Anyone who has ever worked on arts and crafts projects knows that working with paint can get incredibly messy, no matter how careful you are.
One of the trickiest questions we face is how to get paint off of eyeglasses. Prescription glasses can be quite expensive, so you definitely want to keep them clean and polished, but you don’t want to damage the lenses in the process.
So, how do you get paint off of eyeglasses? There are several ways to get paint off of eyeglasses, including using cleansing wipes, eyeglass cleaner, and dish soap. However, if the paint has already dried, it may be trickier. Don’t use paint thinner, as this can damage your glasses
In this article, you’ll learn all about what to do when you accidentally get paint on your eyeglasses so you won’t be painting blindly.
Why You Need To Be Careful When Cleaning Paint From Eyeglasses
The first thing you need to know about eyeglasses, especially prescription glasses and sunglasses, is that they often have a protective coating that improves the glasses’ performance.
The coatings are applied on both sides of the lenses to help them become anti-reflective, scratch-resistant, UV-protective, or tinted. Why is this important?
When you are removing paint from a surface, the natural first thought is to use a paint thinner or cleaning solution to strip the paint from that surface.
Well, with eyeglasses, those harsh cleaning solutions can actually strip the protective coatings from the eyeglass’ surface, which can significantly reduce their performance and sometimes even ruin your expensive lenses altogether!
Most household cleaners are not safe for cleaning eyeglasses. They can scratch the coating and cause damage. Even common household products that are generally used for cleaning, like baking soda or white vinegar, can be quite damaging to your eyeglasses.
Paint thinners like mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol can be quite effective at removing paint on all kinds of surfaces. However, in the case of cleaning eyeglasses, they can strip both the paint and the protective coatings, damaging your glasses altogether!
When cleaning paint from your eyeglasses, you should never scrape the paint from the glasses or wipe the glasses with a dry cloth. This is because the glasses are quite sensitive, so any scraping motion can scratch your glasses and damage them!
Similarly, when you wipe your glasses with a dry cloth, the dust and lint trapped in the cloth can sometimes accidentally scratch the glasses during the wiping motion. It’s recommended that you only clean your glasses with a soft microfiber cloth or cotton cloth and use a cleaning solution designed for eyeglasses to avoid scratching them.
Of course, this makes cleaning paint from your eyeglasses tremendously difficult because of how sensitive the glasses are. Generally, if the paint is already dry and you don’t want to risk damaging the lenses, you should take them to the optometrist, who will have the proper cleaning solutions and techniques to safely clean the glasses for you.
However, if you don’t have access to a store, then let’s take a look at some ways to remove paint from your eyeglasses below.
How To Get Spray Paint Off Glasses
Spray paint is an easy way to apply paint that even beginners can do flawlessly, but a big downside of spray paint is sometimes it can get on surfaces that you won’t want to paint, including your eyeglasses.
Spray paint can be either water-based or oil-based, depending on the type that you get. When you buy spray paint, take a look at its composition to see if it’s water-based or oil-based.
Generally, oil-based paint is a bit trickier to clean since it will require harsher treatments, while water-based paint can be removed with just soap and water.
One huge issue with spray paint is that it can dry really quickly. This is not always a bad thing, since spray paint can sometimes be scraped off easily, especially if the surface is not primed. If you get the spray paint on the frame (or basically anywhere but the lenses), you can simply scrape it off with a card or even your fingernails.
The tricky part is getting spray paint from your lenses without damaging the coating. Let’s take a look at some ways to get spray paint from your eyeglasses.
1. Cleansing Wipes
There are cleansing wipes specifically formulated to be kind to the protective coatings from your eyeglasses. If you have glasses cleansing wipes at home, you can use this type of wipe to remove spray paint from your lenses without damaging them.
If your spray paint is still wet, we don’t recommend wiping the paint off your glasses. You can end up spreading the paint everywhere and can hurt your glasses even more. You should wait a while for the spray paint to settle a bit before using a cleansing wipe to remove the paint flecks from your glasses.
If the paint has already dried, it is a little bit trickier to wipe away the paint without scrubbing. If this is the case, you will want to press the wipe on the painted area for a few minutes to let the paint absorb the cleansing liquid, which will loosen the paint.
Then, you can try to gently wipe the paint away using your cleansing wipe again, which should remove the paint cleanly without scratching your lenses.
2. Eyeglass Cleaner
If you don’t have a cleansing wipe, then an eyeglass cleaning liquid will do the trick just fine.
Once again, an eyeglass cleaning liquid is formulated to work well with glasses to remove anything on the lenses without hurting the protective coatings. If you have an eyeglass cleaning liquid at home, it can be used to remove spray paint from your glasses.
Wait for the spray paint to dry, then spray the cleaning liquid on the paint and let it soak for a few minutes, which will help loosen the paint. Then, you can use a microfiber cloth to wipe again, lightly scraping the paint to remove it.
3. Dish Soap
If you don’t have cleaning wipes or cleaning liquids specifically formulated for eyeglasses, then a mild dish soap will work. Dish soap can effectively remove stains without damaging the protective coatings, as long as you use it properly.
If your paint is still a little bit wet, you can use a little bit of dish soap to rub on the paint, then rinse your glasses with warm water to remove the paint. Then, you can use a microfiber cloth to dry your glasses, and they should come out as good as new.
If the paint has already dried up, then you will need to soak your glasses in a soap bath for a few minutes to loosen up the paint. Then, you will be able to easily clean the paint from your classes using a gentle rubbing motion. Make sure to dry your glasses with a soft cloth, and you should be able to remove the spray paint completely from your glasses.
How To Remove Acrylic Paint From Eye Glasses
Acrylic paint is another common household paint that is used in all kinds of arts and crafts projects. Acrylic paint is beloved because it is highly versatile and can work well with all kinds of mediums, and it’s non-toxic with a low odor, which means painting with acrylic is quite pleasant.
But, what do you do when you get acrylic paint on your eyeglasses? The good news is that acrylic paint is actually water-based paint, which means it can be thinned with water as long as the paint is still wet. This trick also works well with every other kind of water-based paint (like chalk paint or watercolor).
Thankfully, acrylic paint takes a bit longer to dry compared to spray paint, so you will have plenty of time to remove the paint from your glasses before it’s too late.
If your paint is still wet, use a little bit of mild soap (dish soap or unscented hand soap would work well) and gently rub the paint fleck on your eyeglasses. Then, you can rinse your glasses with warm water and dry them with a soft cloth, and all the acrylic paint will be effectively removed!
If the acrylic paint is already dry – then we have some bad news for you. Acrylic paint dries semi-permanent and semi-waterproof, which means it can be very stubborn to remove.
When the acrylic paint is dry, it’s best to take your eyeglasses to an optometrist, who can safely remove the dry paint without damaging your lenses!
Depending on the type of water-based paint, the paint can still be washed off after it is dry. If you have dry chalk paint or dry watercolor on your eyeglasses, it can still be washed off from your eyeglasses with a mild soap.
How To Remove Paint From Uncoated Eye Glasses
The solutions mentioned above work well with spray paint or water-based paint, but what if you want something a bit stronger to remove oil-based paint or dry acrylic paint?
While there are definitely some solvents that are stronger and can remove oil-based paint from your glasses, they will also strip the coatings from the glasses and damage them for good.
Because of this, we only recommend using the following solutions on uncoated eyeglasses, such as safety glasses, so that you can remove the paint from the lenses for the next use.
Basically, any paint thinner or solvent that you can use to thin paint can be used to remove paint from uncoated eyeglasses. Keep in mind that a lot of paint thinners are strong chemicals that can be toxic and have a strong odor, so be careful when you use these solutions indoors.
1. Using Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is actually a mild solvent that can be effective for thinning paint. If you have some rubbing alcohol at home, you can actually use it to make a DIY eyeglass cleaner that would be highly effective at removing paint.
To make this solution, mix two parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water, and add in a few drops of mild dish soap to increase the solution’s ability to remove the paint. Shake well to mix the solution together, then pour it into a spray bottle.
You can now use this solution as an eyeglass cleaner! Spray the paint thoroughly with this solution. If the paint is dry, let the solution soak for a few minutes. Then, you can use a microfiber cloth or cotton cloth to gently rub on your glasses, and the paint should come off nicely.
2. Using Mineral Spirits
Mineral spirits is actually a very popular paint thinner that will work well to clean oil paint or dry acrylic paint from any surface.
However, because this is a very harsh chemical, mineral spirits will definitely strip any protective coating from your glasses. This is why we only recommend using mineral spirits to remove paint from uncoated lenses.
When working with mineral spirits, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area. Since this is a strong chemical with some odor, make sure to take proper precautions when working with it.
To clean dry paint from your glasses, use a soft cloth to pick up some of the mineral spirits, then rub the cloth gently on the glasses to dissolve the paint.
Then, you should use a mild soap to clean the glasses to remove all the chemicals thoroughly and rinse with warm water. After drying with a soft cloth, you should be able to use your glasses again, free of any paint flecks.
3. Using Acetone
Acetone is another strong solvent most often used to remove nail polish. If you have some acetone at home, you can also use it to strip dry paint from uncoated eyeglasses.
Because this is a very strong and harsh chemical, make sure to only use it for uncoated glasses because otherwise, it can also strip the protective coating from your glasses as well as the paint.
If you want to remove dry paint from your uncoated glasses, then you can use a microfiber cloth to pick up some acetone and gently rub the liquid on the dry paint. The acetone should be able to melt away the dry paint nicely.
Then, you can wash the glasses again to remove any chemical residue and dry them with a soft cloth.
Protecting Your Glasses While Painting
While it is possible to remove paint from your glasses in some instances, you may not always be successful. Certain types of paint, such as oil paint or dry acrylic paint, can be quite stubborn to remove.
If you use harsh chemicals, or if you are not careful when removing the paint, then you can risk permanently damaging your glasses.
As a pair of eyeglasses, especially prescription glasses, can be quite expensive, you will want to keep them away from the paint to begin with.
This means when working with paint applications that can get everywhere, such as spray paint, you will want to wear protective eyewear over your glasses to protect them. While this can be hard to see, it will definitely save you the trouble of cleaning and risking damaging your glasses later.
When working with other types of paint, you should always be mindful of where your paintbrushes are and keep them away from your face so that you don’t get paint on your glasses.
If you already have paint on your glasses and are not sure whether you will risk damaging them with household cleaners, the best way to treat this problem would be to take your glasses to the optometrist for a professional look. The store will have professional cleaning liquids that can help you safely remove the paint without hurting the lenses.