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Best way to clean eyeglasses

Best way to clean eyeglasses

Trying to see through dirty lenses is super annoying. Smudges, little mystery spots, oil. Ugh! It’s even more annoying when you clean your glasses and just end up with more smudges. Or, even worse, scratches. Thankfully, the best way to clean eyeglasses isn’t anything complicated. You can easily learn how to clean eyeglasses properly with a few simple tools and techniques.
Woman wearing sunglasses

But before we get started, there are three basic things you should keep in mind as you learn the best way to clean eyeglasses.

  • 1
    Never use household cleaning products on your glasses
    We’re talking about stuff like window and surface cleaners. These might work great when it comes to dusty everyday surfaces, but your glasses are more sensitive than your windows. In fact, some household cleaning products can ruin smudge-resistant lens coatings, which makes your glasses more prone to grime in the long run.
    Woman wearing sunglasses
  • 2
    Choose your cleaning cloth wisely
    Some fabrics cause scratches, others aren’t good at removing oil and end up causing streaks. Overall, your cleaning cloth is just as important as your cleaning solution. (We’ll go in-depth on picking the best glasses cleaning cloth later.)
    Woman wearing sunglasses
  • 3
    Think about the type of glasses you’re dealing with
    The best way to clean eyeglasses isn’t one-size-fits-all — it depends on the type of glasses you have and the type of grime on your lenses. But don’t worry, each cleaning process is pretty simple no matter what you’re facing
    Woman wearing sunglasses

How to clean eyeglasses without scratching

You’re probably wondering how to get smudges off glasses. We’ll cover that, but you have to remember that some cleaning methods can remove smudges while causing scratches. That’s why it’s important to learn how to clean eyeglasses without scratching your lenses.
Woman wearing sunglasses

Two main culprits when it comes to scratched lenses: debris and cleaning cloths

There are two main culprits when it comes to scratched lenses: debris and cleaning cloths. Throughout the day, stuff like sand and dust gets caught on your lenses. If you start cleaning your glasses without getting rid of that debris, you’ll probably end up scratching your lenses - (it’s like running sandpaper over them).
Woman wearing sunglasses
The same goes for wiping your lenses with a random piece of fabric. If that fabric has debris caught in it or if it’s too rough, you might end up with scratched specs.

Here’s the good news: there’s a simple way to clean most eyeglasses without scratching the lenses — all you need is soap, water, and a microfiber cloth.

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Step

Wash your hands to avoid adding more debris to your lenses

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Rinse your glasses under lukewarm tap water

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Add a small drop of dish soap to your lenses

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Gently rub the lenses between your fingers to clean them

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Rinse your glasses and shake off the excess water

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Step

Dry your glasses with a microfiber cloth

You probably got a microfiber cleaning cloth when you purchased your glasses, but if you didn’t, you can use a lint-free towel instead. Make sure the towel hasn’t been washed with fabric softener or dried with a dryer sheet, these can leave residue on the towel that will smear your lenses.

How to get spots off eyeglasses

Cleaning your lenses with tap water and soap is useful, but what should you do when those little spots show up? And what if you don’t have access to a sink? Here’s how to get spots off eyeglasses. In most cases, spots on your lenses are made of residual minerals. If water splashes on your lens and dries, the evaporation process leaves behind things like sodium.
Woman wearing sunglasses
This makes it hard to see, but it can also scratch your glasses — especially if the spots come from mineral-heavy saltwater. That means the best way to remove spots is to avoid them altogether. Always take a second to dry your lenses with a microfiber cloth if they get wet.

If you end up with spots anyway, dissolving them is better than scrubbing them.

Your best option is to run tap water over your lenses until the spots disappear, then dry them with a lint-free towel or a microfiber cloth. If the spots don’t dissolve after a few moments, lightly rub them with your finger. However, if you don’t have access to a sink, generously applying a lens cleaning solution can dissolve those pesky spots too.

Woman wearing sunglasses

How to clean blue light glasses

The best way to clean blue light glasses is the same as standard prescription lenses — using tap water and soap. But remember: some blue light glasses are made from less durable materials that could warp when heated, so be sure to avoid hot water.

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Warning

Don’t use hot water, it could warp the lenses

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Avoid soap with lotion, it will smear your lenses

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Dry your glasses with a microfiber cloth

It’s also a good idea to check the rims of your blue light glasses for buildup. These glasses tend to be worn while looking straight ahead at your computer, so you might not notice dirty edges. You can use a cotton swab to clean these sections.

How to remove oil from eyeglasses

The standard soap and water technique is an excellent way to remove oil from your eyeglasses, but lens cleaning solutions are more useful for everyday life. You might not have access to a sink if you’re out for the day, so it’s smart to bring two things with you in case your glasses get oily: a lens cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth.
Woman wearing sunglasses
Lens cleaning solutions are really easy to find at drug stores, but you might get a free bottle after an eye exam. In most cases, these cleaners are made from isopropyl alcohol and water.

Here’s how to remove oil from eyeglasses with a lens cleaner and a microfiber cloth:

Your lenses might have sand or other scratch-causing debris, so be liberal with the lens cleaner. Too little could result in scratches. If possible, it’s always a good idea to run your glasses under tap water first to reduce the chance of scratches.

1

Apply the cleaning solution to both sides of your lenses

2

Rub the microfiber cloth in a circular motion to remove the cleaner

3

Check your lenses for oily spots and repeat if necessary

Be careful: if your glasses have an anti-reflective (AR) coating, not all cleaning solutions are safe. Make sure your cleaning solution is approved for use on AR lenses, or go with the soap and tap water option.

Best glasses cleaning cloth

Believe it or not, a lot of really soft materials can scratch your lenses. In fact, most fabrics will either scratch your lenses or just push around the grime and cause more smudges.

Woman wearing sunglasses
1

It’s tempting, but never use your shirt to clean your glasses. Even super clean clothing is likely to cause scratches and most fabrics will result in more smudging thanks to residual soap or fabric softener.

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Don’t reach for a napkin either. Napkins (and paper towels) will cause small scratches over time and almost always leave lint on your lens.

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Overall, the best glasses cleaning cloth is a microfiber cloth. They’re really good at trapping oil and dirt without scratching your specs.

If you don’t have a microfiber cloth on hand, using a lint-free towel can work. If you wash your glasses and don’t have a microfiber cloth or a safe towel available, it’s better to let your glasses air dry than to use a harmful fabric.

How to clean sunglasses at home

Like prescription lenses, sunglasses can be cleaned using lukewarm water and soap. However, sunglasses might be especially vulnerable to scratch-causing buildup thanks to their outdoor use (eg. sand from the beach). That means you should take extra time to remove any debris from your sunglasses before rubbing them with soap or a microfiber cloth.
Woman wearing sunglasses
Sunglasses might also have more sweat and dirt along their frames than prescription lenses. You can wash your frames with soap and water, then use a cotton swab to clean any hard-to-reach crevices.

If your sunglasses have any removable rubber padding, remove it then clean it with hand sanitizer.

Rubber can act like a sponge, absorbing oils and sweat, so leaving padding uncleaned could reduce its lifespan. Finally, you might be in the habit of cleaning your sunglasses with your breath then rubbing them on your shirt. That might be convenient, but it’s not effective. Beyond causing scratches, this method just smears around oils and results in a dirtier lens.

How to clean polarized glasses

Unlike other lenses, polarized glasses might be sensitive to cleaning solutions and soap. This is due to the lens’s specialized coatings that might be damaged by cleaning products.
Woman wearing sunglasses
Not all polarized lenses are the same, so you should always consult your manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your polarized glasses.

In many cases, lukewarm water and a microfiber cloth are all you need to effectively clean your polarized glasses.

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Step

Rinse your glasses to remove debris

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Step

Gently rub the lenses between your thumb and forefinger

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Step

Dry your glasses with a microfiber cloth

Polarized lenses are sensitive, so it’s best to stick with water in most situations. However, using a lens cleaning solution might be necessary if you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn smudge. If that’s the case, use a lens cleaner that doesn’t contain alcohol.
Finally, it’s important to remember that not all sunglasses are polarized. If you have non-polarized sunglasses, cleaning your lenses with soap or a lens cleaning solution is just fine.