How to remove paint from plastic eyeglass lenses

Updated April 17, 2017

Painting anywhere around the house, inside or out can get messy even with the best of preparation. There are times when paint ends up where it's not supposed to be, like on your clothes, in your hair, or splattered all over your glasses. Removing oil- or water-based paint from plastic eyeglasses is relatively simple if proper methods are used.

Check to see if the paint is still wet. If the paint is wet and water-based, it may easily wipe off with a clean, dry cloth. For either water-based or oil-based paint, first try wrapping a small piece of cloth around your index finger and gently wipe the paint from the glasses, taking care not to press hard against the lenses. Repeat this procedure until the wet paint has been removed from the plastic.

For dry paint, rubbing alcohol is effective for removing both water-based and oil-based paints. Dab a very small amount of alcohol on the corner of a clean, dry cloth and gently and carefully rub over the paint on the plastic area of the eyeglasses. Use long strokes along the length of the plastic surface and resist the urge to rub back and forth harshly, which can harm the finish on the glasses.

Remove stubborn flecks of paint from plastic glasses with a bit of paint thinner or turpentine, which works best for oil-based paints. However, take care not to apply too much thinner or turpentine, and don't damage the finish by rubbing to hard. After each swipe of the thinner or turpentine, wipe gently with a clean damp sponge or cloth to remove excess thinner or turpentine and prevent it from soaking into the frames and eating away at the finish.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paint thinner
  • Water
  • Cleaning cloths


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About the Author

Denise Stern is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for more than seven years. Stern regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites and has an associate and specialized business degree in health information management and technology.