As a company specializing in selling safety glasses and protective eyewear, we’re frequently asked:

What is the best method for cleaning the lenses on safety glasses to avoid scratching the lens?”

Most safety eyewear manufacturers primarily use polycarbonate lens material, which is great for impact protection; however, it is prone to scratching when not cleaned properly. In fact, the number one reason for scratched lenses is improper lens cleaning.

To keep the lenses on safety glasses scratch-free, follow these three easy steps.

  1. Blow any loose dirt or debris from lenses.
  2. Rinse lenses under a faucet or use lens cleaning spray, such as those found in a lens cleaning station provided by many employers. If neither are available, use a lens cleaning towelette to gently clean both sides of the lens. Note, carrying a personal sized lens cleaning spray is also a good idea.
  3. Wipe lenses dry with a microfiber cloth to remove streaks and cleaning solution residue.
Rinse Glasses

Rinse glasses with lukewarm water to clear any dust and debris.

In addition to this basic process, follow these additional tips to keep safety eyewear in optimum condition:

  • Include frames in the cleaning process since dirt and debris often collects on them too. A soft-bristle toothbrush works well for cleaning frames, but be careful to not graze lenses with the bristles.
  • Don’t use a shirt, shop rag, facial tissue or paper towel to clean lenses. Most of these fabrics, even though they may feel soft to the touch, are infused with abrasive fibers that can scratch lenses. In addition, they may have picked up chemicals from detergents and fabric softeners or even dirt and dust particles from laying on the counter that can harm eyewear.
Microfiber Bag

Use the inside of a microfiber pouch to wipe your glasses.

  • Use the inside of the pouch when using a microfiber pouch to wipe lenses. The exterior may have picked up dirt, debris or other abrasive contaminants that will scratch lenses.
  • Wash cleaning cloths and microfiber pouches often, and consider having more than one to make sure a clean cloth is always available for wiping lenses.
  • Keep in mind that some sort of fluid is essential for proper cleaning of eyewear. Using a cloth alone, even if it’s specifically for cleaning glasses, significantly increases the chances of scratching lenses.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s directions that come with eyewear to be sure of the best cleaning method for specific eyewear. Some manufacturer’s recommend to never clean lenses with any soaps since they sometimes contain chemicals that may remove special lens coatings (such as those for anti-fog) or delaminate mirrored lens tints. However, some experts say that standard soap, providing it is free of harsh detergents and water, work fine for cleaning lenses.
Glasses Case

Using a case will help protect your glasses from scratches.

  • Store safety glasses in a hard case or microfiber pouch when not in use. Improper storage of safety eyewear is the second most common cause of lens scratches.
  • Create a routine for cleaning safety glasses, say at the beginning of a shift and/or at breaks, instead of only cleaning them are noticeably dirty. This ensures dust and other particles that can’t be easily seen don’t scratch lenses.

Following the above cleaning techniques will not only keep safety eyewear clean, but it also helps extend the life of eyewear, which also saves money. In addition, keeping lenses clean can improve visibility as well as prevent foreign objects on glasses from getting in and irritating eyes. For these reasons, making cleaning safety eyewear a habit just makes sense.