How to Clean Plastic Eyeglass Frames

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Everyone who wears glasses knows how quickly they get dirty. You can leave the house with spotless specs and have smudged lenses by the time you get where you're going. At least when your lenses do get visibly smudged, you know it's time to clean them again. It's not as obvious when your eyeglass frames are dirty, but considering they're constantly in contact with sweat, oil, and hair products, you can assume they need to be cleaned every time you clean your lenses.

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Here's how to clean your glasses from stem to stern so you can look (and see) your best.

How to Clean Frame Eyeglasses

It might go without saying, but the first step for cleaning your glasses frames is to clean your hands. The oils and bacteria on your fingers will transfer to your glasses frames and lenses when you wash them.

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Once you have clean hands, all you need to clean your eyeglass frames is water, gentle dish soap, and a clean microfiber cloth. (If you own a Ray-Ban cleaning cloth or similar cleaning cloth made for glasses, that will work too.) Rinse the glasses under warm or tepid water and use your fingers to massage a few drops of dish soap all along the frames, including the earpieces. You can use the same dish soap to clean the lenses themselves. Rinse the glasses again under warm water and dry them with the microfiber cloth.

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If you use eyeglass cleaning spray on your lenses, the same solution could be effective for removing dirt and bacteria from your frames. But different formulas are made with different chemicals, so it's possible that you could damage plastic frames over time by spraying them with cleaners. Stick to mild dish soap if you can.

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Unless the manufacturer of your pair says otherwise, eyeglass frames can all generally be washed in the same way. Cleaning clear-frame glasses isn't any different than cleaning dark plastic frames or really any style of frames — with one notable exception. Wood frames shouldn't be submerged in running water since it may warp them.

How to Clean Glasses Nose Pads

The nose pads and tiny hinges on your glasses can be especially tricky to clean. They provide the perfect places for dirt and bacteria to build up, but getting into those nooks and crannies is difficult without scratching the frames. Use just a clean, soft toothbrush to carefully brush the nose pads and hinges. Try to keep the brush head from touching the lenses if you can. Rinse the glasses again and dry them.

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You can also remove the nose pads for cleaning if you're able to do so; just make sure to carefully keep track of the tiny pieces once they're disassembled.

How Not to Clean Frame Eyeglasses

It's risky to clean your glasses with anything other than mild soap or eyeglass cleaning spray. Many of the things you use for DIY cleaning around the house can scratch or cloud your lenses. For example, you can use rubbing alcohol to clean glass windows, but you shouldn't use it on eyeglasses. Don't use window cleaner, vinegar, or any household cleaning sprays on glasses and their frames.

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Never dry or buff your glasses by wiping them with newspaper, tissue, or your shirt. Clean microfiber is the only safe material for drying eyeglasses.

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If you want to achieve a really deep clean on your glasses frames, there are some handy eyeglass cleaning devices that might help. One type is an ultrasonic cleaner that can be used to clean glasses, jewelry, and other small items using water, cleaning solution, and ultrasonic sound waves. Your optometrist's office may also be able to do this kind of cleaning.

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