Many of you wear glasses, and those of you that don’t, probably have a favorite pair of sunglasses. We all know that wearing glasses all day or taking sunglasses on and off can result in a vision-blocking smudge-fest. Often you’ll reach for whatever is handy, your shirt or a paper towel and hot water, to clean your frames and we’re here to tell you STOP. The fact of the matter is that quality eyewear isn’t cheap, so stop abusing your glasses when you clean them.
We are the first to admit we’ve used the corner of our shirt to clean our glasses. We know it’s wrong, but we have done it. The problem is your shirt probably isn’t 100% clean and even the smallest bits of dust can scratch your glasses. While many optometrists will suggest a microfiber cloth, a clean cotton cloth will also suffice. If you do opt for a microfiber cloth, remember to run them through the washing machine in cold water (hot water damages the fabric so it is no longer effective) on a regular basis. They are designed to trap dirt and dust when using them to clean, so they need to be washed in order to remove the grime. We also don’t suggest using your tie or a scarf, as many of those items are created with a fabric weave that could scratch your glasses.
As for the cleaner, your basic dish soap and hot water works well (just refrain from reaching for that handy, rough paper towel). The eyeglass cleaner spray that comes with cleaning kits can work well enough, but often simple soap and water at the kitchen sink works fine, and is less expensive. You should never use anything with bleach, ammonia, or vinegar as these chemicals will strip away the outer protective coating of your lenses. The same goes for window cleaner. It seems obvious, but just in case, never use spit. Saliva could transfer bacteria to your glasses and possibly cause an eye infection down the road.
The key to protecting your glasses during the cleaning process is to be prepared. Plan ahead and make time to clean your glasses in the morning before you leave your house and have a couple cloths handy (in your car and at work) for those less predictable times you need to clean your frames. We never want to see you use your shirt again!