Just like anything you wear often, your glasses will get dirty. And grimy glasses aren’t doing anyone any favors: smudges on the lenses make them harder to see through.

Thankfully, learning how to clean your eyeglasses will prevent these outcomes and keep your frames looking fresh. Peep the following guidelines to get your glasses squeaky-clean without causing any damage to their more delicate parts. 

Animated gif illustrating how to clean your glasses in five steps

How to Clean Glasses in 5 Easy Steps

Cleaning your eyeglasses shouldn’t take long at all, and only requires a sink, lint-free towels or cloths, lotion-free dishwashing liquid, and hand soap.

1. Wash and dry your hands

Making sure your hands are clean is the first step to having pristine glasses—you don’t want to transfer oil or dirt from your skin to your frames during the cleaning process. 

Wash your hands with soap (lotion and other additive ingredients can contribute to smudging) and dry them off with a towel that won’t leave specks of lint. 

2. Rinse your glasses under the tap with lukewarm water 

Hold your glasses frames under the faucet and rinse them off well. Lenses too! 

Warm water is best for dislodging dust and gunk, but don’t let it get too hot or you risk damaging any specialized coatings on your lenses.

3. Place a drop of lotion-free dishwashing liquid on each lens, then rub the soap around the lenses and frame

You only need a drop per lens to get your glasses good and clean. Rub the dishwashing liquid over both sides of the lenses with your fingers, then over the entire frame. Pay special attention to the glasses parts most often in contact with your skin, such as the nose pads and temples. 

If you don’t have any dishwashing liquid that will work, you can also use a glasses cleaning solution for this step. Just make sure it’s approved for use with lens coatings, and don’t over-spray it. 

4. Rinse your glasses again

Hold your glasses under running water to get the soap off the frames. 

5. Dry your glasses with a clean microfiber cloth or lint-free towel

You want to use these kinds of cloth because they won’t leave little bits of lint or dust behind. (That would be a major bummer at the last step.) 

Gently dry your glasses and hold them up to the light to look for any persistent smudges or lingering debris. If they pass inspection, go ahead and put them back on. 

The Best Way to Clean Your Glasses

Walking through the steps above should get your glasses suitably clean, but we have some additional tips for ensuring spotless lenses and frames. 

  • If there’s debris trapped in the small nooks of your frame (such as where the frame meets the lenses or around the hinges), try using a cotton swab to clean out these areas before the first rinse. 
  • If your glasses have nose pads, it’s a good idea to spend some time wiping them off—because they’re in direct contact with your skin, they often accumulate more germs than other parts of the frame. A disposable moist towelette with rubbing alcohol can be used here if you want to go above and beyond, but only use it on the pads and not the rest of the frame.
  • Wash your microfiber cloths often. These cloths are experts at trapping dust and will eventually spread it around if they aren’t kept clean themselves. 
  • Always rinse your glasses to get them wet before any vigorous wiping or rubbing. Cleaning glasses when they’re dry often results in scraping and smearing debris across the lenses and frame rather than removing it. 
  • Give your glasses a quick, light cleaning daily and a more thorough cleaning weekly. This schedule should keep them dirt and smudge-free.

The Worst Way to Clean Your Glasses

Now that you know the best way to clean your eyeglasses, what about the don’ts? It’s important to avoid certain cleaning practices that can harm your eyewear, even if they appear to be popular. 

  • Don’t wipe your lenses with part of your shirt—or any part of your clothing, really. Clothing fabric isn’t engineered to clean glasses lenses and can scratch them. 
  • Don’t use any cleaning products other than dishwashing liquid or glasses cleaning solution to clean your glasses. Products such as acetone, alcohol, and household glass cleaners can damage lens coatings. 
  • Don’t use your own saliva, either. That won’t clean your lenses, it’ll just add more germs!
  • If hard water comes out of your tap, consider cleaning your eyeglasses with distilled water instead. 
  • Don’t use disposable paper towels, tissue paper, toilet paper, or napkins to wipe your lenses. These products might feel soft to you, but they can scratch lenses and often leave bits of themselves behind when rubbed too vigorously. 
  • Don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets when you wash and dry your towels and microfiber cloths. The residue they leave on cloth can cause smearing on lenses. 
  • If you notice scratches on your lenses, do not try to rub or buff them out—you’ll probably only make them worse. Take your glasses to an optician if you fear that they’re losing clarity due to damage. 

Other Tips for Keeping Your Glasses Clean

Knowing how to properly clean your glasses will increase their lifespan and keep germs from transferring to your face. But what about different types of glasses, and what should you do when you don’t have access to a sink? 

How do you clean sunglasses? 

You can clean sunglasses in the exact same way that you’d clean glasses with non-tinted lenses: rinsing with warm water and gently rubbing with dishwashing liquid.

Just be aware of any coatings your sunglasses lenses have, and only use dishwashing liquid or glasses cleaner that’s safe for coated lenses. 

How do you clean blue light glasses?

Blue light glasses can be cleaned just like “regular” glasses: with a good rinse and a small amount of soap that won’t damage lens coatings. 

Can you get your glasses professionally cleaned?

Some opticians and optometrists have specialized machines in their offices that can give glasses a deep clean. If it doesn’t seem like your home cleanings are doing the job, contact an eye care professional and see if they can help. 

How do you keep your glasses clean when you’re not wearing them? 

The best way to keep your glasses clean when they’re off your face is to store them securely in a glasses case or pouch with their lenses facing up. Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the case or pouch is clean, too.

How do you clean your glasses while traveling? 

If you can’t easily clean your glasses at a sink, then carrying a glasses cleaning kit with cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth will do the trick while you’re on the move. Spritz and wipe your lenses and frame as needed, and consider investing in a travel case for glasses if you like to have multiple pairs on hand. 

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Each pair includes prescription lenses with scratch-resistant, anti-reflective, and superhydrophobic treatments—and they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

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