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How to clean your glasses: The best ways to keep your prescription eyeglasses as good as new

cleaning eyeglasses
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Cleaning your eyeglasses is important to protect your investment and your eyes. However, many people may not know that cleaning prescription eyeglasses takes special care. Making a mistake can damage lenses, so read carefully for the best ways to clean them and a step-by-step process.

What you'll need

Depending on the method you choose, you'll need the following:

Cleaning prescription eyeglasses: step-by-step

Step 1: Wash your hands

It's very important that your hands be dirt and grime-free when cleaning your prescription eyeglasses. Even lotion on your hands can damages your lenses and any coatings that may have been applied. Use soap when washing your hands, and don't forget to dry them with a clean, lint-free towel. Microfiber cloths or towels are a good option as they don't molt and are soft enough to not damage lenses. 

Step 2: Rinse your glasses

Next, rinse your glasses in lukewarm water. If you're running the faucet, make sure that the stream of water is gentle, or else the coatings applied to your glasses may be damaged. Using hot water can also be damage prescription lenses. 

Step 3: Apply a dab lotion-free dish washing soap to the lenses and rub both sides

It's important to not use much dish washing liquid in this step, and to make sure that the one you are using is lotion-free. Then, gently rub both sides of both lenses, including the nose pads and the corners where the lenses meet the frame. This if often where dead skin cells, dirt, and oil accumulate. 

Step 4: Rinse both sides of the lenses

Again, under a gentle stream of lukewarm water, rinse all of the dish washing soap off the lenses. 

Step 5: Dry the lenses

Shake your glasses gently to get residual water off, then take a dry lint-free and clean cloth to wipe off the rest. Clean dish towels are an acceptable option, but any cotton towel will do. If your lenses are still not clean, you can use a microfiber cloth to wipe off residue. 

Cleaning prescription eyeglasses: common mistakes

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 prescription glasses lenses - Even soft paper can scratch and damage the coating 
  • Using your saliva to clean prescription lenses - This is simply unhygienic 
  • Using glass or surface cleaners to clean eyeglasses - Again this can be abrasive and damage the lens coating

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. Of course, to wipe off the cleaner, you'll still need the clean cotton cloth or microfiber cloth. 

Alternatively, if you want to clean your glasses on the go then you can fill a small spray bottle with water and add a drop of lotion-free kitchen soap. Shake it well, spray your lenses, allow to rest for a few seconds and wipe away with a lint-free cloth. Now you have a glasses cleaner you can use anywhere for a fraction of the cost of glasses cleaning spray.