Dear Ms. Specs in the City,
Can you please tell me what I can use to clean and sanitize the frames in the store after they have been sampled by customers? I want to protect the customers and the frame investment. The method used before the COVID-19 pandemic may not be enough!

Thank you,
Lisa A. Burns, Licensed Optician
Andrea Prinstein, OD
Franklin Park Vision




Dear Lisa and Andrea,

Thank you for your timely question. First and foremost, Ms. Specs would like to send her most sincere best wishes to ALL. I am sending the best possible vibes to all ECPs as we move through this new reality.

Regarding sanitizing frames, there are different schools of thought. The most common practice I have seen is simply to wash them under hot running water with plenty of soap using the 20 second rule, just like washing our hands. Then dry thoroughly with a new clean cloth. The recommendation to put disposable liners in baskets with signage for the patient to deposit the frames after try-on is a good tip.


While this makes sense, it is only one of several best practices. For the most trustworthy source, I would refer to the CDC recommendations: The CDC chart identifies many different solvents, including hydrogen peroxide, 70 percent alcohol, barbicide, bleach, caviwipes and more (“List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2,” epa.gov/pesticide-registration). The CDC also addresses how long the coronavirus lasts on surfaces: for plastics, two to three days; for stainless steel, two to three days; and for other metals, five days.

Anecdotally, we have seen suggestions to use a UV light to disinfect and sanitize. Although this is good practice for other materials/surfaces, over-use of UV light on plastic frames can prove harmful over time.

While Ms. Specs completely trusts the scientists, as an optician, realizes that we cannot use all the listed substances as they may damage frames. Each manufacturer has cleaning recommendations and warranties. I would suggest referring to them. If for example, a frame was damaged under the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations, it would be under full warranty. Another great source for information about cleaning and sanitizing frames is a continuing education course sponsored by The McGee Group, “The Hygienic Optician” at 2020mag.com.

And Dear Readers, while these times are so different from anything we could have imagined, let’s try to lighten the spirit and even have some fun with the tedious process of disinfecting frames. If possible, “cleaning time” could be done between patients when only the staff is in the area. Why not crank up the music, sing and even dance while tending to this task? For this purpose, Ms. Specs created a special playlist just for you:

  • “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police
  • “Toxic” by Britney Spears
  • “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer
  • “Splish Splash”’ by Bobby Darin
  • Or even, one of my FAVORITES,“Rubber Ducky” by Ernie of “Sesame Street”

Take care of yourselves, wash your hands, and love one another.

See Well and Be Well,
Ms. Specs in the City
Laurie Pierce, ABOM

Do you have a question for Ms. Specs? Please send your question to [email protected], and we may feature it in a future column.