People who wear eyeglasses may touch their specs more than they think. That’s why experts say they need to be diligent about disinfecting their glasses during the coronavirus pandemic.
“As much as we wash our faces, we should also consider the cleanliness of our eyewear, as they go on our faces,” Ahlem Manai-Platt, founder of Ahlem Eyewear told Rolling Stone. “We set our frames in different places (tables, desks, counters) then we place them on our faces — we should practically treat them as washing our hands.
“By disinfecting your frames, you clean off the dead skin cells, the oxidation and any harmful micro-organisms that shouldn’t be there.”
While the novel coronavirus is typically transferred from person-to-person, a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection found that other coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS could live on glass surfaces for up to nine days.
“I’m certainly not saying glasses are the main culprit by any means, but you just always want to be careful — making sure you’re cognizant of the fact that glasses can transfer (the virus) and be aware of how to clean them properly,” Dr. Barbara Horn, president of the American Optometric Association who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, told Today.
Here’s how to properly disinfect your specs:
Clean them after public outings
After going to the grocery store or other places where you’re around people, be sure to clean your eyeglasses or sunglasses, Horn told Today.
“Every time I walk in my home, the first thing I do is… wash my hands and then wash my glasses,” Horn said, according to the outlet.
When you’re not wearing your glasses, be sure to put them back in their case to prevent them from coming into contact with your hands or surfaces that may be contaminated, Eyeconic reported.
Use soap and water
You can clean your eye wear with items you already have at home.
Run your glasses under warm water and be sure to cover the lenses and the frame, Eyeconic said.
From there, squirt hand soap or foaming soap in your hands and thoroughly wash all surfaces of your glasses, lenses included, according to the outlet.
Be sure to get the nose pad and the areas where frame and lens meet, Today reported.
“Lots of dust and debris can get trapped in that little space,” Horn told the outlet.
Last, rinse under warm water and dry with a lens cloth, Eyeconic reported. Avoid using paper towels or your shirt as they can scratch lenses or remove special coatings.
There’s no need to worry about hinges rusting, just be sure to let your glasses finish air drying, Horn told Today. If for some reason they do rust, screws are cheap and easy to replace, she said.
If you’re in a pinch, you can also use lens cleaning wipes, Mill Creek Vision clinic in Washington said on its website.
The pre-moistened wipes can remove dust and germs without leaving any residue or streaks, according to the clinic. They can also be used on tablet, laptop and phone screens.
Cleaning by frame type
Acetate frames can be cleaned with soap and water as mentioned above, Manai-Platt told Rolling Stone.
For metal frames, you can put 70% rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, and gently use it to wipe the frame, he told the magazine.
What not to do
Avoid blowing on your glasses — a global pandemic is not the time to breathe on your specs to clean them, Horn told Today.
Be sure to avoid using rubbing alcohol on your lenses, as it’s too harsh, especially if your lenses have extra coatings, Mill Creek Vision said online.
Household cleaners such as ammonia and bleach or acidic liquids like lemon juice and vinegar should also be avoided, the clinic said. They can damage lens coatings and other parts of your eye wear.