Your glasses go through a lot — from protecting your eyes against the elements, to coming into contact with sweat and natural oils from your skin. It’s no surprise then, that over time, dirt, dust and grime can build up on your glasses and sunglasses.

Regularly cleaning your specs helps to keep your vision clear and can also lengthen the lifetime of your glasses. But it’s important to know the right way to clean your glasses, as some methods can cause damage to the lenses – even if they have a scratch-resistant coating. Here, our experts share their top tips for keeping your specs in tip-top condition. 

How to clean your glasses lenses

  1. First, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. This helps to make sure that no bacteria or viruses are transferred from your hands onto your glasses, and also removes any oil from your fingers which could smudge or smear your lenses. Larger pieces of dirt or dust from your fingers can also scratch or damage your lenses – so it’s best to start with clean hands.
  2. The easiest and gentlest way to clean your glasses lenses is to wash them using warm water and mild detergent, like washing-up liquid or diluted hand soap. Dot some of the detergent on your fingers, and gently rub the lens between your fingers to create a lather, being careful not to scrub too hard. After rinsing the lenses under cool water, use a microfibre cloth to gently dry them.
  3. Alternatively, and especially with coated lenses, you can spray both sides of your lenses with a specialist lens cleaner to keep them clean, as well as minimising the risk of scratching. Gently rub your lenses with a lens cloth, wiping away the solution as you clean. Using a lens cleaner is a great option to make sure your lenses are streak-free, as there’s no need to dry them off afterwards.
  4. Although it’s sometimes more convenient, avoid using paper towels, dishtowels or your clothing to wipe your lenses as they can often leave particles of dust or dirt on your lenses, causing micro-scratches. Find out more about removing scratches and smudges from your glasses.
  5. It’s also important to avoid using any soaps or cleaners that contain ammonia or other strong chemicals. Your lenses are made up of specialist coatings that are sensitive to ammonia and other harsh chemicals found in household cleaners.
  6. As tempting as it is, don’t breathe onto your lenses to give them a little clean. You’ll only end up creating more smears and smudges.

How to clean glasses your frames

  1. Alongside your lenses, it’s also important to clean your glasses frames to remove any dirt or bacteria.
  2. Use warm, soapy water and a soft cloth to gently wipe down your frames. Be sure to always hold your glasses on the side of the frames while you’re cleaning, as this can help you to avoid warping or bending your frames.
  3. It’s best to use a gentle dish soap or hand wash to make sure you don’t damage your glasses. Alternatively, you can use a special glasses cleaning solution and follow the same process.
  4. Once they’re clean, just wipe your glasses dry with a soft lens cloth or microfibre cloth.

Should I clean my glasses between the lenses and frames?

Sometimes dirt might build up between your lenses and the frames, or around the hinges. You can use a soft toothbrush and some warm soapy water to clean this away. Be very careful not to touch the lenses with the toothbrush bristles though, as this could damage them. Take extra care in areas where the lenses meet the frames, or where the frames touch your face, to make sure you remove any stubborn dirt.

How to clean your lenses while you’re on-the-go 

If you’re looking for an option for cleaning while you’re out and about, you could try an alcohol-free spray cleaner. You can use this on your sunglasses, safety eyewear or sports eyewear too. Just blow gently on each lens a little before wiping them to remove any debris, spray on plenty of solution, and wipe the lens dry with a microfibre lens cloth.

How to avoid streaks while cleaning glasses lenses

Leftover soap residue can cause streaks and smudges on your glasses lenses once they’re dry. Streaks on your lenses could obscure your vision, so it’s best to make sure you rinse the soap  from your lenses properly for a streak-free finish. If you pop your glasses on after cleaning, and you notice streaks, it’s worth just giving them another clean.

Can I clean my glasses with hand sanitiser? 

We also wouldn’t recommend using a hand sanitiser to clean your glasses. Many hand sanitisers are alcohol-based, which could damage the  specialist coatings and materials on your lenses that help you see clearer. Plus, there’s also the risk of getting sanitiser in your eye. If you’re worried about disinfecting your glasses, warm soapy water should do the job just fine.

Can I use alcohol wipes to clean my glasses? 

We wouldn’t recommend using alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol to clean your glasses. This is because alcohol can be quite harsh, so using it on your glasses could damage the specialist materials and lens coatings that help to correct your vision.

Why are my glasses lenses always foggy?

Your glasses may be foggy for a number of reasons. It might be that your lenses are in need of a good clean after they’ve been smudged with greasy fingertips, or because you’ve breathed onto your lenses, which can cause further smears.

If your lenses tend to fog-up when you’re moving between hot and cold environments (or more recently while using a face mask), cleaning them with an anti-fog lens wipe or spray might be a good option to prevent them fogging up in the future. Find out more on how to stop your glasses from fogging up here.

Alternatively, if you’ve cleaned your lenses a few times, and they still appear foggy, it could be that they’ve become damaged and therefore need replacing. In this case, it’s best to take your glasses to your local optician so they can take a closer look. Try to see your optician as soon as possible, as foggy lenses can obstruct and obscure your vision

Which cloth should I use to clean my glasses?

Microfibre lens cloths are the best thing to use to clean your glasses lenses, as they can dry effectively and trap oils, which reduces smudges and smears. You’ll usually get a lens cloth with your glasses when you buy them — just make sure you give the cloth a wash once in a while to remove any oil or dirt collected over time

How to look after your glasses

While smears, smudges and accidents are sometimes inevitable, there are a few things you can do to make sure your glasses remain in good condition for as long as possible

Handling your glasses

When handling your glasses, always hold them by the frames using both hands. When putting them away, place them upside down with the bridge at the bottom, and try to avoid dropping them on the lenses. This can reduce the risk of scratching your lenses and keeps more top-heavy frames from falling over.

Storing your glasses

Always store your glasses in their case to keep them protected from dust, dirt and damage. Avoid leaving or storing them in places where they might get hot — such as near a heater, or in a hot car — as this can warp your lenses, or cause any special coatings to peel off

Cleaning your glasses regularly 

Our lens cleaners are specially formulated to prolong the life of your lenses and keep them in the best condition for as long as possible.

Visit our accessories page to browse our full range of cleaning products for your glasses and lenses. Or you can find lots more glasses information on our buyer’s guide.

Our #LoveGlasses blog
Try on glasses online
Buy glasses online