Introduction: Disinfecting Safety Glasses

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We've got this big collection of heavily used safety glasses that function as loaner glasses at FIRST robotics competitions and at team meetings. Our collection is a motley combination of store bought glasses and adopted glasses, collected from the unclaimed leavings of various events. So they've also been handled a lot, and in the process of cleaning up our safety glasses act, we figured we should start with disinfection.

Step 1: Materials

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To clean your safety glasses, you'll need

  • a couple of bowls, one for washing and one for rinsing
  • Bleach
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • towels

Step 2: Prepare Disinfectant Wash

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There's this handy guide from Michigan State University that provides some great protocols for safety gear, including a section on Cleaning and Disinfecting Shared Eyewear. It's hard to find eyewear more shared than youth safety glasses!

We used an approximation of the MSU recommendation and used 1 tablespoon household bleach to 8 cups of hot water, along with a tablespoon of dishwashing detergent.

Step 3: Soak and Wash

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Soak a few glasses at a time - no need to scratch them further! - for about five minutes, then agitate by hand and wash gently.

Step 4: Rinse and Repeat

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We placed the washed glasses in a bowl of a clear warm water before adding a second batch to the wash water. Then, as per MSU, we rinsed the glasses well under running water, as well. You want to make sure you have all the bleach and cleaning solution off the glasses before using, as residue from the wash solution could be an irritant.

Step 5: Air Dry

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Let glasses air dry on towels, and finish off with a soft cloth if desired. If you see light scratches, you can try polishing them out by hand. (See Removing Light Scratches from Safety Glasses)

Step 6: Store Properly

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Store your disinfected glasses properly (i.e. not in a box!) for future use. Use disinfecting wipes to clean glasses between uses and after heavy use, run through the disinfecting process again.

Stay Safe!

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