By Mike Thayer
For those of us who wear glasses, some kind of lens cleaner is a must have.
For guys, a handkerchief works OK, provided it's clean, but you have to apply some kind of moisture to the lenses to actually get them clean, otherwise you're just spreading the smudges and dirt from one spot on the lens, to the entire lens surface. My Dad literally covers a lens with his mouth, exhaling on the lens to fog it up, wipes it down, then does the other lens.
A shirt tail can work in an emergency, but long term this is actually a bad thing, because it will prematurely wear down any coating you might have on your lenses and scratch them up with repeated use.
Kleenex or paper towels is a big time no-no! Don't do it! This is worse than using a shirt tail.
Enter, Zeiss Lens Wipes and Lens Cleaner.
Suitable for all types of eyeglasses, these products are especially effective in cleaning and preserving coated lenses. And they're not just for glasses, they effectively clean other types of lenses, such as binoculars and cameras, as well as cell phone screens and tablets.
I use both the lens wipes and lens cleaner, but I prefer the wipes, using the spray cleaner as a backup in case I temporarily run out of the wipes.
Pros: These pre-moistened individually wrapped wipes are convenient as heck, clean thoroughly, they're non-abrasive, streak free and mobile. I've got the main stash at home, I keep some in my truck, some are packed in my travel bag.
Cons: There are no cons, unless you run out.
Cost: Around $5.75 for a 100 count box
Pros: The spray used to be my preference. Combined with a clean cloth the spray is a clean that's tough to beat and there was a time when the wipes weren't as streak free as they are now. An 8 ounce bottle of lens cleaner will last you a lot longer than a 100 count box of wipes.
Cons: The spray is only as good as the drying cloth is clean. A dirty cloth will leave a slight waxy-like film on the lens surface. It's irritating to look through. The easy fix is to reach for a clean cloth, but now that wipes are improved, it's why the spray cleaner has become a plan B. The cleaner is not as portable as the wipes, with the 8 ounce bottle and a cloth taking up more space than a few wipes. You can purchase one of the 'kit' options that includes a 2 ounce bottle of cleaner, making it more mobile friendly.
Cost: Around $5 for an 8 ounce bottle of cleaner. Pay about the same for a 'kit' version that includes a cleaning cloth and a 2 ounce bottle. A kit of two 8 ounce bottles and two cleaning cloths will run around $11.
Both Zeiss lens cleaning options are effective, reasonably priced and I'm giving them each 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. Which one you'll choose for everyday cleaning is a really a matter of personal preference. I like to have both on hand, but appreciate the convenience of the wipes over the spray.