Weekend Projects

Here’s How to Clean Your Glasses and Sunglasses, Now That You Realize How Much You Touch Them

published Mar 20, 2020
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Credit: Charles Dundas-Shaw

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

This time of year, we talk a lot about cleaning windows. It’s the quintessential spring cleaning activity—the origin of the chore has to do with cleaning a winter’s worth of soot and grime from glass panes when it was warm enough to open the windows. But the practice lives on as synonymous with modern-day efforts to start fresh at home as we welcome spring.

No, this weekend’s project isn’t window-cleaning. (You’re welcome, you’re welcome.) But it does have to do with cleaning another surface that we view the world through: our glasses and sunglasses!

I recently had to get a new pair of sunglasses because my children broke my old pair. And as I was reading the insert that came with them, I was surprised to see an instruction to wash them every day. More than surprised, actually, because, honestly, it had never occurred to me to wash my sunglasses.

Especially now, when we’re all hyper aware about every item our hands touch and are doing our utmost to keep germs at bay, the timing is perfect for learning how to clean our glasses, doing it, and then making the practice a habit.

Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock

This Weekend: Clean your glasses and sunglasses.

Before we get into how to clean your sunglasses, let’s cover a few ways not to clean them that most of us are probably guilty of:

  • Don’t use your shirt to wipe your lenses. The fabric can scratch them.
  • Don’t use a paper towel or tissue to wipe your lenses. Again, the fibers can scratch your lenses or their protective coating.
  • Don’t wipe your lenses clean without removing dust and debris with either water or a lens cleaning spray first. Rubbing these small particles across your lenses could—you guessed it—scratch them.
  • Don’t forget to wash your sunglasses if they’ve been exposed to salt water. Salt is abrasive.

Here’s how to wash your glasses and sunglasses. You should do this routine every day you wear them.

  1. Wash and dry your hands. Make sure they’re free of lotion or oils.
  2. Rinse your glasses under lukewarm running water. This will dislodge any debris, dust, sand, or salt that could scratch the lenses.
  3. Dot a very small bit of dish detergent on each lens. Make sure the soap is lotion-free because lotion will smear the lenses.
  4. Gently rub the lenses and all parts of your glasses with your fingers and the dish soap.
  5. Rinse your glasses thoroughly, making sure to remove every trace of soap. Soap will also smear your lenses.
  6. Shake your glasses gently to remove excess water.
  7. Dry your glasses with a dry, lint-free cloth.

A thorough washing will help remove germs from your specs, but if you want to disinfect your glasses after cleaning, spray disinfectant onto a soft, lint-free cloth until it’s damp, then use the cloth to wipe your glasses. Take special care to thoroughly apply disinfectant to the places you’re most likely to touch, such as the arms, bottoms of the frames, and the bridge.

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Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.