dry off between swims and keep you feeling toasty even if the breeze on your wet skin is a little cold. However, your goggles were not made to bask in the sunshine and should be stored in the shade if you can manage it. If you don’t have an umbrella and want to leave your goggles on your deck chair or towel, simply fold a corner of a towel over them to keep them out of the sun which could cause fading or melting.

7) Stow Your Goggles Somewhere Safe Between Swims

Finally, always know where your goggles are, even between swims. Ideally, you’ll have a little case for them that can live in your swim bag but if you don’t, consider designating a special shelf, drawer, or hook for the goggles to live when you’re home and not swimming. That way, they’ll neither get scraped rattling around in a bag nor lost when you need them for your next swim.

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