Can I use alcohol-based wipes on my new glasses?
July 31, 2014 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I have these glasses wipes that I *love* (Flents Wipe 'n Clear). I used them to clean my old glasses with anti-glare coating all the time and never suffered any ill effects. Is it safe to use them on my new glasses?

I have a new pair of glasses with standard poly anti-glare lenses from Lenscrafters. (I have no idea what my old glasses were made of - they're 5 years old. But I do know they had an anti-glare coating!) I know, I know, the box says check with your Optician before use. I did! But I mostly got a confused shrug and a "Why don't you buy our wipes?" sales pitch, which, no thanks.

Spray-on cleaner + microfiber cloth works OK, but I often get other gunk on my glasses (hair spray, etc.) that combo just doesn't clean. It's also a pain to carry around in my purse.

The ingredients for the wipes are: water, isopropyl alcohol, and detergent.

Is there any reason to think these wipes would be harmful to my new glasses when they weren't on my old ones? Should I risk it? Is there something that works just as well AND is just as portable as these wipes that I should try?
posted by geeky to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Isopropyl is the main ingredient in pretty much every eyeglass cleaner sold, be it spray or wipe based. It would be pretty insane for a company to market an anti-glare coating that would be damaged by a cleaner this ubiquitous.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:05 AM on July 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Isopropanol is the mildest of the alcohols commonly used to clean glass (methanol is harshest, followed by ethanol, then isopropanol in terms for solvent strength). For many coatings it's fine, but I see reports on the Googles that some of the cheaper coating may have trouble with any alcohol. Most reputable brands, however seem to be ok.

The Lenscrafter faq is unhelpful, suggesting that they may sell coatings that can be damaged by isopropyl alcohol: "Depending on the type of lens and certain coatings, alcohol may also damage some lenses."

It you're not certain, there are alcohol-free wipes available.
posted by bonehead at 11:12 AM on July 31, 2014

It occurs to me that maybe the alcohol isn't the problem, but the "detergent" is?

bonehead, I am rather frustrated with how vague Lenscrafters is about this! They warn about alcohol, but then add, "Pre-moistened towelettes made specifically for eyeglass lenses are also an excellent choice, particularly for traveling or the office." So which is it??
posted by geeky at 12:56 PM on July 31, 2014

My optician told me never to use any wipes that were made from paper, not fabric. She told me that any soft fabric is fine but paper wipes and tissues would scratch over time.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:56 PM on July 31, 2014

I would suggest going to a real optician and asking them. Lenscrafters employees are not usually opticians, and are not a good resource for accurate information.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:03 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have the same glasses and use the wipes with alcohol. No problems so far (1 year).
posted by harrietthespy at 2:46 PM on July 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

The temptation was too great. I used a wipe and ... my glasses are fine. Whew.
posted by geeky at 6:45 PM on August 4, 2014

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