Though less likely now in this COVID-19 era, safety eyewear sometimes shared. This might happen, for example, in high school science classes and companies providing reusable safety eyewear for visitors to save money.

When safety eyewear is shared, it needs sanitized after every use. Even when it is not shared, sanitize safety eyewear if you wear it regularly. After all, germ transfer can happen when we touch our own eyewear with our own hands, too.

Research shows that we can become infected with a virus through our eyes but also that Eye Protection May Reduce COVID-19 Infection. So, cleaning and sanitizing safety eyewear not only keeps eyewear in top condition and prolongs its usability, but it may also help prevent transfer of a virus through your eyes.

Clean Before Sanitizing

Before sanitizing safety eyewear, know How To Clean Your Safety Glasses and make doing so a regular habit. After all, according to the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, there is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing.

  • Cleaning means removing soil, dust, grease, or other debris from the surface.
  • Sanitizing means to reduce the microorganism on the surface.

Cleaning a surface, according to Shannon Coleman, assistant professor and food safety state specialist in the ISU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, is essential for effective sanitization.

“The surface you are sanitizing must be appropriately cleaned and rinsed of all soil, dust, grease or other debris before sanitizing. If any debris remains on the surface, it may inactivate the disinfectant… You cannot sanitize a dirty surface.”

After cleaning your safety eyewear, move on to the 5-step sanitization process below.

5-Step Process to Sanitize Safety Eyewear

Sanitizing methods range from liquid disinfectants to ultraviolet light. Liquid disinfectants are most accessible, though some medical facilities and large manufacturers may have access to other methods.

This simple process allows you to effectively sanitize safety eyewear with an approved disinfectant.

  1. Place safety glasses/goggles in a bowl or similar container.
  2. Cover eyewear with a disinfectant that won’t harm plastic and polycarbonate.
  3. Soak eyewear for about 10 minutes, possibly rubbing off any smudges with glove-covered hands.
  4. Remove eyewear from disinfectant and let air dry. Do not rinse.
  5. Wipe off eyewear with a lint-free cloth to remove remaining disinfectant and spots or streaks.

If you’re in a hurry or don’t have everything you need for this deeper sanitization process, use a cleaning spray or wipe that contains a disinfectant. Only use cleaners approved for your safety eyewear since other products may scratch lenses or compromise any lens coatings. Also, use common sense in determining how often your safety eyewear needs to be sanitized since every situation is unique.

Quality safety eyewear should come with care instructions, including information on cleansers that can be used on them. Be sure to check the product information before cleaning and sanitizing your safety eyewear.