A woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

Worst and Best Ways to Clean Your Eyeglasses

You just paid a small fortune for new eyeglasses. On top of the cost for prescription lenses and fashionable frames, you opted for anti-reflective, anti-scratch, and UV coatings too. 

A woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

After all, eyesight is a precious thing and it’s only wise to do all you can to protect it, right? Absolutely! But here’s the deal: You may be destroying your investment one cleaning at a time.

Modern-day lens coatings for eyeglasses are revolutionary in the way that they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but also provide comfort for your eyes. And these coatings are fairly durable. Just know that Anti-Scratch does not mean 100% scratch-proof. It only somewhat helps to prevent minor scratches that can easily happen to a regular lens.

Think of the following as “never-ever” ways to clean eyeglasses because they can break down the coatings—stripping them of their qualities and leaving a mess instead.

  • window or glass and mirror cleaner
  • ammonia
  • bleach
  • vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • toothpaste
  • paper towels
  • facial tissues
  • exhaling onto the lenses
  • your shirt

The wood pulp in paper towels and facial tissues and the tiny fibers in shirt fabric can make fine scratches that will eventually create a kind of visual haze that’s impossible to remove. Think of paper and fabric as extremely fine-grit sandpaper.

Now that we have the worst things you can use to clean your eyeglasses out of the way, here are the best things to clean and protect your eyeglasses to maintain their beauty and increased longevity.

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Best

  • water
  • dishwashing liquid
  • rubbing alcohol
  • microfiber cloth
  • lens wipes

How to clean eyeglasses

Follow these steps for cleaning eyeglasses and sunglasses:

  1. To start, run your glasses under lukewarm water. Don’t use hot water because it will decrease the lifespan of some lenses with coatings.
  2. Put a small drop of dish soap—blue Dawn is ideal—on your fingertips. Gently rub on both sides of the lenses and the nose pads. The best way to clean eyeglasses at home is with dish soap. Even the American Optometric Association recommends it.
  3. Rinse with warm water, and gently dry with a clean, microfiber cloth. Use light touches. The microfiber cloth leaves no lint, so your glasses should be perfectly clean.
  4. Use individually-wrapped lens wipes to keep your eyeglasses clean throughout the day. Or a spritz of rubbing alcohol from a spray bottle followed with a microfiber cloth.

A pair of sunglasses, with Lens and Cleaning

 

Deep clean machine

Feel like your glasses have been through a lot and need a deep clean? Consider investing in an eyeglass cleaning machine for periodic deep-cleaning that gets all the gunk and grime out of the hinges, nose piece, pads, and crevices—all without harming the protective coatings*. This maintenance step is crucial to protect your eyeglasses’ longevity and clarity.

With any ultrasound cleaning machine like this Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Eyeglasses and Jewelry Cleaner, always use clean lukewarm water even if the directions call for hot water. The high temperature can actually warp your frames and lens coating. While tap water is OK, filtered water is highly recommended.

Follow the instructions provided with the machine and in 10 minutes, your eyeglasses’ deep-cleaning will be complete. So amazing!

*Caution: Ultrasound cleaning is not recommended for eyeglasses with scratched lenses.

First published: 6-27-18; Updated 8-15-20

 

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22 replies
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  1. Linda D Radosevich says:

    I have a funny story having to do with lenses…I worked for an optometrist for 18 years, and one of our patients had ordered a pair of plastic lenses with the guaranteed anti-scratch coating. A week after she picked up her glasses, she brought them back with many scratches on the lenses! She’d been very careful to always keep them in a soft case when she wasn’t wearing them, and when she put them down, to make sure they weren’t resting on the lenses. We replaced the lenses, and she picked them up, again. And AGAIN, a week later, she was back with scratched lenses! She started investigating as to what was causing these scratches, and to her chagrin, found an emery board inside her soft glasses case! Mystery solved!

    Reply
  2. Linda Radosevich says:

    Another reason NOT to pull out a shirt tail to clean your glasses: there could be dust particles on your lenses that will scratch them. I worked for an optometrist for 18 years, and rinsing under warm running water was always the first step to cleaning glasses, followed by dish soap.

    Reply
  3. Pat C says:

    I have plastic lenses with an anti-scratch as well as ant-reflection coating. I just use water and regular hand soap (Ivory or Ivory knock off not the kind that has hand cream built in) and dry on a clean dry bath/hand/tea towel. I’ve been doing this forever, as in nearly 60 years. It removes the greasy finger prints and doesn’t damage either coating or cause scratches .

    Reply
  4. keyur patel says:

    I’ve been using iCloths (iCloth – Select a wipe size for your device) or (Amazon.com: iCloth) for several years now. They are the perfect phone screen cleaner, hands down!! I’ve tried other products from dry cloths, to alcohol rubs, to my t-shirt, nothing else comes close to clearing so thoroughly.

    Reply
  5. Julie says:

    My formula for cleaning eyeglass lenses is 50% distilled water and 50% rubbing alcohol in a small spray bottle. Shake and spray lenses both sides then wipe with a microfiber cloth. I bought my excellent quality microfiber cloths from FlyLady.com.

    Reply
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