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How to Clean Your Glasses Safely (& Effectively)

Glasses don’t just help you see clearly; they’re also an important fashion accessory that allows you to express your unique style! That said, you probably want to do more than simply look through your glasses — you also want them to look their best while you’re wearing them. Keeping your glasses clean will help achieve both goals.

Hold on, though — did you know there’s a right way to clean glasses? And of course, that means there are plenty of wrong ways as well. Use this guide to make sure you’re cleaning your glasses safely and effectively, so you can protect both your eyesight and your investment.

A person wearing a sweater and cleaning glasses with a soft white cloth

How NOT to Clean Glasses

Most of the damage people cause while trying to clean their glasses comes from working too hard or using harsh products. Remember, glasses are sensitive instruments made from fragile materials — it’s better to be too gentle than too rough.

For best results, avoid the following tools and techniques when you clean your glasses:

  • Hot water, which may damage the coatings on some lenses
  • Chemicals with acidic properties, such as vinegar and lemon juice
  • Chemicals that may leave a residue, including lotion-based detergents
  • Rough fabrics like clothing scraps, paper towels, toilet paper, and sandpaper
  • Toothpaste (some people try using toothpaste to remove scratches from their lenses, but this is a bad idea — we’ll explain why later)

Easy Steps for Cleaning Glasses Properly

If you want to polish your glasses without the risk of damaging them, then follow this simple routine. We estimate that it should take no more than 20 seconds or so once you have all the required materials.

Start with Clean Hands

You can’t clean glasses effectively with dirty hands, so be sure to wash them first! Scrubbing your paws will rid them of dirt, grease, and anything else that could leave prints on your lenses while you’re working.

Rinse with Water

Now it’s time to focus on your glasses. Start by holding them under the tap and turning the water on gently. As we mentioned earlier, be sure to keep the temperature at or below lukewarm to protect your lenses.

Apply Cleaning Solution

Special lens cleaning sprays exist, but if you don’t have one, you can also use dish soap — provided that it isn’t fruit-scented or lotion-based. You only need a little, so dab a single drop on each lens.

Rub Glasses Evenly

If you’re using a lens cleaner, you can skip this step. If you’re using dish soap, rub it evenly across the frames and both sides of each lens. Remember to use a light touch, since you want to avoid putting pressure on the lenses or scratching them with your nails.

As you’re rubbing the soap across your glasses, pay extra attention to areas where dust and facial oils tend to gather. These include:

  • The nose pads
  • The parts of the frames that lay behind your ears
  • The edges of the frames that hold the lenses in place

Rinse Away the Remaining Solution

Hold the glasses under a gentle stream of lukewarm water once more, to rinse away leftover residue. Any soap left on the glasses may smear across them when you wipe them dry.

Dry Your Glasses (Carefully!)

There are two steps to drying your glasses. First, gently shake them off into the basin. Doing so will remove most of the water that may be clinging to them. Don’t shake your glasses too hard — you don’t want to damage the frames!

Next, use a clean cloth to polish the frames and lenses gently. Some people recommend using a cotton towel — but we strongly recommend a microfibre cloth made from nylon or polyester instead, which will be less likely to cause scratches or leave behind lint.

Check Your Work

Finally, examine your glasses and make sure they’re clean. If you notice any stray water spots or streaks, gently dab them away with a micro-fibre cloth. Voila! Your glasses should be ready for business again.

Black pair of glasses on white background with scratched lenses

A Note on “Fixing” Scratched Lenses

“Wait,” you say — “what can I do if my lenses are scratched?” We hate to break this to you, but the answer is “not much.” A quick Google search will tell you many people apply toothpaste to scratched lenses, but that method is more likely to damage your lenses than improve them.

The chemicals in toothpaste can easily damage the coating on many lenses. You may also find toothpaste hard to remove without rubbing your lenses too hard, due to its thickness. The best way to protect your lenses from scratches is simply to avoid scratching them in the first place.

Clean Glasses Make Happy Faces

You wouldn’t go out in public with a dirty face, so why go out with dirty glasses? Cleaning them is as easy as following a few simple steps, and you can do it in less than a minute. Just follow the steps above, and enjoy glasses that look as polished as the day you bought them.

Written by Jackie Fox

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