Chances are you're reading this with glasses on right now if you're the type that needs them to see. Meanwhile, some readers out there are fortunate enough to wear them purely for sun protection or aesthetic purposes. (No, I'm not envious, I swear.)
Either way, you've probably encountered all of the downfalls to being some who dons them, whether they're prescription or sun. Sometimes they get really, really dirty. I mean smudged to the point where you can't see out of 'em. In more serious instances, lenses get scratched or shattered, nose pieces go missing or everything becomes, because they slipped under your butt or fell to the bottom of a bag, bent. Plus, dirty or damaged glasses can cause eye strain!
But how can mistakes like this be intercepted before they happen? And how can scratches, smudges and other cosmetic issues be prevented? To be honest, it takes discipline and a bit of routine setting. Sure, sliding your glasses up onto your head or into your pocket (whether shirt or pants) when you don't need them can be convenient but both cause problems — and those are just two possibilities.
Here's our guide to caring for and cleaning your glasses.
How to Clean Your Glasses
So, they're a bit smudged, huh? Your keys left a scratch? Let's talk about it.
1. First, if you're able to, rinse off the lenses with a bit of water. Doing so sweeps off even invisible debris, ensuring you won't scratch your lenses when you wipe them.
2. If you're not in a place where you can wet them, opt for a portable spray instead. There are dozens of iterations in varying solutions. You've gotten used to carrying hand sanitizer, think of this as a fair trade off.
3. If you're at home and have dedicated a window to washing your glasses, grab dish soap — be sure to check the ingredients for any harsh detergents; acetone, for example, which is most frequently found in nail polish remover, can ruin lenses — or a glasses specific cleaner. Both work well.
4. Place a pea-sized portion of soap on both lenses. (Don't use a sensitive skin or ultra-soft soap. Optometrists recommend Dawn.) Using clean hands — any particulate trapped in your palms or on your fingers can inflict damage — work the soap in in a circular motion. Don't be afraid to clean the temple arms, too, unless they're made of a delicate material you'd otherwise avoid. Do this until the soap has dissolved and there's no remaining residue. You've washed dishes before, I hope, so you get the gist.
5. Next, dry the lenses off with a microfiber cloth — preferably the one you don't use to address small smudges. Avoid t-shirts, towel or other textiles nearby as unless they're 100-percent cotton — and even 100-percent can do this — they'll scratch or fog (think residue on old headlights) the lenses over time. Hold the glasses at their center, most preferably at the nose bridge. Gripping firmly to one temple arm can misshape the glasses' dimensions.
6. Wipe the lenses as close to dry as possible. Let them air dry the rest of the way, if you can. If not, put 'em back on your face. You're done.
How to Care For Your Glasses
The days of dumping them in the bottom of your bag are over.
1. Use both hands to take them off.
2. If they're slipping, as some do, don't forcefully push them up — especially not by the nose piece (if you have those).
3. Never wear them like a headband. Hair products can smudge the lenses, nose pieces can get caught in your locks and forcing the frames to expand around the noggin widens them.
4. Put them in a hard case when you take them off. Get a soft one if you must put them in your pocket.
5. Don't store your glasses with the lenses facing down. Store them upside down with the arms open.
6. Establish a storage routine: a spot you put them when you're not wearing them or are headed to bed.
7. Purchase the necessary cleaning and maintenance tools: sprayable cleaner, microfiber cloths and a glasses tool kit.
8. Don't leave them in a hot car. Temperatures within, which can reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, can melt plastic or warp acetates.