How to clean and store contact lenses

Medically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.

Soft contact lenses are a convenient and effective way of correcting vision. To ensure they remain comfortable and hygienic, it's essential to clean and store them properly. All types of contact lenses, apart from the daily contact lenses need to be cleaned and stored carefully as they are meant for multiple wears. In this article, we’ll go through the essential steps for cleaning and storing your soft contact lenses safely for optimal eye health and vision.

What is the best way to clean soft contacts?

A thorough contact lens care regime will ensure your eyes are kept healthy and free from eye infections. Taking care of your contacts goes beyond a thorough cleaning regime and includes taking certain measures and precautions in your day-to-day routine.

For example, you should always remove your contact lenses before doing anything where water might come into contact with your eyes, such as showering, having a bath, using saunas/hot tubs or swimming. You should keep your contact lens case clean and make sure you replace it every 3 months. You should never wear your lenses if they’ve been stored for longer than 30 days without being disinfected.

In addition to this, you should visit an eye care professional regularly to make sure you always have the right contact lens prescription for your lifestyle and that your contact lenses fit your eyes properly without causing any problems.

How to clean soft contact lenses?

Follow the steps below on how to clean your contact lenses:

How to clean soft contact lenses

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them with a lint-free towel.
  2. Place one of the contact lenses in the palm of your hand and apply a few drops of contact lens solution to it.
  3. Gently rub the lens back and forth with your index finger and thumb to clean the surface of the lens for at least 10 seconds.
  4. Rinse the lens with a few more drops of contact lens solution.
  5. Disinfect your lenses by putting them in a clean contact lens case filled with fresh disinfecting solution. Never top up old solutions with more.
  6. Repeat this process for your other lens before placing it in the contact lens case and closing it.
  7. Leave both lenses to soak in the lens holder for as long as recommended on the product packaging.

Please note: When cleaning your contact lenses, make sure to put the lid back on the solution bottle as you don't want the solution to get contaminated. Also, ensure you throw the solution bottle away as stated on the packaging. For example, some manufacturers recommend 30 days and others can be 90 days, from opening.

How to clean soft contact lenses using a multi-purpose contact lens solution?

Multi-purpose contact lens solutions are comprehensive solutions for cleaning, disinfecting, rinsing, and storing your contact lenses. Opting for a multi-purpose contact lens solution not only offers convenience but is also a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative, sparing you the hassle of purchasing multiple products. You can follow the above-mentioned steps to clean your contact lenses with a multi-purpose solution.

If you have dry eyes, we suggest opting for a solution enriched with hyaluronate. This natural lubricant effectively enhances moisture retention in your contact lenses, significantly boosting their comfort.

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How to clean soft contact lenses using a hydrogen peroxide contact lens solution?

Hydrogen peroxide solution can be used to disinfect your lenses. These solutions are preservative-free and can be suitable for those with sensitive eyes when used correctly. Using hydrogen peroxide solutions to disinfect contact lenses can be a one or two-step process.

In the one-step method, the peroxide solution is neutralised during disinfection using a contact lens case that has a built-in neutralisation disc.

In the two-step method, a neutralising tablet is added to the peroxide solution, which dissolves over time to neutralise the solution.

Take the following steps while using hydrogen peroxide solutions to clean your soft lenses safely:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them properly.
  2. First, remove the lens from your right eye and place it in the designated right basket (marked: R) within the open lens holder. Gently close the basket. Repeat this process for the lens from your left eye, placing it in the left basket and closing it carefully.
  3. Now, fill the lens case to the marked line with fresh peroxide solution. Be sure not to underfill or overfill the lens case.
  4. Insert the lens holder into the lens case and close the cap carefully. For the two-step system, don’t forget to add the neutralising tablet. You'll notice the solution will begin to bubble. Keep the lens case in an upright position, ensuring the lenses are completely immersed.
  5. Allow your lenses to soak overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours before applying them to your eyes. It's important not to shake the lens case and to keep it upright during disinfection. You may prefer to rinse your lenses with sterile saline before applying them.
  6. If you are using the two-step process, remember to add the neutralising tablet and wait for the process to complete before inserting your lenses.

Please note: Never use hydrogen peroxide solution directly in your eyes. Ensure the solution has been neutralised properly.

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Why is it important to clean your contact lenses?

Cleaning your contact lenses properly is crucial for many reasons:

  • Comfort: Cleaning lenses helps avoid the accumulation of debris and lipid deposits, leading to improved comfort.
  • Clearer vision: Dirty lenses can give you hazy vision, affecting your daily activities. Keep your lenses clean for clear vision.
  • Eye health: Poor lens hygiene can increase the risk of eye infections and may ultimately affect your overall eye health.

How do you clean contact lenses for the first time?

If you're new to wearing contact lenses, follow your optician's instructions for cleaning, tailored to your lens care routine. Use recommended products for your specific lens type and consult your optician before making any substitutions.

Can you use a hard contact lens solution for soft lenses?

Cleaning rigid gas permeable contact lenses or hard lenses requires a different regime to that of cleaning soft contact lenses. You should talk to an eye care professional regarding which care system is best for you, as cleaning and disinfecting hard contact lenses involves the use of different solutions.

Please note: Hard contact lens solution should never be used for soft contact lenses.

How to clean a daily disposable contact lens?

Daily disposable lenses don't need to be cleaned as they are designed to be discarded at the end of the day.

You should never reuse your daily disposable contact lenses as they are not designed to be used in this way. Incorrect use could lead to dry, irritated eyes and increase the risk of infection.

Can I use water to clean my contacts?

No, you cannot use water to clean your contacts. You should never clean or store your contact lenses in water of any kind. Both bottled and tap water contains impurities that can damage your contact lenses and cause serious eye infections.

Is it safe to put contact solution in your eyes?

You should never put contact solution directly in your eyes, as it contains cleaning agents meant for lenses, not eyes. Never use hydrogen peroxide solution in your eyes, as it can cause painful chemical injuries. Instead, use rewetting eye drops if your eyes feel dry for added moisture.

How to store soft contact lenses?

Storing your contact lenses properly is critical for maintaining lens hygiene and protecting them from other damages. Follow the below tips to ensure you are storing your soft contact lenses properly:

  • Keep your lens case clean: Maintain your lens case hygiene by replacing the solution daily and rinsing your case after every use. Let it air dry before using it again.
  • Be consistent: Stick to a daily routine of cleaning and storing your contact lenses. This will reduce the risk of contamination and eye infections.
  • Store lenses in fresh solution: When not in use, store your soft contact lenses in a clean, sterile contact lens case with fresh solution. It is recommended to store your contact lenses in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight. When storing the lenses for a small amount of time, like an hour or so, you can use a saline solution as well.

Disclaimer: The advice in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace medical care or an in-person check-up. Please check with an eyecare professional before purchasing any products or remedies. For information on our article review process, please refer to our Editorial Policy.

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