Cleaning your glasses every day is the best way to keep them looking good and avoid lens scratches. But when it comes to cleaning glasses, there’s a right way — and a lot of the wrong way.
Follow these tips to clean your glasses lenses and frames to keep your glasses looking their best. These cleaning tips will also help you keep your sunglasses, safety glasses, and sports glasses in good condition.
1. Wash and dry your hands
2. Rinse your glasses with mild tap water
This will remove dust and other debris and help avoid scratching the lenses when cleaning them. Avoid hot water, which can damage some eyeglass lens coatings.
3. Put a small drop of lotion-free dishwashing liquid on each lens
Most dishwashing liquids are very concentrated, so use only a tiny amount. Or apply a drop or two to your fingertips before touching the lenses. Use only lotion-free brands.
4. Gently wipe the sides of the lenses and all parts of the frame
Make sure to clean every part of your glasses, including the nose pads and the temples of the frame. Also, clean the area where the edge of the lens meets the frame – where dust, debris and skin oils often accumulate.
5. Flush both sides of lenses and frames
Failure to remove all traces of soap can cause the lens to become soiled when it dries.
6. Shake the glasses gently to remove most of the moisture from the lenses
7. Carefully dry the lenses and frame with a clean, lint-free towel
Use dish towels that haven’t been washed with fabric softener or dryer sheets (these can stain lenses). A lint-free microfiber cloth is also a good option. Make sure the cloth is completely clean. Dirt or debris in the fibers of the towel can scratch your lenses. Also, any cooking oil, skin oil, or lotion on the towel can stain your glasses.
8. Check the lens again
If any streaks or smudges remain, wipe them off with a clean microfiber cloth—these are lint-free cloths available at most optical or photography stores.
For touch-up cleaning of eyeglass lenses, use disposable lens cleaning wipes. These are specially formulated for use in spectacle lenses.
Cleaning glasses: Don’t
Do not use shirts, shirts or other clothing to clean glasses, especially when the lenses are dry. This will scratch your lenses.
Do not wet the lenses with saliva.
Do not use household glass or surface cleaners to clean glasses. These products contain ingredients that can damage eyeglass lenses and coatings.
Do not use paper towels, napkins, paper towels, or toilet paper to clean the lenses. These can scratch or stain your lenses or fill them with lint.
Do not try to “wipe” scratches off the lenses. This will only make the situation worse.
Glasses cleaners and cleaning cloths
Spectacle lens cleaners are available where you bought your glasses and at your local drugstore or discount store. These may help if you’re traveling or don’t have dish soap and clean running water available.
If running water is not available, rinse off dust and other debris from the lenses with a generous amount of aerosol lens cleaner, then wipe dry.
If your lenses have an anti-reflective (AR) coating, make sure the eyeglass cleaner you choose is approved for AR lenses.
When using disposable lens cleaning wipes, first check the lens for dust or debris. To avoid scratching, blow off any debris from the lenses before wiping them.
Microfiber cleaning cloths are ideal for cleaning glasses. These cloths are very effective at drying the lenses and trapping grease to avoid smearing.
But because they are so effective at trapping debris, be sure to clean the cloth frequently. Hand wash cloth with lotion-free dish soap and water; allow cloth to air dry.
How to remove scratches from glasses
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet for scratching your lenses. Once your glasses get scratched, they get scratched.
Some products are designed to make scratches less noticeable. Most of these products are just waxy substances that wear off easily. Results with these products have been mixed, depending on the location and depth of the scratches. Also, they often apply anti-reflective lenses.
In addition to reflecting light and interfering with vision, scratches can affect the impact resistance of eyeglass lenses. For best vision and safety, replace lenses if they are scratched.
When shopping for lenses, choose lenses with a durable scratch-resistant coating. And ask your optician if your purchase includes an anti-scratch warranty—especially if scratching your lenses has been an issue in the past.
Professional glasses cleaning
If your lenses are in good shape but the nose pads or other parts of the frame cannot be kept clean, go back to where you bought your glasses.
An ophthalmologist may use an ultrasonic cleaning device to deep clean your glasses. They can also replace the yellowed nose pads with clear new nose pads.
Store glasses in a box
Spectacle lenses can easily get scratched if you fail to store them in a safe place. This includes removing them before bed.
Always store glasses in a clean storage box and never place lenses face down on a table or counter.
If you don’t have a case handy, turn your glasses upside down and open your temples – in a safe place where they won’t fall off a table or countertop.
Glasses don’t last forever
All eyeglass lenses will eventually have some scratches. Spectacle lenses are scratch resistant, not scratch resistant.
When buying glasses, ask about the scratch-resistant guarantee of the lenses. This is especially important for children’s glasses or wearing glasses in dusty environments.
Following the above tips is the best way to keep your glasses clean and scratch-free for as long as possible.
If your lenses are badly scratched and your glasses prescription has expired – or you just want new glasses – schedule an eye exam with an eye doctor near you.