Spectacle Cleaning

I started wearing spectacles at the age of 8 years old while still in primary school, and it was a tough thing to cope with at the time. Children can unwittingly be very cruel. Not many days went by without some name calling. The usual, four-eyes, specky, specky four-eyes and so on. Thankfully, it stopped when I got a pair of National Heath glasses that looked like those worn by a children’s TV character, Joe 90. Suddenly wearing glasses was cool. I recall years later walking the streets of Selkirk, where my family lived at the time and being addressed as Joe by a fellow classmate.

Anyway, in all that time I always tried to keep my glasses clean, trying all manner of methods including the expensive stuff you buy in the opticians but none of them were particularly effective. However, today, some 50 years later, I want to share my own method with you. To start off you need an empty plastic bottle – I use an empty gel hand-wash container. Fill it with clean tap water and add no more than a couple of drops of cheap washing up liquid. Give it a light shake to mix thoroughly.

To clean your glasses, start by rinsing them under the tap to remove and loose material sticking to the lens. You can use warm or cold water. Then add a small puddle of your mix from the bottle to the back of each lens and very gently, with minimal pressure, spread with your finger. The puddle should be enough for both sides of the lenses. From now onwards, avoid touching the lenses with your fingers. Next, rinse under the tap for a few minutes.

The last stage is to hold the lenses vertically and slowly run through a gentle stream of warm water from the tap. Move backwards and forwards a couple of times, if needed. Capillary attraction will remove most of the water from the lens surface which means you don’t have to dry them off with anything that might scratch them. Use a hand towel to carefully dab any remaining droplets from the frames and legs. You should now have crystal clear lenses, if not, give it another try. Really manky glasses may take a few tries. I recall cleaning a relatives glasses once, they hadn’t been cleaned in years, decades even. He almost fell off his seat when I handed them back to him, so used he was to peering through a blurry smeer. They didn’t stay clean for very long.

I checked with an optician if this was a safe method and they confirmed it was. I was initially concerned about the washing up liquid removing any lens coatings but it takes much stronger stuff to do that, acetone, I think. And the best thing is, this method costs nothing! Note that this method seems to work better with coated lenses with those without coatings.

Copyright ©2021 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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