How Do You Get Candle Wax Off Reading Glasses?

Getting candle wax on your glasses can be a frustrating experience. The wax can be difficult to remove completely and may leave behind a hazy film that impacts your vision. This article will provide tips on how to safely and effectively remove candle wax from reading glasses without damaging the lenses.

Assess the Situation

First, look closely at the type and extent of wax on the lenses. There are many different types of candle wax, including paraffin, soy, beeswax, coconut, blends, and more (Martha Stewart, 2021)[1]. Being familiar with wax types can help identify the wax and determine the best removal method.

Also inspect if the wax coating is thick or thin, covering a small or large area, and how hardened it is. Thick layers that cover a wide area will likely require more intense cleaning methods compared to a few small specks. Hardened wax stuck tightly to the lens surface presents more difficulty to remove versus freshly dripped wax that hasn’t fully set.

Take the glasses off and hold them up to the light at different angles to see all areas covered by wax. Identifying how much wax needs removal and the type will inform the approach and techniques needed to safely clean the lenses without damage.

Remove Loose Wax

person inspecting candle wax on eyeglasses

Before using any solvents or abrasives, first try to remove any wax that is not firmly stuck to the lenses. This prevents spreading the wax further and reduces the amount that needs to be dissolved.1

Use a soft, lint-free cloth, tissue, cotton ball, or microfiber towel to very gently wipe the lenses. Avoid rubbing or scraping motions which could scratch the lenses. Instead, lightly dab and lift off any loose bits of wax. You can also try lightly rolling a sticky lint roller over the lenses to pick up wax debris.

If the wax feels slightly sticky or tacky, soak the cloth in warm water and gently wipe again. The moisture can help loosen the wax. Take care not to wet any plastic parts of the eyeglasses.

Work slowly and patiently. Repeated light dabbing or rolling should remove the top layer of wax. Once you’ve removed all the loose wax possible, it’s time to move on to dissolving what remains.

Use Heat

One of the most effective methods for removing wax from glasses is using heat to melt the wax so it can be wiped away. BHG recommends placing the glasses in the oven at 200°F for around 15 minutes to melt the wax, checking frequently to make sure the frames don’t get too hot. You can also hold the glasses over a pot of boiling water, allowing the steam to melt the wax. Similarly, a hairdryer on a low setting can soften wax so it can be wiped off with a soft cloth.

The heat will liquefy the wax so it can be easily removed without scratching the lenses. Be sure to wipe gently and avoid rough scrubbing. Give the glasses a final polish with a microfiber cloth once the wax is gone. With this simple heat method, you can safely remove stubborn wax from glasses without damage.

Ice Cubes

Another method to remove wax from glasses is using ice cubes. This technique involves freezing the wax to make it brittle so that it chips off easier.Source To use this method, place several ice cubes in a plastic bag and hold it against the wax on the glasses. Allow the ice cubes to sit for a few minutes as the wax freezes and hardens. Once the wax feels solid, try gently chipping it off the glasses with your fingernail or a dull knife. The frozen wax should crack and flake off much more easily than if it was still warm and pliable. Be careful when using an object like a knife and don’t scrape too hard to avoid scratching the lenses. The ice cube method is simple, effective, and avoids using any chemical cleaners on your glasses.

Adhesive Removers

A popular option for dissolving wax buildup on glasses is using an adhesive remover like Goo Gone. These types of solvents are specifically designed to break down adhesives, wax residues, stickers, and other grime. When using Goo Gone or a similar adhesive dissolver, start by reading the product label and safety precautions. Then apply a small amount to the wax on the lenses and allow it to soak in for a few minutes before gently wiping away with a soft cloth. The solvents in the adhesive remover will break down the wax so it can be easily buffed off. Be sure to give the lenses a final wipe with a lens-safe cleaner afterwards. Using targeted adhesive dissolving products can be an effective way to conquer stubborn wax buildup without damaging the lenses.


Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer can help dissolve wax off glasses.1 The alcohol breaks down the wax, allowing you to gently wipe it away. Apply a small amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol directly onto the wax using a cotton ball or pad. Let it soak in for a few minutes. Then, gently rub the area to remove the softened wax. Take care not to scratch the lenses while rubbing.

You can also try soaking the glasses in a bath of rubbing alcohol to fully dissolve the wax. Submerge the wax-coated parts of the frames and lenses in a bowl of alcohol for 5-10 minutes. Use tweezers to rub any remaining wax spots. Rinse with water and dry well before wearing again. The alcohol bath helps remove even stubborn, built up wax.


An ammonia-based cleaner like Windex can help dissolve candle wax on glasses. The ammonia breaks down the wax compounds. Apply a small amount of ammonia cleaner directly to the wax. Let it sit for a minute or two to penetrate the wax. Then gently buff the lenses with a microfiber cloth until the wax is gone. Check for any remaining residue and reapply ammonia as needed. Ammonia is effective at removing stubborn wax that other methods can’t get rid of.

One tip when using ammonia is to work in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling the fumes. Ammonia has a strong odor that some find unpleasant. You may want to work near an open window. Also be sure to rinse the glasses well after cleaning to remove any ammonia residue.


How to Remove Candle Wax

Prevent Future Buildup

To avoid having to deal with candle wax buildup on your reading glasses in the future, there are some simple preventative measures you can take:

Be sure to wipe your glasses clean after each use. Any wax residue left on the lenses can attract more wax when you light candles again. Use a microfiber cloth or lens wipe to gently clean both sides of the lenses.

Also, try to keep your glasses at a safe distance from candles when they are lit. Wax can easily splatter or drip onto glasses placed too close to the flame. Ideally, set candles at least 1-2 feet away from where you store or wear your eyewear. Consider placing candles on a high shelf or cabinet if you tend to read near them.

Storing glasses in a protective case when not in use can also help shield them from wax exposure. Be mindful of airflow and drafts that could blow candle smoke towards your glasses. With some simple precautions, you can avoid having to remove built-up wax from your eyewear over and over again.

When to Replace Glasses

If the wax residue persists after trying various removal methods, it might be time to replace the lenses. While scratches and fogginess can sometimes be remedied, hardened wax that won’t budge could permanently impair your vision and eyewear performance.

Before replacing the lenses, consider consulting your optometrist to see if they have any other tricks for removing the wax. However, if it is determined that the wax buildup can’t be fully eliminated, replacing the lenses is likely the best option.

Some signs that it’s time for new lenses include:

  • Wax debris remains stuck in hard-to-reach areas like the frames or hinges
  • A scratched or cloudy appearance that doesn’t go away after cleaning
  • Ongoing eye strain or headaches from attempting to see through blurry wax patches
  • The effectiveness of your prescription being compromised by obscured vision

Rather than struggle with lackluster eyewear performance, investing in a new pair of lenses can restore your vision back to normal. Be sure to take measures to prevent future wax buildup. But ultimately, lenses affected by irreversible wax damage will likely need replacement. See an optician to explore lens options if scratches, residue, and general wear take away from your glasses’ functionality.

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