How to clean your glasses

How to clean your glasses
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The cost of prescription eyewear can run into the hundreds of dollars, especially if you have invested in a pair of the best eyeglasses online for your specific needs. With that in mind, learning how to clean your glasses properly not only rids them of pesky smudges, grime and dust, it’ll help them last longer too, so you’ll get your money’s worth.

Not only that, but studies have shown that bacteria is more likely to grow on glasses that haven’t been cleaned for a while, with germ hotspots including the ear and nose pads. Trust us, you don’t want that getting anywhere near your eyes and nose. 

Cleaning your glasses should therefore be a regular event, with some experts even going as far as to advise daily cleaning. However often you can get to it, here’s how to clean your glasses properly… and the methods you should avoid or else risk damaging your lenses.

How to clean your glasses: What you’ll need

Cleaning should only take about 20 seconds or so once you know what you’re doing. Depending on the method you choose, you'll need the following supplies:

  • Microfiber cloth - for smear-free and scratch free cleaning
  • Glasses cleaning solution - a spray purpose-made from eyeglasses
  • Lotion-free dish soap - use this if you don’t have cleaning solution
  • Clean, lint-free towel to dry your glasses

While some people think that switching to the best contact lenses online is easier, as there are simply no glasses to clean, you'll still have to stay on top of your hand hygiene. 

How to clean your glasses: Step-by-step

1. Wash your hands
Coronavirus aside, hand hygiene is important to avoid transferring germs from your hands to your glasses. Even lotion on your hands can damage your lenses and any specialist coatings that may have been applied.

2: Rinse your glasses
Next, rinse your glasses in warm (never hot) water to get rid of surface dust, grit and other things that could end up scratching your lenses. 

3. Grab that microfiber cloth
Now you need to wipe down your glasses, including the frames and lenses. A microfiber cloth is best because it won’t transfer any annoying lint or other types of fabric debris to the lenses.

A woman wearing black frame eyeglasses smiles at her phone

(Image credit: Getty)

4. Spritz your lenses with cleaning solution
If you own a bottle of glasses cleaning liquid, spray it on both sides of your lenses and follow the manufacturer’s specific instructions for how long to leave it on, and how to remove it. No solution? Then use a drop of lotion-free dish soap on both sides of your lenses, carefully rub it in, then rinse in warm water.

5. Wash and rinse the frames
This is one of the most important steps, as your frames are where bacteria likes to grow. Pay attention to the nose pads, but don’t rub them too vigorously or they might come loose or fall off. We use a lotion-free dish soap when washing the frames, before rinsing under warm water. As the nose pad sits directly against your skin, it’s important to ensure this area is cleaned regularly.

6. Dry your clean glasses
Finally, dry your glasses on a lint-free, clean cloth. If you’re left with any residue, run a microfiber cloth over your glasses again.

What to avoid when cleaning your glasses

There are many common mistakes that prescription eyeglasses owners can make without realizing it. A few include:

  • Using paper towel, toilet paper, or napkins to clean lenses - even soft paper can scratch and damage the coating. 
  • Using your saliva to clean prescription lenses - this is simply unhygienic! 
  • Using drinking glass or surface cleaners to clean eyeglasses - again this can be abrasive and damage the lens coating.
  • Using products with acetone - this could destroy your lenses and plastic frames if left on for too long

Alternative prescription glasses cleaners

Of course, if you don't have dish washing liquid in your home or if you are away and don't have access to some, almost any convenience store or supermarket will have eyeglasses-specific cleaner for sale. 

You'll need to check if the cleaner is anti-reflective (AR) coating-safe, if your lenses are anti-reflective. Alternatively, if you want to clean your spectacles on the go, you could fill a small spray bottle with water and add a drop of lotion-free kitchen soap. 

Shake it well, spritz it on your lenses, allow to rest for a few seconds, then wipe away with a lint-free cloth. Now you have a glasses cleaner you can use anywhere for a fraction of the cost. For other ways to save, take a look at our guide to the best vision insurance and how it could benefit you. 

Sophie Kaemmerle

Sophie is a born and bred New Yorker who, paradoxically, loves being in the great outdoors. Her favorite pastimes include running, baking, and writing. She also spends her time volunteering and leading volunteer projects with the Good+ Foundation and Achilles International when not providing information on the best deals, products, and services on the internet to TopTenReviews readers.