You might not think (or want to think) of your glasses as another place where germs hang out, but your hands can easily collect bacteria, mold spores, and other eye irritants and leave them on your lenses and frames.

Bacteria are multipliers, so they’re great at producing a crowd on your glasses and sunglasses. They also thrive in the warm, moist environment of your eyes, opening the door to problems ranging from uncomfortable eye conditions to more widespread health concerns. And because we constantly go from touching our glasses to touching our eyes and back again, the cycle continues.

The coronavirus has already made us more conscious than ever of germs, so make disinfecting your glasses part of your cleaning routine. You’ll face fewer germs and irritants, see through clearer lenses, and even lower the risk of developing acne where your frames contact your skin.


What to Do

It’s easy to sanitize your lenses and frames. COVID-19 has us washing our hands rigorously for about 20 seconds—cleaning bacteria from your eyeglasses just takes a little more time and a gentler touch.

We asked Dr. Ryan Parker, Essilor of America’s eye doctor spokesperson, how to safely disinfect glasses, especially during the pandemic. “The best way to do this is no different than cleaning our hands,” Dr. Parker says. “Simple soap and hot water will clean the lenses, remove bacteria and viruses, and be safe for all parts of the glasses.” Make sure you get into all the tight spaces, like the nose pads, insides of hinges, and so on.

Dr. Parker also suggests a diluted solution (70%) of isopropyl alcohol. “It should not pose any issues to good-quality lenses, but one should be careful because it can remove some ink and dyes from the frame.” It’s a good idea to check with an eyecare provider near you to make sure there are no issues with your particular glasses and any special coatings the lenses might have.

After a thorough washing and drying, try occasionally wiping your eyeglasses clean throughout the day with a soft towel or microfiber cloth that’s approved for lenses. Crizal® micro cleaning cloths are not only designed to use on Crizal lenses with anti-glare technology, but are also perfectly safe for cleaning eyeglass lenses of any kind.

What Not to Do

Naturally, there are a few cleaning methods we advise against using to disinfect your eyeglasses. And though some of them might get rid of germs, they could also create new problems for you and your eyewear.

  • With all the lens fogging that comes with wearing a mask, you might be tempted to use that condensation for cleaning. Your breath doesn’t provide enough moisture to wash away contaminants, so any germs could still be present. Not to mention, wiping dirt particles across a mostly dry lens can scratch the surface or coating. Really, in terms of safety and clear vision, the best thing is to have lenses that won’t fog up in the first place.
  • Don’t wipe lenses with a paper towel or facial tissue—the fibers can cause scratches.
  • Never use harsh cleaning products that contain bleach, vinegar, or ammonia. “You want to stay away from household glass cleaners as they have chemicals in them that can damage certain lens coatings,” notes Dr. Parker.
  • Don’t use disinfectant wipes to clean your glasses—they might actually damage your lenses.
  • Dr. Parker also says to “stay away from soaps that have those abrasive beads in them.”


Dr. Parker recommends that you disinfect your glasses once a day. And try to get into the habit of putting your glasses in a case when you aren’t wearing them—even something this simple adds another layer of defense against bacteria.

Oh, and remember to wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Keeping hands clean helps ensure that your glasses stay free of germs and viruses that can spread from lenses and frames to your face and eyes.

By paying a little extra attention to properly sanitize your glasses and sunglasses, you’re helping to minimize the spread of everything from common household germs to the coronavirus. That promotes a healthier environment for you and everyone around you.