What is the Best Way to Clean Glasses?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

There are a variety of ways to clean glasses, all of which focus on removing residue without damaging the lenses. It is very important to know what kind of glasses you have before you clean them, however, as some have special protective finishes that can be damaged through some cleaning processes. When you order new glasses, make sure to ask about any special care directions your optometrist has for the new lenses.

Optometrists recommend lens wipes to clean glasses.
Optometrists recommend lens wipes to clean glasses.

One of the best ways to clean eyeglass lenses quickly is with specialized lens wipes, which are formulated to be gentle on the glass or plastic. Many optometrists sell such wipes, and they can also be found in drug stores. To clean glasses with glasses wipes, follow the directions on the packaging.

Rinsing a pair of glasses under warm water will aid in cleaning them.
Rinsing a pair of glasses under warm water will aid in cleaning them.

For a more thorough cleaning, you can wash your glasses. Start by cleaning the nosepads and then rinsing the glasses under warm water to remove dirt and surface residue. Then, apply a small amount of mild detergent to your clean fingers and use them to gently move the soap across the lenses in a circular motion. Make sure not to push on the lenses too hard, as you do not want to scratch them. Rinse the glasses again under warm water; if they are really clean, the lenses will repel water, so all that you need to do is dry the frames with a soft cotton cloth.

Different cleaning methods are available depending on the type of material glasses lens are made of.
Different cleaning methods are available depending on the type of material glasses lens are made of.

To get at dirt under the nosepads, you can use a small toothbrush. Be careful not to touch the lenses, as the bristles can scratch them. Keep your glasses clean by storing them in a hard case when you're not wearing them, and try to avoid touching the lenses, as you can scratch them and leave behind deposits of oils from your hands. Optometrists also recommend that you remove your glasses with both hands to avoid bending the frames.

You can be surprised by how dirty glasses will get. If you clean your glasses on a regular basis, you might find your life clearer and generally more enjoyable, so you may want to get into the habit of cleaning them at a set time every week or even every day. For quickie touch-ups, carry a soft, lint-free cloth that you can use to gently swab the lenses to remove flecks of dirt and other particles that might obscure your vision.

Some glasses are treated with protective finishes that can be damaged during cleaning.
Some glasses are treated with protective finishes that can be damaged during cleaning.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Routine daily rinsing (warm water) and drying with a clean cotton (fabric softener-free) cloth.

Use a mild dish detergent like Dawn or Joy- one that removes oil (fingerprints and smudges are oil)

Tests have shown that the right dish detergent performs better than those made for cleaning glasses.

Avoid all paper products- those premoistened towelettes are paper, as are tissues, and paper towels. As an Optician, I remind patients of what happens with our noses when tissues are used too frequently. Paper is made from wood fibers -- it scratches plastic of any type.


My father's optometrist just told him to not use dishwashing liquid on his glasses (which he had been doing).


With my current glasses, purchased around 2005, I believe, with a Zeiss hydrophobic coating, I was told to use no liquid when cleaning the lenses. Just wipe them with a microfiber cloth. The high-index lenses and coating have been highly satisfactory.


When I wash my glasses I first hold them under warm running water, then clean them gently with a clean wet soapy fore-finger, using bar soap, like Ivory (not a 'beauty bar' or a liquid soap).

I rinse them off under cold water, and then shake most of the water off -- I hold the frame with the temples folded and three or dour shakes gets rid of maybe 90 percent of the water on them. Then I dry them with a clean cotton wipe/towel and they're good to go.


I've been told that Glasses wipes are not good for glasses with non-glare coatings because of the alcohol in them. Is that correct?


The specialized lens wipes are excellent and can be found relatively cheap at those bulk warehouse stores. But I've also seen people just wash them under the faucet with regular old dish washing soap and that seemed to do the job just nicely! Perhaps it's not a good idea if you have designer glasses though. Also, I've found q-tips and toothpicks as helpful tools to get into the little cracks and crevices of eyeglasses. Nothing better than a clean pair of glasses!

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