So you've just found the frames of your dreams, but you haven't a clue how best to keep your sparkly new specs clean. Smudges abound, scratch threats are everywhere, and surely a quick rub with your shirt sleeve can’t be that bad – can it? Fear not - we've been there. As it happens, there are plenty of tips, tricks and hacks to keeping your glasses as clear and shiny as the day you bought them (without any unwelcome side effects!).
So kick back, relax, button up the shirt sleeve and read on for the best (and worst!) ways to clean and look after your glasses!
There are various cleaning techniques out there that you'd be forgiven for assuming are perfectly harmless. As it happens, that shirt sleeve trick we’re all guilty of can actually cause more problems in the long run. Although seemingly risk-free, exhaling onto your glasses and rubbing them with your shirt can compress unseen dust or grit into the lenses, causing irreparable scratches (especially when built up over time!).
Luckily, there's a tried and tested method that is easily the most effective and safest way to clean your specs.
Run your glasses under lukewarm water (not too hot, or you risk warping the frames) to rinse off any dust or dirt.
It's worth remembering to never clean dirty glasses without rinsing them first – even gentle cleans with microfibre cloths without regular cleaning can cause irreversible scratches and damage due to the build up of dust and dirt.
With clean hands, grab a bottle of simple, basic washing up liquid, and squeeze a couple of drops between your fingers. Holding the edge of your lenses (and not the bridge or the arms), gently rub the soap on both sides of the lenses (and nose pads too) and they'll come up clear as day.
Remember with dish soaps, the more basic the better. Moisturising formulas can build residue which will cause greasy smearing, while citrus-based formulas can break down coatings on your lenses over time.
Rinse & Dry
Rinse once more with lukewarm water, shake off any drops, and gently dry with a clean microfibre cloth.
Soft motions are key here – anything too vigorous can loosen the sides of your glasses.
Repeat, if necessary
Repeat as necessary for any stubborn smudges or oils that remain after the initial clean.
Which cleaning products to use when cleaning glasses is often a contentious issue, vinegar, window cleaner and (dare we say) saliva (!) are all high on the list of liquids used to clean specs.
As a general rule of thumb, warm water tends to be the best way to go. Other solutions can actually contribute to further problems over time. Read on for a breakdown of the most used products.
Due to the acidic nature of vinegar, it's actually a risky choice for cleaning your specs, despite its renowned cleaning properties.
Vinegar can break down protective coatings on your lenses over time, causing greater problems than a few smudges.
Surely this one makes sense, right? Unfortunately due to the active ingredients in most domestic window cleaners, it makes a poor choice as a glasses cleaning solution.
Much like vinegar, the liquid can break down protective coatings, leaving your lenses more vulnerable to scratches.
Most citric-based liquids pose a threat to your specs. Even trusty washing up liquid can cause more harm than good if it is a citric based formula, due to the destructive nature of the acids present in citrus products.
If in doubt, always stick to the most basic solutions.
Perhaps not the most hygienic or the most effective, but in comparison to the above, saliva (perhaps surprisingly!) is arguably the least damaging.
We would always recommend using a liquid, rather than simply a dry clean (even with a microfibre cloth). With that in mind, we’ll let you weigh up the pros and cons with this one!
They say prevention is better than cure, and we’re big advocates of this when it comes to glasses care
Rather than repairing or rectifying damaged lenses or frames, it’s a lot easier, quicker and cheaper to follow our 5 golden rules from the get-go to protect against any future mishaps!
Rule # 1
First and foremost, we recommend always using the case your specs came with. It's not just a handy way to transport your glasses, but it will also offer protection from any bumps and bashes while you're out and about (and while you're not!). Hard cases are best, but even cloth cases can offer a barrier against scratches.
Rule # 2
On that note, it’s always best practice to refrain from putting glasses down lenses first, as even smooth surfaces offer potential for scratches and marks. If you do need to put your glasses down without their case, consider placing them upside down, with the arms out to avoid accidental damage.
Rule # 3
Even the most carefully cleaned specs are susceptible to scratches and marks from everyday life. While no material is 100% scratchproof, we would always recommend opting for our scratch resistant coating on your lenses, to give them the best chance against bumps and bashes from day-to-day wear.
Rule # 4
Try to refrain from over-cleaning. While the temptation can be to give your specs a rigorous clean with plenty of elbow grease, gentle cleans are much better for your frames in the long run. Clean too hard, too often, and the sides of your glasses can become loose. Prevent this by holding the edge of your lenses when cleaning, never the arms or bridge.
Rule # 5
Consider purchasing a spray glasses cleaner, or moistened disposable wipes, for when you're on the move. Both of these options can be purchased from most chemists and pharmacies, and make for a great alternative when you don't readily have access to warm water.
While following the above tips give your specs the best chance to stay clean, sometimes there are just parts that you can't get to (no matter how hard you try!). In this case, we would recommend looking into getting your glasses professionally cleaned, using an ultrasonic procedure (pictured above). While we at SelectSpecs do not offer this service just yet, there are plenty of opticians who do, and can give your glasses the deep clean they may need!
At SelectSpecs, we pride ourselves on being experts in eyewear. In an ideal world, we would recommend the above tips for everyone to follow, but we also know that life can sometimes get in the way. Because of this, we've created our Spectacle Clean and Care Kits.
Containing 1 Fl.oz, Alcohol-FREE AR Formula, SelectSpecs microfibre cloth and soft bag and 4 in 1 Pocket Key Chain Screwdriver, they're a great way to keep your glasses clean in tip top condition. Use once or twice a week for clean, scratch free specs!