How to Properly Clean Your Glasses

Posted by Bridget Reed on

Nothing says “ew” like a pair of eyeglasses with unidentifiable smudges on them. If we’re honest, we’re all guilty of exhaling on our lenses and wiping them with our shirt. However, since that only seems to move the grease and grime around, it’s time to level up your eyeglass cleaning game. 

Even safety glasses like Stoggles, which are tougher than an action hero, need a good cleaning once in a while. The method you use to clean your glasses matters. Most glasses are made with specialized lens coatings that could be damaged if you use a harsh chemical cleansing agent, so remember: you’re cleaning your eyeglasses, not your toilet. 

Put down the alcohol spray and forget the nail polish remover. We’ll teach you how to clean your glasses the right way so you can see clearly and avoid spending all of your HSA money on new glasses.

What’s Getting Your Glasses Dirty?

It’s a legitimate question. After all, they sit on your face all day; how are they getting so dirty right on schedule? The answer is multifaceted. Much like our cell phones, our eyeglasses are home to entire colonies of bacteria. Most of this bacteria is found on the nose pads and adjoining lens areas.

When you consider the contact we have with our glasses, it’s easy to understand how they get so filthy.

Your Hands

Even washing your hands repeatedly doesn’t keep them completely germ-free. Beyond the materials you touch throughout your day, you also touch other parts of your body and then touch your glasses. 

If you use face moisturizer, antibacterial wipes or gel, or any other hand care item, those could transfer to your eyeglasses and leave behind residue. Additionally, your hands' natural oils will also leave imprints on your glasses that can build up. 

Your Face

Your face produces a natural oil called sebum to keep it hydrated and protected. This oil is more prominent on your forehead and nose, which means there’s a higher chance of it getting onto your glasses and causing grime. 

If you have dry, flaky skin, that can become problematic, too. Shed skin that mixes with the oils in your fingertips as you adjust your glasses has a kind of decoupage effect on your lenses.


Every night your eyeglasses collect a nice layer of dust while they sit on your night table or bathroom counter. It may not be noticeable immediately, but day after day, that small amount of dust will build, making it harder and harder to keep your eyeglasses clean.

A better solution is to keep your glasses in a protective case or pouch. As a side note, you should never use a dust-removing solution like furniture polish on your glasses. The chemicals and oils could permanently harm your lenses. 


Cigarette smoke, pollution, saline eye drops, and mascara can also dirty up your glasses, although they’re generally less offensive than your hands and face. If you wear safety glasses in an environment with a lot of dust and debris, you can expect your glasses will become dirtier, faster.

Mascara and eye makeup are probably only a problem if you are blessed with seriously long lashes or if your glasses don’t fit properly. Your eyeglasses should only touch your face at three specific points: just above each ear and on each side of the bridge of your nose. 

If your glasses aren’t fitted correctly, there’s a higher chance they’ll touch your skin and get dirty. Makeup on your cheeks and forehead can also rub off on your glasses if they aren’t properly fitted. 

Why Your Favorite Blue Dish Soap Won’t Work

We are a society convinced that there isn’t much blue Dawn can’t clean. While it’s true that this dishwashing liquid is a great cleansing agent, it may not be the best option for your glasses. 

Most glasses are coated with specialized materials. Some examples:

  • UV blocking. UV coating is often added to sunglasses and to safety glasses to prevent UV rays from penetrating your frames and damaging your eyes. Protective UV glasses can also be made from a specific material, like polycarbonate, which may negatively interact with some cleaning chemicals (like acetone). 
  • Blue light blocking. Your blue light blockers are treated with a special film that filters out blue light from your devices. Using some types of cleansers could wear the film thin and reduce the lifespan of your glasses. 
  • Light responsive lenses. Lenses that automatically adjust when you’re in bright light contain specialized dyes that darken when exposed to UV rays. Harsh cleansers may be able to break down the coating that protects your lenses and interfere with the dyes, rendering them virtually useless.

If you own a pair of safety glasses, the polycarbonate frame and lenses can be broken down if you use a harsh chemical cleanser. For instance, acetone or Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) could really harm the frame and lenses. Surface cleaners that are great for household glass are not good for eyeglasses.

Glass Cleaners Aren’t Always Safe

You can pick up a bottle of eyeglass cleaner at virtually any store (even the gas station), but unless you’re scrutinizing the ingredients list, they might not be safe for your glasses. The safest option is to find out from your eyeglass manufacturer which cleansers are safe.

You’ll also never want to use an antibacterial spray on your glasses. Even though your specs may be dirty, you don’t need this spray. Plus, it could break down your lenses and frames. 

How To Clean Your Glasses Like a Pro

The exhale and shirt rub method might do in a pinch, but it also might scratch your glasses. The fibers in your shirt (or any food particles you unknowingly exhale onto your frames) can do some serious damage.

Not to mention it’s slightly less than hygienic. Plus, fabric treated with fabric softener or dryer sheets can do some real damage.

Instead, follow these tips and tricks to keep your glasses gleaming and your vision crystal clear.

For Daily Cleaning

Most glasses come with a small microfiber cloth for cleaning purposes. These cloths are perfect for daily cleaning and wiping. Most of the time, they’ll do the trick. You can even wash them with a tiny amount of lotion-free dish soap when they get dirty. Let them air dry, and they’re ready to tackle more eyeglass grossness. 

For Deep Cleaning

Sometimes the cloth doesn’t cut it. When you’re dealing with some serious build-up, it’s time to deep clean your glasses and remove the layers of oils and dirt so you can see clearly again. 

Here’s how to do it safely, without ruining your glasses (and subsequently your day):

  1. Wash your hands. Not just to eliminate germs, you’ll be eliminating oils and lotions that you may have on your fingertips which could transfer to your glasses. 
  2. Remove surface dust with lukewarm water. Hold your glasses under running, lukewarm water to remove dust and loosen dirt. Avoid using hot water, as this can ruin the coating on your glasses. Tap water is ok.

If you have hard water, consider using distilled water. Hard water can occasionally leave mineral deposits on your lenses. 

  1. Use compressed air (like a keyboard cleaner) to dry your glasses without leaving streaks. You can also use a microfiber cloth. Avoid using a dish towel, napkins, or paper towel that could leave behind lint. 

That should be enough to get the majority of the dirt and oil off your glasses. However, if your glasses have stains or hard-to-remove particles, you can try an additional step. 

Using a Cleanser

The first rule of using a cleanser is to check and recheck with the manufacturer to make sure it’s safe. We can’t stress this enough. This is especially important if your glasses are under warranty. Using a cleanser that isn’t approved by your manufacturer could render your warranty useless. 

Once you’ve gotten approval from your manufacturer that a cleanser is safe, rinse your glasses with lukewarm water and apply one drop of approved cleanser to each lens. Using your fingers, gently rub both sides of the lenses with the cleanser and all parts of the frame. 

Rinse your glasses with lukewarm water and use compressed air or a microfiber cloth to dry them. 

For Heavy Duty Cleaning

If you’ve neglected your eyeglass cleaning for a while, or if you’ve just gotten them really dirty (we’re looking at you, ATV trip through the mud), it’s a good idea to leave the cleaning to a professional. 

Professional eyeglass shops, and even your optometrist’s office, have ultrasonic cleansing systems that can safely and effectively remove dirt and grime stuck around screws and embedded in parts of the frame that water can’t remove. 

Remember, Your Eyes Matter

Everything you use on your eyeglasses should be safe for ophthalmic use. If it isn’t, make sure the cleanser is completely removed before sitting your glasses back on your face. Even fumes from harsh cleansers could irritate your eyes and make it hard for you to wear your glasses.

Never use chemicals like bleach, acetone, alcohol, or antibacterial hand sanitizer on your eyeglasses. These are damaging to many types of lenses and frames and can also cause your eyes to be sensitive to fumes. 

Notes on Safety Glasses

If you’re dealing with dirty safety glasses (which is pretty common), be sure to check with the manufacturer before you start cleaning them with whatever you have lying around the shop or garage. 

Even though safety glasses are sturdy and resistant to impact and heat, some chemicals can be too abrasive, especially if they’re treated with UV blocking coatings or blue light blocking coatings. 

Our Stoggles glasses are made from polycarbonate frames and lenses which are naturally UV blocking and virtually indestructible. Despite their strength, cleaning them with a microfiber cloth is usually the best option and all that is needed to keep them in great shape. 

Powers of Protection and Style Detection

Your Stoggles glasses are made to keep you safe, protected, and seriously stylish. Our glasses are easy to care for and normally only need a little warm water if they get dirty. Wearing Stoggles protects your eyes from more than just debris. Every pair of Stoggles gives you multifaceted protection.

  • Protection from UV rays. Our polycarbonate lenses are naturally UV blocking. This means whether you’re in the lab or in the sun, your eyes are protected from dangerous UV rays. 
  • Protection from blue light. Blue light is part of the invisible light spectrum that your eyes can’t filter. That means blue light emitted from your devices can travel through your cornea and lens directly to your retina. 

Stoggles: So Fresh and So Clean

Every pair of Stoggles is blue-light blocking to protect your eyes from blue light damage. 

  • Protection from impact. Stoggles are all ANSI Z87.1 certified to resist impact. That means you can wear them while you’re mowing the lawn, doing a little home improvement, or while you’re at work in an environment that is dangerous to your eyes. 
  • Protection all around. Regular glasses and sunglasses leave your eyes vulnerable at the top and on the sides. Stoggles keep your eyes protected with side and top shields so you don’t have to worry about spills, splatters, or flying debris. 
  • Protection from bad style. Stoggles are made to keep you protected from eye injury and bad fashion choices because you shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other. With Stoggles, you get all the protection you need without the middle school lab student look. 

Stoggles are the solution you need to keep your eyes safe and retain your killer style. With three different style options and numerous colors to choose from, you can customize your look to match your outfit or your mood.

Start this year so fresh and so clean, with great safety and amazing looks from Stoggles. 


The Well-Adjusted Frame | 2020Mag

The Do's and Don'ts of Cleaning Eyeglasses You Should Remember | Science Times

How to Clean Your Eyeglasses | Columbia Eye Clinic

A view to a kill? – Ambient bacterial load of frames and lenses of spectacles and evaluation of different cleaning methods | NCBI

Acetone: What Is it & Is It Bad For You? | WebMD

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