Like healthy eyes, clean and comfortable eyewear gives the wearer an unobstructed view of the world.
Unfortunately, spectacles are positioned so that they catch oils from makeup, lotions and from your face. Also hands and fingertips can cause residue build-up and smudges on your lenses and frames. Lint and food crumbs—things that don’t belong on your spectacle lenses—often find their way there!
We need our spectacles to be as clean as possible, but how do we give them a thorough clean without scratching the lenses?
1. Clean, dry hands: The most basic thing: keep your hands clean and dry, free of any oil or lotion that could be transferred onto your lenses. Dust or particles from your hand could scratch the lens surface when you wipe.
2. For plastic frames: Dishwashing liquid is a good product to clean your eyeglasses when you notice a build-up of oils and grime. For eyewear with plastic frames, run your spectacles under lukewarm water and apply a small drop of dishwashing liquid onto the lens, wash and rinse gently using your fingertips (front and back), also rinse the whole frame with lukewarm water and dry with a good quality tissue then a microfibre cleaning cloth for the best results.
3. For metal frames: For eyewear with metal frames, clean using the same method as above. Pad arms, nose pads, and hinges collect dirt and grime, which are hard to clean with just your fingers. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently remove them, making sure you do not brush the lenses.
4. For other types of frames: For frames made of rare of unknown material, a safe way to clean them is wiping the frames with soft cloth dipped in lukewarm water (not hot!) and then wiping with a microfibre cleaning cloth. Better yet, ask the staff where you purchased your frame for cleaning instructions.
5. Cleaning cloth: Do not use clothing to clean your spectacles as by doing this, dust particles could scratch your lenses, and not all fabrics are fine and soft enough for your lenses. Do not use paper towels or napkins as they can have rough fibres that can scratch your lenses and leave debris. Use good quality tissue and a microfibre cloth.
6. Lens-cleaning products: Don’t use products containing acetone, ammonia or bleach—chemicals that cause lens coating to break down. Use lens cleaners specific for eyewear or as recommended by your optical dispenser.
7. Dry wiping: Unless there isn’t water and you really need to wipe them, refrain from wiping your lenses without washing them with soapy warm water first. Wiping without washing will only smear the grease around your lenses without really cleaning them. Frequently dry-wiping multicoated lenses could damage the coating.
8. Professional intervention: Don’t attempt to clean hard-to-reach parts without the proper tools. If parts of your glasses seem impossible to clean and doing so poses a risk to damage your spectacles, go to your optical shop. Your technician will safely clean them for you and advise you if some parts are worn and needed replacement, e.g., yellowed nosepads.
Also ask from your local optical store if they have a free cleaning service using an ultrasonic cleaner.
You want the best visual performance from your eyewear, so make sure you do your part: clean your eyewear regularly, exercise discipline the next time you want to grab the nearest cloth to wipe your glasses. To make things easier for you, always have a microfibre square cloth in your spectacle case. You want your lenses to give you your best vision—see that you don’t scratch them on a whim.