Monday, December 12, 2011

Cleaning Plastic Lenses - Never Reuse Cloth

Lens cleaning cloths are an antiquated idea from the days of glass lenses and before fancy coatings.  In the days before paper towels and tissues, when toilets included bidets and cotton towels,  a cloth for cleaning glasses kind of made sense.  These days it's simply not a good idea.  Many modern eyeglass lenses are coated with a hydrophobic coating that causes water to form small droplets on the surface.  To clean your glasses all you need to do is wash your hands well and then gently apply some clean soap (liquid preferred) to wash off any oils on the lenses.  Then rinse the lenses under clean running water to wash off any particles and emulsified oils.   Shake gently to remove as much water as possible. Any remaining water can be soaked up with a clean tissue or paper towel.  No wiping or dragging.

Any time you attempt to dry clean a lens by wiping you risk dragging a hard particle across the surface and making scratches.  Could that be why those "free" cloths are provided?  Pretty things - nice and soft and cuddly.  I would use them for one luxurious nose blow and toss them in the trash.   Of course, a single-use, packaged, "cloth" impregnated with an ammonia solution is fine.  That's my take. Enjoy those high-index plastics with fancy AR coatings. 

Sure beats lead glass. :)

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