What is the Green Stuff on Glasses? And How to Get Rid of It!

what is the green stuff on glasses?

Whilst the green stuff looks pretty gross, it isn’t mould or bacteria growth. Glasses are commonly made from an alloy of copper and nickel. When copper is exposed to air, oils, or salts, it slowly oxidises and turns your metal frames and nose pads green. This process is very similar to what you see when iron rusts and turns orange/brown. 

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Is the Green Stuff on Glasses Harmful?

Don’t worry, the green stuff on your glasses isn’t algae – it’s simply oxidized copper. It isn’t harmful, but it’s usually a sign that your glasses are ready for a clean.

Don’t stress too much – you’re much more likely to get a skin infection from the bacteria or oil on your nose pads than you are from the oxidised copper. 

How to Get Rid of Green Stuff on My Glasses

Whilst the oxidation (green stuff) on your glasses isn’t harmful, chances are that it’s not the look you’re going for. Thankfully, it’s a quick and easy process to clean your glasses at home. 

Things You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp (5-grams) of baking soda
  • Small bowl
  • Gentle liquid detergent 
  • Soft cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • 1 cup of water (125mL)

DIY Glasses Cleaner Recipe for removing oxidation


  1. Mix 3 drops of detergent, 1 tsp of baking soda, and 1 cup of water. Pour the water into a small bowl and add the detergent and baking soda. Stir the solution until the baking soda dissolves and the water is soapy.
  • A gentle detergent, such as Dawn Care, works best. Avoid any detergents that are labelled as “moisturising”, as these can leave a greasy film on your glasses. 
  1. Use a soft cloth to wipe away any oxidation and green gunk. Dip the cloth into the soapy mixture and squeeze out any excess liquid. Gently wipe the soapy mixture over the entire frames and lenses. 
  2. Clean any stubborn dirt with a soft toothbrush. Sometimes dirt will build up in hard to reach places, like between the lenses and frames or around the nose pads. Dunk a clean, soft toothbrush into the soapy water and gently scrub away any remaining green dirt. 
  • Avoid brushing the front of the lenses, as this can scratch the protective coatings. 
  1. Rinse the glasses with fresh water. Rotate the glasses under the tap to get rid of all the soapy residue. If you notice any remaining dirt on your frames, simply repeat the cleaning process. 
  2. Dry your glasses with a soft cloth. This helps to prevent further oxidation (green dirt) appearing on your frames. If your cloth is too thick to dry around the hinges or around the nose pads, try a cotton pad or paper towel. 
  • If your glasses are still dirty, take them to your local optician or glasses store. They will be able to clean them in an ultrasonic cleaner for you. This is generally free-of-charge or very inexpensive. 

How to Prevent Green Stuff (Oxidation) on Glasses

  1. Keep your frames dry, where possible. Don’t leave them in the bathroom while you are showering and dry them if you get caught in the rain.
  2. Avoid exercising with your glasses on. The salt in sweat will speed up the oxidation process and make your frames look green, If you do sweat in your frames, make an effort to dry them afterwards with a soft cloth. 
  3. Wash your frames every few weeks. The natural oils on your hands and face will cause your frames to oxidise and turn green. Use a soap solution to clean your glasses and prevent the oxidation from forming.

DIY Glasses Cleaner

DIY glasses cleaner


  1. Fill a small bowl with warm water and a few drops of mild soap or detergent. Avoid using a moisturising soap as this can create a greasy film on your glasses. 
  2. Dip a soft cloth in the soapy water and gently wash the frames. Clean the entire frames, the screws/hinges, and the nose pads. If your lenses are dirty or greasy, gently rub both sides of the glass. 
  3. Rinse the frames under cold water and pat dry. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid any streaks on your glasses. Use a soft cloth, (such as microfibre or brushed cotton) to remove all traces of moisture. If your cloth is too thick to dry inside the hinges of your classes frames, use a cotton pad or leave them to air dry. 

    Alternatively, try our homemade witch hazel eyeglass cleaner.

Why do the Nose Pieces on My Glasses Turn Yellow?

Nose pieces are generally made from plastic or silicon. When these materials are exposed to sweat and oil, they will eventually discolour and turn yellow. With regular wear, this usually happens after about 12-months. 

Unfortunately, the yellow discolouration is permanent. Your best option is to visit your local optician and get the nose pads replaced. This generally costs between $20-40 – although some stores will do it free of charge for regular customers. 

Why Do the Nose Pieces on Glasses Turn Green?

Why do the nose pads on my glasses turn green

Most nose pieces are attached to your frames with metal screws. If these screws contain copper (which they often do), they will oxidise and turn green when they get wet or greasy. If your nose pads are made of clear silicone or plastic, the green oxidation will then leach into the pads causing them to have a green tinge. Unfortunately, this is irreversible as you can’t clean inside the glasses nose pads. 

If the discolouration is bothering you, stop by your local optician to get a new set of nose pads fitted. 

Can I Clean My Glasses with Witch Hazel?

Yes, witch hazel is a great natural lens cleaner. It won’t damage your frames or lenses and will help to get rid of dirt and grease. This keeps your lenses clear and shiny and helps to prevent oxidation on your frames. Read our DIY witch hazel eyeglass cleaner recipe.