Time to own up - have you ever used your sleeve/shirt-tail/saliva to tackle a smudge on your glasses lens? Cleaning glasses with the wrong materials can result in smears, scratches and, in some cases, irreversible damage to your lenses. Read on to discover the best way to clean your specs, how often you should be doing it and whether it's really possible to get scratches out of glasses lenses without doing more harm than good...
How to clean glasses
Optometrists recommend cleaning eyeglasses every morning. If you have coated lenses, any marks will appear more noticeable. However, uncoated lenses get just as dirty! Don't worry: you don't need to splash out on fancy lens cleaners - according to the experts, washing up liquid works just as well!
Best way to clean glasses
- Ensure your hands are clean and free of oils and lotions.
- Rinse your glasses under a gentle stream of lukewarm tap water to remove dust and debris.
- Apply a small drop of basic non-citrus, non-moisturising washing-up liquid or hand soap to each lens.
- Gently wipe lenses, frames and nose pads using your fingertips – work from the outside in to avoid smearing oil and grease from the nose pads across your lenses.
- Rinse again (leftover soap can cause smears).
- Gently shake your glasses to remove most of the water.
- Dry carefully, using a clean, lint-free towel which hasn't been washed using fabric softener (this can cause smears).
- If any smears or smudges are still visible, gently rub using a cleanmicrofibre cloth.
While optometrists recommend good old tap water and washing-up liquid, you can usespecialist lens wipesif you're on the go. You can also remove grease and grime from nose pads using a soft toothbrush.
What not to use
- Clothing, paper towels, tissues or toilet paper - grease, lint and dust can smear and scratch lenses, causing permanent damage in some cases.
- A dry cloth. Unless you are using a microfibre cloth, you should always avoid ‘dry cleaning' your lenses, since this can push particles of dust on the lenses into the glass, causing scratches.
- Window cleaner or other household glass or surface cleaners. These can damage lens coatings.
- Vinegar - it might be great for drinking glasses but it's not recommended for eyeglasses.
- Anything containing ammonia or bleach.
How to get scratches out of glasses
It's impossible to remove scratches from glasses lenses without altering the power of the lens and changing its prescription. Next time, pick lenses with a durable scratch-resistant coating. For now, if you can live with the scratch, it's best left alone. However, if you've nothing to lose, you can try using one of the following methods:
- Dab a blob of non-abrasive toothpaste onto the scratch. Gently buff in small circular motions using a cotton bud or pad for 10 seconds or so, then rinse with lukewarm water. Use a clean, lint-free towel to remove any excess.
- Mix a pinch or two of baking soda with a few drops of water to form a thick paste. Apply to the scratch using a clean, lint-free cloth, rubbing in small circles until the scratch disappears. Rinse and dry, using a clean cloth.
- Try ‘filling in' the scratch by buffing in a little vehicle wax.
- You can use brass or silver polish to buff scratches from plastic lenses.
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