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The Dos & Don’ts of Cleaning Eyeglasses

Regularly cleaning your eyeglasses is essential for maintaining clarity of the lenses and removing all unwanted bacteria. Knowing the right way to do it will ensure you don’t cause any unintentional damage to your glasses.

Cleaning your glasses the right way protects your lenses and frames while ensuring that you have clean glasses that support clear vision. Lukewarm water, lotion-free soap, and microfiber cloths are all you need to properly clean your glasses.

Avoid harsh chemicals and rough fabric that can potentially scratch your lenses.

Although wiping your glasses off with your t-shirt is tempting and convenient, you run the risk of damaging your lenses every time you do this.

The best way to clean your glasses is to maintain a proper care routine that only uses materials that are safe for your lenses and frames. In a pinch, prepackaged lens wipes are a safe alternative for cleaning on the go.

Cleaning Your Eyeglasses

Bacteria can live for days on certain surfaces like eyeglasses. Bacteria on the nose pads can cause staph and eye infections.

Using a combination of water, lens cleaner, and clean, dry towels can safely and effectively clean your lenses and frames.

Cleaning your eyeglasses may sound simple enough, but there are a few points to keep in mind to ensure that you don’t cause any damage to your glasses or lens coatings while cleaning. Using the right cleaning supplies is essential for protecting your glasses every time you clean them.

How to Clean Eyeglasses

To avoid causing scratches on your lenses by wiping them off with your shirt, take the time to establish a proper eyeglass care routine. A proper cleaning routine effectively removes dirt and grease that makes eyeglasses foggy and hard to see through. Debris on the lenses can affect your vision and lead to headaches.

Here are simple steps for cleaning your eyeglasses:

  • Always start by washing your hands well with soap and water to remove any dirt, bacteria, and oils from your skin.
  • Rinse your glasses under lukewarm water (not hot water, which could damage lens coatings) to remove any dust or debris.
  • Use a drop of lens cleaner solution or lotion-free soap on each lens.
  • Gently rub both sides of the lenses and around the frames to wash away dirt and bacteria.
  • Thoroughly rinse the glasses under lukewarm water again to remove all soap.
  • Carefully dry the glasses with a clean, dry, microfiber cloth.
  • Inspect the lenses for any remaining smudges that need to be rubbed off with the microfiber cloth.

If you need additional help getting your glasses sufficiently clean, you can take them in for a professional cleaning once a year or so. Glasses that have been in use for a while can be harder to maintain and may need additional adjustments to continue to fit best.

What to Avoid

Cleaning your glasses with the wrong supplies runs the risk of causing more damage than good.

Experts from the Michigan Eye Institute (MEI) suggest the following to protect your eyeglasses during cleaning:

  • Don’t use paper towels to wipe lenses as they can be too rough.
  • Don’t use towels that could have particles or chemicals on them from the washer or dryer.
  • Never use harsh or acidic products, such as glass cleaner, vinegar, lemon, or other cleaning products.
  • Never try to buff out a scratch, as doing so will only make it worse.
  • Don’t rub the lenses with clothing.

In addition to avoiding the following points above, MEI recommends never placing your eyeglasses face down on a counter and always picking them up from the nose of the glasses rather than by the arms. Always keep your eyeglasses in a case and separate them from items, like loose keys in bags.

Can I Use My Shirt?

Quickly wiping glasses off with a shirt is one of the most frequently used ways to clean off eyeglasses, but experts highly recommend against doing so. Breathing gently to fog up your lenses and then wiping them dry with your t-shirt may be convenient, but it risks damaging your lenses.

Shirts often have small particles on them and may have been washed with detergent that includes lotions or other chemicals. All of these items can scratch your lenses or leave behind a residue. Additionally, your breath and shirt do little to remove any bacteria on your glasses.

The Best Ways to Clean Eyeglasses

The best way to clean eyeglasses is with water and oil-free substances and then to gently dry off the glasses with a clean, microfiber cloth.

Sometimes, you need to clean your glasses on the go when you don’t have access to all of your best cleaning supplies. In situations like this, disposable lens cleaning wipes offer a great solution. They will give your glasses a sufficient cleaning without risking any damage to the frames or lenses.


  1. Cleaning Eyeglasses: What to Do and What Not to Do. Michigan Eye Institute.
  2. The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Eyeglasses You Should Remember. (November 2020). The Science Times.
  3. The Right Way to Clean Your Glasses. (June 2020). Versant Health.