How to Clean Glasses Without Damaging Them

If you belong to the almost 50 percent of the American population that wears corrective glasses, you understand two major factors that protect your glasses’ ability to help you see: keeping them clean, and keeping them scratch- and blemish-free. Unfortunately, many common habits with regards to the former point can interfere with the latter. When your glasses become soiled, it’s tempting to take the quickest and easiest route to clean them, but doing so can permanently hinder their functionality. Better options include lens-cleaning wipes – or good old soap and water.

Tried, but Not True

One of the most common glasses-cleaning methods used by wearers is the shirttail approach: spit onto the lens, and wipe with the handiest cloth available – the one that’s always at your fingertips. While almost every eyeglass wearer on the planet has done this at one time or another, there are several problems with this approach. It’s rather unhygienic, but more importantly, saliva doesn’t work very well as a cleaning solution. Furthermore, your shirt is unlikely to be specifically designed to protect your lenses from damage. (It’s been reported that one company has, in fact, created such clothing – but unless you’re going to replace your entire wardrobe with glasses-cleaning shirts, you’re better off avoiding this method entirely.) Certain fabrics can be very prone to leaving scratches, and any type of cloth can pick up dust and debris that can damage your lenses.

Keep It Simple

Surprisingly, the preferred method for removing streaks and smears from your vision aids is simply to use liquid hand or dish soap and water, and air dry or wipe with a microfiber cloth. This doesn’t mean that you can grab just anything from under your kitchen sink when you get a spot or smudge. Even if you have glass lenses, window cleaner is a bad idea. Many of today’s lenses have special coatings – for example, to increase scratch resistance or protect from UV rays – and many cleaners can damage these sensitive layers. To get your lenses clean without compromising their surface, plain old soap and water is a good option.

When You’re On the Go 

Unfortunately, you don’t always have a sink and a bottle of liquid soap within arms’ reach whenever you find yourself needing to wipe your lenses clean. To ensure that you can polish your glasses on a moment’s notice, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of carrying lens cleaning towelettes designed for that purpose. This will help you resist the temptation to rely on the spit-and-shine method, and it’s a better option than using a dry cloth alone. A dry surface scratches more easily than a lubricated one, particularly if your lenses are plastic rather than glass. Once they’re scratched, it’s impossible to undo the damage.

With one careless swipe of your shirttail, you can end up with scratches that mar your lenses and interfere with your vision. Protect your investment in your glasses by keeping them clean while minimizing the risk of permanent damage.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic portfolio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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  1. I tend to just use warm water and my fingers in a pinch. Probably not the best option since my fingers could be dirty, but it does work.

  2. LOL, I have never spit on my lenses. However, I am one for the windex and towel method in a pinch.

  3. Small towelettes, what a great idea!

  4. When I wore glasses a lot more, I had a small glass cleaner spray that fit into my purse and a tissue worked well. If there were small towelettes at the time, I would have taken those for sure!

  5. Sometimes I've cleaned my glasses with my saliva, and it is true, are never perfectly clean, nothing like soap for cleaning.

  6. Usually I buy products to clean my glasses, everyone tells me that ordinary soap harms them, It will be interesting to try a time to see the result

  7. I always use windows cleaner on my glasses, and they always end up being damaged easily. Is it possible that the problem is the cleaner?

  8. Thanks for the tips. I have not been wearing glasses for long so I tend to just stick with the cleaning spray and cloth that was provided. Going to try this out this weekend.

  9. Personally, I use only my shirt, water and water vapor (soft-blown from my mouth) for the purpose. But, I have family members who use the lemon/soda combination for their glasses.

  10. I just got a new pair and the lady at the eye doctor said to wash with warm water and soap then dry with the little towel they gave me. Worked pretty good though.

  11. Thanks alot for the information. I work in a optical shop and people as usk all the time how to clean their glasses.


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