One and a half years on, and the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as this is likely something that will pass just like the flu pandemic in the early 1900s (fingers crossed).
The idea of this topic hit me when thinking about how the Corona virus can enter the body (such as through the mouth & nose). We handle our glasses on a daily basis and place them on all kinds of surfaces, only to put them on our face!
We instinctively wipe down the lenses for clearer vision, but how often do we deep clean the rest (such as the frame, nose pads & hinges)?
Keeping your glasses clean is good for three reasons:
- You can see more clearly
- It reduces eye strain
- It prolongs the life expectancy of your glasses
So, let’s learn more on how to achieve this!
What Is A Home Ultrasonic Eyeglass Cleaner?
This is an automatic self cleaning glasses machine that you can get for your home. Typically containing between a 0.5l and 0.8l tank capacity that holds water (cleaning solution).
The machine will typically have an on/off switch with a timer display to set how long you want the cleaning process to be.
Once on, ultrasonic cleaners will generate high frequency vibrations typically above 30KHz (out of human hearing range). This in turn, heats the water up to 100°F which also aids with the cleaning process.
Pro tip: Adding dish soap such as Dawn helps aid the ultrasonic cleaning process.
Do Ultrasonic Eyeglass Cleaners Really Clean?
The answer is a resounding yes!
High frequency vibrations shake off dirt residues into the water, even in those impossible tiny recesses or holes. This method can, in a few seconds, clean more of your glasses than any manual cleaning can ever achieve.
Check out this satisfying video and watch the grime dance away from your glasses.
They work well, very well, but are ultrasonic cleaning machines safe to use on eyeglass, this is a question that we need to address!
Are Ultrasonic Eyeglass Cleaners Safe For Anti-Reflective Lenses?
There are counter opinions about this argument, however, I am under the impression that anti-reflective lenses may get damaged while using ultrasonic cleaners.
This isn’t so much because of the vibrations stripping off the reflective coating, but rather the reflective coats aren’t usually dense. As a result water can be absorbed within the film if the lens is left long enough in the solution.
This absorbed water can cause many problems to the lens including color shifts in the film and adhesive failure… so we’d say, better safe than sorry!
Magnasonic Professional Eyeglass Cleaner
The Mangasonic cleaner takes our first spot. The 42,000 Hz vibrates gently to clean hard to reach nooks and crannies without damaging your delicate glasses or lenses.
Remember, glasses are made up of more than just the frame and lenses. The hinges and screws that hold them in place are also deep cleaned thanks to the micro-bubbles. These moving parts must also be cleaned for maintenance purposes.
5 pre-set cleaning cycles times at 90, 180, 280, 380 & 480 seconds is likely all you need, so there’s no need fiddling with programs. Simply click and walk away.
Lastly the 20 oz capacity is large enough for glasses and jewellery items, yet the machine is not too big and bulky. The chamber is stainless steel making it durable and rust proof, giving it many years of usage.
What we like
What needs improving
iSonic D3800a Digital Ultrasonic Cleaner
The iSonic took a different approach to the other ultrasonic cleaners, inasmuch as they provided accessories which make it easier to add and remove items easily for cleaning. For example, the iSonic provided a watch designed to keep the main workings outside of the water, while the straps got cleaned.
The timer settings are 90, 180, 280, 380, 480 seconds, just like the Magnasonic. I found that the range of these pre-defined settings were more than enough for cleaning glasses, watches and even jewellery, and even if they are not, simply run the machine again.
What we like
What needs improving
Sonic Wave CD-2800 Cleaner
An other 42,000 Hz pulses of energy machine that generate millions of micro-bubbles that are designed to penetrate grease, grime and dust in hard to reach places.
For really stuck on dirt, this unit also produces gentle but slow vibration motions, gently persuading the dirt to loosen its grip.
It’s construction and electronics are solid and you’ll instantly notice this during operations as it performs quietly without any rattling that’s indicative of cheaper constructions.
What we like
What needs improving
* Warning: Using ultrasonic machines with glasses that have pre-existing scratches or cracks in the coating can further damage your glasses.
Importance of Cleaning Your Eyewear
OK, we know prescription glasses are not cheap, and as already mentioned, cleaning them, will prolong the life expectance of the lenses and frames.
However, there are other negative consequences to having dirty eyewear and those are:
- Reduced visibility
- Increased eye strain
Consequences of Reduced Visibility
This may sound stupid, but you got your glasses to improve your eye sight. Yet, many go by their day with smudge lenses which blocks your vision.
The crazy thing is that often we do not notice the issue and continue going through the day with impaired vision. It’s only after the lenses are clean do we really notice how restricted our vision was.
Reduced visibility can be dangerous. Imagine driving a car and not being able to see clearly through your glasses. This is why you should get into the habit of cleaning your lenses regularly (be it manually or by machine)!
Effects of Eye Strain
Dirt, smudges and debris on your lenses interfere with your visibility, which intern places strain on your eyes. Any form of eye strain should be avoided as this can lead to headaches and blurry vision.
Reasons Why Automatic Eyeglass Cleaners Should Be Used
The reasons for cleaning your glasses are the same regardless if done manually or using an ultrasonic eyeglass cleaner. You do it to keep your visibility clear, reduce eye strain and prolong the lifespan of your eyewear.
But are there any advantages of using eyeglass cleaning machines over doing it manually?
Let’s take a look!
Workload & Cleaning Time
Removes the brunt of the work. Simply place your eyeglasses into the machine and let it do its thing. When the cleaning process is complete, simply remove your glasses and wear them (no manual cleaning involved).
Depth Of Cleaning
Let’s be honest, as someone who wears glasses, we often do the bare minimum. At most, we will get some spray and wipe them down using the correct lint-free cloth, but usually, we just huff our breath on the lens and wipe with our shirt.
Using machines such as an ultrasonic glasses cleaner do not just clean the glasses but also disinfects and sterilizes them too. Furthermore, these machines can remove grime that gets stuck in the nooks and crannies of the frame (such as the hinges).
Buying Guide: Important Factors To Consider When Getting An Eyewear Cleaning Machine
It’s worth noting that having a machine that can do things for you automatically does not mean being free of running costs and maintenance.
There are some disadvantages with having an eyeglass cleaning machine that is designed to do the work for you, but the pros outweigh the cons!
Here are but some disadvantages that comes with having a cleaning machine for your reading glasses.
- The machines themselves need cleaning
- May require special solution / liquid (running costs)
- Machines can be power hungry (30-50 watts)
- Usually required distilled water (not regular water)
Now that we’ve got that out the way and you’re prepared to make your purchase, let’s look at a few considerations first.
Cleaning Time Options
Three-to-four minutes of cleaning is about the required time to get your eyewear cleaned. Therefore, if you are looking for a machine specifically for your spectacles, then you should have no problems finding one with these preset options.
However, ultrasonic cleaner can be used for cleaning a variety of items and if your intention is to use it for multiple purposes, then be sure to look for brands that offer longer cleaning cycles and possibly a larger range of frequency options.
Wave frequency makes all the difference to the size of the bubbles that need to get into every nook & cranny. It’s also worth noting, eyeglasses are very delicate and the “softer” the cleaning process, the better.
As a general rule, the greater the frequency, the smaller the bubbles are and consequently, the gentler the cleaning action is on your glasses. These smaller bubbles are also better at getting into those hard to reach places.
Construction & Durability
Like the foundation of a house, the construction will determine the durability of the machine and ultimately how long it will last. Although a metal casing is durable, do not me completely discouraged by machines made from plastic. Plastic is waterproof and provides great shock resistance on the electrical components within the machine.
Due to the tank being subjected to ultrasonic pulses and immersed in water, it’s best to select a machine that has a tank made from stainless steel that’s corrosive-resistant and of food-grade.
Further Care & Maintenance Instructions For An Ultrasonic Cleaner
As mentioned, the cleaning machine needs cleaning too, so that they work as efficiently as possible during the coming years.
For example, after a thorough clean you should dump the used water and never reuse as you will simply transfer the dirt on your next wash.
Most cleaning machines will explicitly say on the manual to never use regular tap water as the impurities can discolour or tarnish the quality of your eyepiece. As a result, it will request you use distilled or de-ionized water for optimum cleaning.
However, be sure to check the manual first as some brands can handle tap water for the cleaning process.
What are the most popular eyeglass cleaning machine brands?
The answer depends on personal taste, however, in our opinion the best ultrasonic cleaners in terms of value for money are the ones mentioned in this article, Magnasonic, iSonic & Sonic Wave
What cleaning solutions should you never use with an ultrasonic cleaner?
Always remember, the ultrasonic pulses and the heat of the water should be enough to thoroughly clean your glasses. If you want to really get them sparkling, you can add a spot of washing up liquid.
Never use alcohol, gasoline or any liquids with a low flash point as a cleaning solution for your ultrasonic cleaner. These liquids are easily agitated and can cause fires and/or explosions.
How can I maintain and take care of my cleaner?
The best place to store your eyeglass cleaning machine is in a air-dry area. The avoids the electrical components from getting wet, so anywhere that’s dry and not humid will do.
Casual use is also encouraged, as machines need to be used somewhat to keep their their cogs going in order to blow out the cobwebs and any lingering dust.
After using the machine, remove the basket, so it can be cleaned inside out and be sure to dry it out before placing it back. The basket is designed to withstand water, but it is always a good idea to keep it dry when not in use.
These machines are brilliant at cleaning your eyewear, but better yet, you can add other items for cleaning, such as jewellery too!
They litterally shake the grime, debris and oils off your glasses. However, like anything, there is a caveat. For example, pre-existing scratches or cracks in the coating can help further worsen the existing damage.
Furthermore, any appliance that is used for cleaning, must also be cleaned itself. So they aren’t self sufficient and require some maintence, but in my opinion still well worth the investment.