Through a glass blurrily

Where does the grease on spectacle lenses come from? When spectacles get dirty and smeared, they have an oily sheen if you look at the lenses side on. Breathing on them, then buffing with a cloth, as I used to watch my father doing, has no real effect. the only way I have found to get my spectacles really clean is to wash them in soap and warm water. Perhaps there are other methods known to real spectacle wearers?

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4 Responses to Through a glass blurrily

  1. Robert Nowell says:

    You don’t necessarily need soap. I used just to wash mine under the tap and dry them on the (clean) dishcloth in the kitchen. But thanks to old age it is no longer a problem for me: I’ve been able to ditch my glasses and haven’t quite yet developed a need for reading glasses.

  2. wg says:

    Nope. That’s THE method.

    Alternative: lick the lenses thoroughly and then dry with very soft cloth. This procedure may alienate some people, but it helps reduce fogging in misty weather, and is always conveniently accessible. It’s what I do, myself.


  3. Rupert says:

    I used to use hot water and a drop of washing-up liquid, which is a little more convenient than soap. But that’s the best you can do. Patent monitor/lens cleaning sprays never quite cut it.

    Breathing on the lens and polishing it only works after copious consumption of gin, either because the alcohol in the breath helps shift the grease or because the world is nicely fuzzy anyway so you just can’t tell.


  4. SRW says:

    The grease probably comes from your fingers, especially if you take them off regularly. I take mine off approximately once a day and the damned things still get greasy.

    As for cleaning — you can get very soft micro-fibre cloths from opticians which do seem to work better than a shirt-front or a handkerchief. Personally I can’t be bothered and live with slightly greasy specs.

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