Do you wear glasses? If you are like almost half of all Americans, you wear some sort of corrective lenses.
Even if you wear contact lenses most of the time, you probably still have a spare pair of glasses sitting on your bathroom counter or resting neatly inside their case on top of your nightstand, next to your bed.
Do you know how to properly clean your glasses? Or do you just buff the lenses with your shirt and call it a day?
You may find it worthwhile to learn how to clean your glasses properly, following the cleaning regimen described further in this post.
Why You Should Learn How to Clean Your Glasses
Learning how to properly clean your glasses can help extend the lifespan of your lenses.
Today’s eyeglass lenses are made of polycarbonate plastic and usually have an anti-reflective coating. Plastic can be easily scratched, and coatings can be damaged, either of which can mean the end of the line for your glasses.
While an eyeglass case can provide some protection for your eyewear, they’ll still get dirty when you wear them. It’s not enough to simply wipe them down with a tissue or the edge of your shirt.
In the first case, facial tissues are abrasive, no matter how soft they may feel to your hands. You’ll only smear your lenses and over time, you’ll scratch them. The same goes for using your shirt. A cotton t-shirt might seem like a nice, soft fabric to use for cleaning your glasses, but your clothing carries dust and lint which can also scratch your glasses.
Do you use glass cleaner on your lenses to clean your glasses?
Put that spray bottle of blue stuff back in your cabinet and step away! Cleaning products can break down that anti-reflective coating on your lenses and cause them to appear foggy or make the surface of the lens look bubbly.
What about those little bottles of eyeglass cleaner sold at your optometrist’s office?
Eyeglass cleaner is fine for touch-ups or when soap and water aren’t available, but they shouldn’t be your first choice. As with many household items – dishes, clothing, your own body – the best way to clean your glasses is with soap and water.
Chances are, when you clean your glasses, you aren’t wetting them in the sink and cleaning them with soap. That takes too long and you only have a minute!
Well, those extra minutes spent cleaning your glasses in the sink might be worth it.
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Clean Glasses Properly
The process for cleaning your glasses properly may seem labor-intensive, and certainly takes much more time than just giving your glasses a wipe down with the corner of your shirt. You’ll notice a difference right away, though, not just in your vision, but in how you feel.
Give it a try!
1. Wash Your Hands
Before you clean your glasses, your hands should be clean of any grease, dirt, or other substances that could make your job more difficult. Make sure you wash thoroughly, lathering and scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.
Use a soap that doesn’t contain lotion and dry your hands with a lint-free towel. Your goal is to get rid of anything that could be transferred to your glasses during the cleaning process.
2. Rinse Your Glasses in the Sink with Lukewarm Water
You aren’t just rinsing your lenses here, you’re rinsing the whole pair of glasses, nosepieces and earpieces included. Dirt can migrate, so the best way to begin cleaning your lenses is to clean everything attached to them. Eliminate the surface dust and grime that can be easily rinsed off with water alone.
Don’t use hot water because it can damage the coating on your lenses and if you have a plastic frame, hot water can cause warping. Make sure the water is nice and tepid.
3. Apply a Small Amount of Dish Soap to the Lenses
Put a small drop of lotion-free dishwashing soap to each lens. Use only a tiny amount because dish soap is extremely concentrated, so if you’re worried about using too much, put a drop on your finger instead. Gently rub in a circular motion all over both surfaces of each lens.
Rub some soap on and around the nose pads, outside of the frame, and around the parts of the temples that go behind your ears. If your nose pads are particularly dirty, take a cotton swab with a tiny drop of soap and clean the affected area. You can also use this method if you notice gunk collecting in between the frame and the lens itself.
This is the meat and potatoes of the glasses cleaning process, so be thorough – and gentle!
4. Carefully Rinse Your Glasses after Cleaning Them
After cleaning your glasses meticulously, rinse them completely. This may seem obvious, but if you get lazy and leave a bit of soap on your lenses, they’ll be smeared when you dry them off.
Don’t forget to rinse the frame, as well. You may need to rinse your glasses more than once to make sure you’ve removed all the soap.
When you’re sure all the soap is gone, shake your glasses gently to remove the excess water. Double check the lenses to make sure they aren’t smudged. If you find smudges, go back to step 3!
5. Dry Your Glasses with a Clean Cloth
Once your glasses are clean and free of smudges and smears, dry them off with a clean, lint-free towel or better, a microfiber cloth. Don’t use a towel that has been dried with fabric softener, because it will smudge your lenses.
Dry gently, using the same circular motion you employed to soap up your glasses, and don’t forget to dry off the nose pads and temples.
Check the lenses to see if you can spot any lingering smudges. If you do, check to make sure your towel was perfectly clean, get a fresh one if necessary, and go back to step 2!
Other Ways to Keep Your Glasses Clean
As mentioned earlier, if you notice smudging on your lenses in the middle of the day, or when you’re out and about, you can use the eyeglass cleaner you can find for sale at your optometrist’s office or wherever you buy your glasses.
Learning how to clean your glasses properly isn’t the only way to protect the longevity of your lenses. Simply by remembering a few simple tips, you can extend the life of your glasses.
In between cleaning your glasses with soap and water, you should remember:
By following these simple tips, as well as mastering how to clean your glasses with soap and water, you can reliably extend the life of your eyewear and continue seeing clearly.
When to Clean Your Glasses
Now that you know how to properly clean your glasses, when and how often should you clean them?
Well, the best time of day to clean your glasses is in the morning as you are getting ready for your day. Ideally, you should clean them every morning – yes, every morning!
This may sound intimidating if you aren’t already in the habit of cleaning your glasses with soap and water every morning, but once you get into the habit, it won’t seem so difficult. Remember the importance of maintenance throughout the day.
If you smudge your lenses by midafternoon, keep a few individually wrapped disposable lens wipes or a small bottle of eyeglass cleaner and a microfiber cloth handy. While not the ideal way to clean your glasses, these stopgap measures can help keep your lenses from getting scratched over time and can make the task of cleaning your glasses easier in the morning.