Ask the grumpies: Best practices for cleaning your glasses/keeping your glasses clean?

Monsterzero asks:

[What are b]est practices for cleaning your glasses/keeping your glasses clean?

Although we do not know the answer to this question ourselves, one of us happens to have a husband who has made an in depth study of this question and has strong opinions on the topic (though he is continually searching out new suggestions and will probably read the comments of this thread with great interest).

DH says:  What I do now is, if they’re dirty with oil or grease, I wash them with soap and water in the sink, then shake them as dry as I can get them and then sort of lightly dab them with a towel to get the water off, then use micro-fiber cloth.

For everyday use, like when I get up in the morning, I wipe them down with micro-fiber.

I also have Zeiss disposible wipes, but I haven’t bought any in a while.  I keep some in the car.

Note to follow the instructions on washing the micro-fiber cloths.  They can be hand-washed (without fabric softener!) but shouldn’t be dried in the dryer.

When you get glasses, I recommend always getting the hardness coating.  I’ve gotten other coatings and they’ve been of varying benefits, but they always scratch too easily, whereas with the hardness coating my glasses tend to last until the frame breaks.

I think that’s pretty much it.

[end DH]


22 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Best practices for cleaning your glasses/keeping your glasses clean?”

  1. NZ Muse Says:

    It’s hopeless, they are always smeary somehow by the end of the day.

    I do get super greasy so I make sure to wash the parts that contact my skin (nose bits, ear bits) with soap and water in the mornings.

  2. Becca Says:

    Wait, everybody doesn’t use 70% ethanol and wipealls?

  3. Solitary Diner Says:

    You get asked the oddest assortment of questions…

  4. Leah Says:

    Hmmm. I just breathe on mine and wipe them off on something cotton. That’s not the right way to go? I must have sprung for some amazing coatings on my glasses (8 years old now) because my doctor didn’t believe me that my lenses are that old. Or maybe I’ve just gotten lucky.

    I really do think it’s worth spending top dollar on the lenses to get both anti-reflective coating and good quality lenses. My prescription has been stable for nigh on two decades now. I don’t buy glasses often, but when I do, I shell out for something nice. Currently looking at spending $550 for a pair and trying to justify that — seems really high to me, but I haven’t bought glasses in 8 years, so maybe that is reasonable.

  5. Katherine Says:

    I have a pretty high tolerance for somewhat dirty glasses. (Which may have something to do with the fact that I’ve worn glasses since I was 7, and as a kid I never kept them clean.) My uncorrected vision is so bad that even incredibly dirty/smeared glasses are still a HUGE improvement over not wearing them, so I think I just don’t notice it. When I do start to notice that my glasses are dirty, I wipe the lenses on my shirt. Occasionally I wash them with soap and water. For a while, my husband was cleaning his glasses every morning with the glasses spray cleaner and wiping them with a microfiber cloth, and I would sometimes do that too, but then we ran out of the spray cleaner and never bothered to get more.

    I don’t think $550 is high for a pair of glasses, but I also have to get the ultra-lightweight lenses that usually cost >$350 per pair.

    For me, the most important thing about my glasses is not whether they are clean, it’s whether I have a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses!

  6. delagar Says:

    Zeiss wipes. I carry them everywhere.

    Also, if you need bifocals, and do a *lot* of reading / screen work, consider getting a separate pair of glasses for reading work. That is, one pair of glasses that is just for reading, and another pair of glasses that is for distance — instead of one set of bifocal glasses, in other words.

    My eye doctor did this for my five or six years ago, and it has made a huge difference in my quality of life. Have glasses in which the entire lens, top to bottom, is a reading lens (instead of the tiny window at the bottom) is so much better on the eyes and the neck and my *head*, you won’t believe the difference until you try it. Also, long-term, your eyes improve a little instead of steadily growing worse, because (as she explained it) you’re not constantly fighting to focus and being slightly off all the time.

    The downside is you have to carry two pairs of glasses everywhere (three, in my case, because I have a separate pair of sunglasses as well) but c’est la vie.

    • Debbie M Says:

      So, how do you carry them? In a purse? Do they each have separate cases? If so, are they hard? Do they take up a lot of space?

    • Linda Says:

      If you just need “cheaters” for reading, why not buy multiple cheap ones at the drugstore so you can leave a pair at work, another at home, etc? I have progressive lenses and don’t find them a pain in the neck to use.

      • delagar Says:

        Ha, because I am *really* near-sighted/far-sighted. I have terrible eyes. I need glasses to see the screen/a book *and* glasses to see the road or across the room.

        I carry them in my briefcase or in the car, when I’m not at work, in hard cases that the eye doc gave me. I have three different hard cases, each in different colors and textures, so I can tell them apart with my glasses off (because yes, I literally can see nothing but a blur with the glasses off).

        The Zeiss wipes I carry also in the briefcase!

  7. AEMcDonald Says:

    +1 to Zeiss wipes. When I tried them for the first time last year, I wondered where they had been all of my life!

  8. Debbie M Says:

    I don’t do any best practices. And what I actually do would hurt #1’s DH to read.

    I do take my glasses off every night, of course, and that might be a good time to clean them properly for the next day. And I take them off in the bathroom where I already have soap and water and where I could easily store my microfiber cloth for glasses. Fun question!

  9. Linda Says:

    I pretty much follow DH’s approach of either soap and water or lens wipes.

    I’m excited that I’ll be getting a new pair of glasses this year. My current prescription has changed in my diseased eye, but the pin test is good so the ophthalmologist says I should be able to get a corrective lens. Hopefully it will work for this year, at least. My current lens look pretty scratched up, too. I’m not sure why they would be since I sprang for the special coating or whatever to prevent scratches.

  10. gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

    Soap or dish detergent and water, dry with a soft cotton dish towel (or microfiber). Don’t wipe when dry to avoid dust scrtaches.

    I’ve given up on all coatings on lenses—they never seem to last. I’ve also gone back from Trivex to polycarbonate, because I care more about protection of my eyes than about the weight of my glasses.

    I use two pairs of glasses: one for computers (-2 diopters), one for distance work (-4 diopters). For reading, I take my glasses off. When I need to look at something very small, I put on a $2 pair of +1 or +2 reading glasses, rather than fuss with an eye loupe.

    I don’t have separate sunglasses, but use photochromic distance glasses. (I don’t use the computer glasses in bright light, so they are untinted.)

  11. Science Professor Says:

    Any microfiber cloth does magic. No water or soap necessary. I am addicted. A but too large but I carry one in my bag and one in the car.

  12. undine Says:

    I didn’t know that about “no microfiber cloths in the dryer.” Is that even if you don’t use dryer sheets?
    To clean glasses, I use a 1/2 isopropyl alcohol+ 1/2 distilled water solution that we have in a sprayer, along with microfiber cloths and sometimes detergent & water. I keep trying to get separate sets of glasses for reading & distance (the drugstore “readers” don’t work b/c astigmatism) but the optometrist always says “are you SURE?” and talks me out of it.

    • undine Says:

      I want to check out the Zeiss cloths now. I’m still not used to wearing glasses and have to remember that willing my eyes into seeing tiny print is no longer an option.

    • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

      Time to find a new optometrist (or take your prescription to a new optician—there is no obligation to buy glasses from the person who prescribes them).

  13. Happy Says:

    I clean my glasses once a week or so with water in an ultrasonic cleaner. It gets all the crevices clean and leaves my lenses spotless without any rubbing.

  14. chacha1 Says:

    had to look back at this after being out on vacation in the woods and having pollen/dust on every conceivable surface. :-)

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