Why Do My Goggles Leak? (Check These 7 Things)

Swimming in chlorinated water is hard on your eyes. A good pair of swimming goggles is essential. But what if your goggles leak?

Goggles leak because of of several possibilities. A bad fit can leave small gaps. The nose piece may be too wide or narrow. The rubber seal around the goggles my have a tear or be damaged. The goggles strap may not be tight enough. Or hair may be breaking the water-tight seal.

If your goggles leak it makes swimming more difficult. Who wants to stop every lap to empty out leaking water?

Here are some ideas on why your goggles leak.

Seven Things To Check If Your Goggles Leak

Here are 7 things to check if your goggles leak:

  • Goggles strap position
  • Hair breaking the seal
  • Nose piece too wide or narrow
  • Tear in the rubber seal
  • Strap too tight/loose
  • Rubber damaged by sun/exposure
  • Rubber seal not seated on plastic correctly

If you check these items and still can’t find the reason your goggles leak, you may need to try goggles with a different size or shape.

Our faces are all different. But don’t give up!

Swimming is a great sport and terrific for exercise.

Keep trying different options until you find a solution.

Why do new goggles leak?

If your goggles are new and leaking, it’s likely the fit is not right.

Check the strap

Goggles should fit snugly, but not so tight you get eye pain or a headache. The strap should run around the head so that your goggles are squarely seated around the eyes.

The pressure should be evenly spread around the rubber seal.

If the strap is too high or too low (around your neck), the goggles will sit unevenly. Even a tiny space will allow water in.

If you feel pressure more on the top or bottom, you need to adjust where the strap sits on the back of your head.

Check for hair breaking the seal

Make sure that no hair is breaking the seal on the goggles.

Even a small amount of hair can allow water to leak into your goggles.

This can include your eyebrows or other facial hair. If your head hair is long, keep it up and out of the way with a swim cap or hair tie.

Competitive swimmers use goggles that sit below the eyebrows.

Recreational or casual swimmers can use larger goggles that cover the eyebrows.

Just make sure the goggles have a good seal with the skin.

Check the nose piece

Many goggles come with different size nose pieces.

The nose piece is usually a small plastic shape that snaps on and off the inside of each goggle. It makes the goggles wider or narrower depending on the shape of your face.

You want the goggles to sit so they cover the entire eye and you look through the center.

If your goggles are leaking try different nose pieces to see if that helps.

Do all goggles leak?

Not all goggles leak.

Goggles that fit correctly and where the materials are in good shape should not leak at all.

The two most important issues for goggles that do not leak is the fit and the rubber seal that goes around the clear plastic part that you look through.

Different brands of goggles have different sizes and shapes. Finding a pair of goggles that fits correctly may take some trial and error.

But not all goggles leak.

How tight should goggles be?

Goggles should be snug but not so tight they effect your eyesight, hurt your eye sockets or give you a headache.

Your goggles strap should have enough slack to adjust it larger or smaller.

You want them tight enough so they don’t leak or come off when diving in the pool. But loose enough that you can swim a complete workout without pain.

How long should swim goggles last?

If you take care of your swim goggles, they should last for years.

Basic swim goggle care:

  • Keep goggles in a case or pouch
  • Don’t leave in direct sunlight
  • Don’t overstretch the strap
  • Dry them before storing
  • Remove the strap and rubber seal to clean them every 6 months

Don’t waste money by not taking care of your goggles!

I see too many swimmers throw their goggles on the pool deck. They get scratched and can be stepped on.

Swimmers also throw goggles in their swim bag where they rub up against water bottles, phones, keys and other stuff that can damage them.

Treat your goggles like you would treat a pair of glasses.

How to stop goggles from leaking (last resort)

If you checked and tried everything above, but still can’t find goggles that don’t leak, here’s a last resort.

Use Vaseline around the rubber part of the swim goggles that sits against your face.

This should keep the seal from breaking and letting in water.

Just be careful not to get the Vaseline in your eyes. Also try not to get it on the clear part of the goggles, or you’ll have trouble seeing.

Tommy Sikes

I swam as a kid. But most of my experience is as a swim parent. My kids did summer swim, high school, and club swim. My daughter has committed to swim at UGA in 2024 as a sprint freestyler. I share what I learn about training, swim equipment, and the college recruiting process.

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