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How To Clean Your Eyeglasses (A Step-By-Step)

Olivia De Santos

Written By:

Olivia De Santos

Dr. Melody Huang

Reviewed by:

Dr. Melody Huang

Updated: 23 May 2024 •  
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Cleaning your glasses is a 1-minute job that many of us avoid doing properly. We resort to polishing our lenses on our shirts whenever they get smudged, yet dirt, oil, dust, and skin can soon build up. It’s important to keep your glasses clean for the health of your skin and the longevity of your glasses.
Here’s a quick and simple cleaning routine for glasses that you should follow on a daily basis.

What’s the best way to clean your eyeglasses?

The best way to clean your glasses is deceptively simple. It takes very little time and you don’t need any special tools (well… maybe one! But we’ll come back to that). Here is the cleaning routine we propose for sparkling clean glasses.

Cleaning your eyeglasses – Step by step


  • Wash your hands with lotion-free soap or dish soap to make sure they’re clean.

  • Wash the frames of your glasses under a slow stream of cool or lukewarm water to start dislodging any debris or dust. Alternatively, you can fill up a bowl of water and swish your glasses around in it.
    rinsing a pair of glasses frame with running water

  • Put two drops of concentrated soap on your fingertips.

  • Using your fingers, gently rub the soap onto your lenses for a few seconds. Any dust or debris should slough off. Take great care around the perimeter of the lenses. Try to keep your nails away from them as you clean so you don’t scratch them by accident. Make sure you clean both sides of the lenses.

  • Next – the frames. Pay attention to the temples where the arms hinge around the lenses and use your fingers, or a soft bristled toothbrush to clean your frames thoroughly. Also, take care around the nose pad. Be gentle but thorough, as oil and skin tend to accumulate there.

  • Run the glasses under running water again until all of the soap is removed.

  • Shake off the excess water and dry with a clean, lint-free microfiber cloth.

wiping a pair of glasses with microfiber cloth

How to clean your eyeglasses in a hurry

You may be tempted to quickly blow a hot breath on your glasses or even spit on them and polish with the front of your shirt. While it’s common to “clean” your glasses this way, it’s not the best way to maintain the integrity of your lenses which is the motive for cleaning them.
If you’re in a hurry and your glasses are smudged, use a tiny microfiber cloth to polish them. It’s always best to dampen the cloth with a specialized cleaning liquid if you have one at hand.
You can make your own inexpensive DIY eyeglass cleaner using a few household ingredients. We’ve written up the recipe to our favorite handmade eyeglass cleaner here. It only takes a few minutes to pull together, and you’ll be able to carry it around in a handy spritz bottle for use on the go.
a bottle of homemade eyeglass cleaning solution
If you’re in a hurry but your glasses have a lot of grime on them, it might be a better idea to run them under a slow stream of water first, shake off the excess water and then polish them with the cloth. Our estimate is it’ll take less than 90 seconds to do and it’ll save your lenses from accidental scratching from your shirts.

How often should you clean your eyeglasses?

Every day! Yes really! Experts suggest that you clean your glasses every day to maintain them properly and prevent the build-up of oils, dirt, skin, and dust.
If you don’t clean your glasses often enough, you’ll likely start to break out around the bridge of your nose. Cleaning also becomes more difficult as the oils and dust solidify into the frames.
We recommend you make cleaning your glasses part of your daily routine, just as you would brushing your teeth. You can even use the Tiny Habits method. The bestselling book by BJ Fogg encourages you to attach new habits to already established ones.
So every time you brush your teeth in the morning, you clean your glasses. Eventually, it’ll become an ingrained daily habit that you don’t need to think about!

How to deep clean your eyeglasses

Beyond the steps above with thorough washing and drying, we don’t recommend you attempt any deeper cleaning techniques at home. The tools you likely have at home will risk damaging your lenses and most household cleaning products are too abrasive.
If you’re having trouble removing dirt build-up on your glasses after repeated washing, then seek a professional. There are professional glasses cleaning services available in-person or online that you can mail your glasses to for a thorough clean.
Just make sure you have a backup pair of your favorite Mouqy frames before you send off your main pair!

Mistakes to avoid when cleaning your eyeglasses

When cleaning your glasses, you are handling them more than you normally would. The wrong step can lead to permanent damage. Here’s what to avoid:

  • Don’t use household cleaning productsYou may be tempted to use Windex on your glasses. After all, it’s glass right? Wrong! Most glasses are not made of the same glass that your windows are. In fact, most glasses are made of flexible, high-tech plastics that are molded to suit your prescription. Using Windex or other household cleaning chemicals on your glasses will damage them. Keep things simple with gentle lotion-free dish soap.

  • Don’t use acetoneAcetone has a similar effect on your lenses as household window cleaners do. Way too harsh and potentially stripping to the protective coatings on your glasses. Avoid at all costs!

  • Don’t use soaps with oils/lotion in themOils and lotions in soap can cause smudging on the lenses. It can also damage certain protective coatings. Luckily, oil-free dish soaps are easy to find!

  • Don’t use any sponges or washcloths on your lensesYour fingertips are perfect for cleaning your glasses thoroughly but gently. You don’t need to use any sponges or washcloths. You might damage your lenses with accidental scratches.

  • Don’t use regular towels to polishTo polish your lenses, use a soft, lint-free microfiber cloth. We think these are a must-have, which is why we include one free with every Mouqy purchase. Otherwise, they are easy to find at any eyeglass store.


How to clean your sunglasses

You clean sunglasses the same way you clean your regular glasses. Follow the tips above regarding washing your frames and cleaning your lenses thoroughly.
However, it’s especially important that you do not use any abrasive materials, sponges, or soap with oils to clean them. Why? Sunglasses have a protective UV filter layer on the lenses that shield your eyes from the sun. Using abrasive materials can cause damage to that UV filter or even remove it completely. Not good! Be extra gentle when cleaning your sunglasses.

What happens if you have glasses with special coatings?

Here at Mouqy, we coat our glasses with a scratch-resistant, anti-glare and superhydrophobic coating. If you clean your glasses too harshly, you will damage that coating.
Cleaning glasses with special coatings follows the same principles as sunglasses. Follow the routine of gentle washing with dish soap, lukewarm water, and gentle polishing with a microfiber cloth. Stay well clear from any abrasive fabrics or harsh chemicals.
Be gentle with your eyeglasses and they’ll stay clean and clear for longer!

Olivia De Santos
Olivia De Santos is a freelance writer, wedding planner and entrepreneur from London, UK. She’s a world traveller, wordsmith, film buff, mental health advocate and shea butter enthusiast.
Dr. Melody Huang
Melody Huang is an O.D. and medical writer with over ten years of expertise. As an optometric physician licensed with the California State Board of Optometry, Melody currently practices in the Los Angeles area.