Best Practices: How to Clean Your Glasses

How many people do you know that wear glasses? We’re willing to bet it’s more than a few. In fact, a 2020 Vision Council of America statistic states that over four billion people wear glasses. An average of 75% of U.S. residents need vision correction, 64% wear glasses and 11% wear contacts. You would think that basic eyewear care would be common knowledge, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. So, this begs the question; How do you effectively clean your glasses? Should we use our shirts and fog from our breath, an ultrasonic cleaner, or maybe take them to a jeweler and let them take care of it? Well, let’s talk about it. 

Cleaning your glasses daily may seem like a tedious task but it is an easy check off the to-do list that future you will thank you for. Purchasing a new pair of glasses is an investment and taking proper care of your frames will help them last longer! 

The most common way to clean the lenses is pretty straightforward: microfiber cloth and lens cleaning spray. Simply spritz the lens and wipe it down with the microfiber cloth. Unlike the fabric of your shirt or dish towel, the microfiber thoroughly cleans the lenses without leaving scratches. Queue a crowd of people: “But Alicia, I’ve been using my shirt for months now and the lenses are fine!” You may not notice the marks on your lenses right now, but your shirt is leaving micro scratches that will grow over time and could potentially rub off the anti-reflective coating. Now, let’s say it together: “Don’t use your shirt to clean your glasses!” 

Let’s talk about how a long day of gardening in the Memphis heat affects your frames. When it comes to dirt and sweat, that microfiber cloth and a spritz of the lens cleaner aren’t going to do the trick. For a deeper clean, you can use gentle dish soap (no lotions added, please!). Using your fingers, gently lather a small amount of soap on your lenses and rinse under lukewarm water. After rinsing, thoroughly dry your glasses to prevent any damage to the frame. To dry the frame, use a microfiber cloth. If there are no dried fabric softeners and you use it solely for glasses maintenance, a thin cotton cloth works, too. Once your glasses are dry, you can hand wash the microfiber cloth with the same gentle dish soap and toss it in the dryer without a dryer sheet for just a couple of minutes, and it should be as good as new! If you do regularly use fabric softeners in the dryer, we suggest you hang it to dry instead.

Speaking of that Memphis heat, let’s go over what too much heat can do to your glasses. At Eclectic Eye, we encourage everyone to get the anti-reflective (AR) coating on all prescription glasses. The AR coating makes your lenses more scratch-resistant and helps reduce glare and reflections. Using this product will make the lenses easier to clean and can even help you see more clearly while in dim lighting. We must remember coatings come off over time or if they’re exposed to the wrong elements. If you were to leave your glasses on the dashboard of your car in direct sunlight, or even outside in the blazing heat, the coating can start to “craze”. Crazing lenses will make you crazy!

Essentially, the AR coating starts to melt when exposed to high temperatures. Crazing causes the lenses to become more brittle, so small scratch-like marks will start to appear. Unfortunately, the only cure for crazing is to re-lens the frame. Crazing can occur on non-prescription glasses, too. Especially if the lenses are polarized. And while high temperatures initiate crazing, cleaning your glasses with improper equipment can worsen it. And vice versa.

Do you remember at the beginning of this blog I said something about a fancy ultrasonic cleaner? Here’s the scoop. Ultrasonic cleaner is typically used by jewelers when they deep clean pieces. The cleaner uses different sound frequencies to effectively clean the crevices that are too small to be cleaned by hand. It’s shaped like a tiny deep fryer with a little basket and all. The liquid that is used in the cleaner varies from place to place but they all have one thing in common. Water. That’s right good ol’ H2O. Water alone does virtually nothing but adding different solvents to this product achieves deeper cleans.

Where can you get one for yourself? Ultrasonic cleaners are available to purchase on the web. But read those reviews, not all are created equal. When you buy it, you can use water and just a couple of drops of gentle dish soap and set your glasses in for about five to ten minutes before drying them. This process can be done to your glasses as often as once a week, depending on how often you are wearing them. Don’t need another gadget? Bring them to Eclectic Eye and one of our Eyewear Architects will take care of this process for you.

If you ever have any questions about your lenses; you can always call, text, or stop by and we will be more than happy to help.