Prescription eyewear can be a lifesaver for individuals experiencing vision issues requiring corrective lenses. When those lenses accumulate dirt and grime, however, the world becomes a bit murkier. Glasses should be cleaned on a regular basis.

Many glasses-wearers have gotten into the habit of yanking off their frames and giving the lenses a quick swipe with their shirt. Not only is this largely ineffective, it can actually be damaging. Take a look at some tips to sharpen your perspective and have crystal-clear eyewear.

The worst way to clean your glasses

Most people opt for the most convenient piece of cloth handy, which is normally the shirt they’re wearing. (Nudists, you’re in the clear here.) But clothing fabric is not a good idea for lenses. It can be abrasive enough to cause microscopic abrasions on the surface that will eventually create significant damage. No matter how soft the material, it simply isn’t meant to be used on eyewear. So tuck your shirt back in.

The best way to clean your glasses

Don’t worry about expensive eyeglass cleaning kits. The optimal way to get rid of grime is soap, water, and cotton swabs. Run the swabs over the crevices in the frame to remove build-up. Then, run them under some warm (not hot) tap water to loosen any surface dirt.

For more stubborn gunk, use some mild soap or detergent without additives. Put a dab on each side of each lens and use your finger to work it over the surface. Then rinse.

The right time to use a microfiber cloth

While it’s true that microfiber cloths aren’t abrasive like shirts, using one prior to washing and rinsing your glasses is counter-productive. You’ll just wind up smearing dirt instead of getting rid of it. Instead, use the cloth (which often comes with your glasses) to dry them.

Why it’s important to clean your glasses

There’s a reason to keep your eyeglasses clean beyond having clear lenses. Oils from your skin, dirt, and other contaminants can build up on the frame and cause acne where the frame meets the skin. Washing them might help prevent a breakout.

When to use lens cleaning solutions

You’re not likely to find a solution that works better than plain soap and water, but when that’s not easily available—maybe you’re traveling—then an eyeglass cleaning formula or wipes can work. Just be sure it’s safe for whatever protective coating you might have on the lenses.

Glasses and coronavirus

It’s a good idea to clean your glasses as described above after venturing out, the Miami Herald reports, as the coronavirus can linger on glass surfaces for up to nine days. You’ll also want to avoid setting them down on tables used by the general public. If they fog up while wearing a mask, try these tips for keeping them clear.