It’s not uncommon to wake up one day and notice that the nose pads on your glasses have turned green or are looking a little dirtier than expected. This isn’t something to fret about, but why does it happen? 

The frames, nose pads, and other parts of glasses can turn green with time due to dead skin cells, oxidation, and the reaction of the metals and pieces with sweat, oil, and salt from the human body. This is normal, and there are a variety of ways to clean it. 

So, if you’ve noticed that any part of your glasses is turning green, don’t run back to your local optometrist. You can clean the frames and nose pads yourself using the methods laid out below. 

What Causes Green Nose Pads

In general, if the nose pads on your glasses have turned green, it could be due to several factors. Here are some of the leading causes of green nose pads on glasses: 

The most common causes are the oxidization of copper, which can happen to the surrounding frames and the metal underneath your nose pads. This type of oxidization can be cleaned but generally happens if you over-use copper frames. 

If you have copper frames and this keeps happening, the best idea is to invest in sterling silver or high-quality metal frames. 

How to Clean Green Nose Pads

So, now that you’ve decided the culprit of the green color on your glasses, what are you going to do to clean them? There’s a variety of options for cleaning your glasses. Here are some of the best. 

Alcohol Cleaning

The first step you can try is to clean your glasses with rubbing alcohol. This solution will generally wipe away any germs and dead skin. Here’s how: 

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Get a bottle of rubbing alcohol 
  3. Dip a paper towel or cotton ball in the solution 
  4. Wipe off the nose pads and surrounding areas on your glasses with the solution until something comes off 

If this doesn’t work, move to the following cleaning method on this list 

Detach and Soak Your Nose Pads

The next step is detaching your nose pads. You can do this with a small screwdriver. Before separating the nose pads, make sure to wash your hands and have a clean space to avoid losing the pieces. 

  1. First, wash your hands
  2. Unscrew each nose pad from your frames 
  3. Create a bowl of water and add a gentle cleaning agent such as hand soap or toothpaste
  4. Mix the water with the cleaning agent until it is well-mixed
  5. Place the nose pads inside of the water 
  6. Use a small sponge to wipe them down inside the water
  7. Leave the nose pads to soak for a few hours 
  8. Come back and check to see if the nose pieces are clean 
  9. Reattach the pads to the glasses
  10. Use some rubbing alcohol to clean the pads one last time when they’re back on the frames 

If this step doesn’t work, you might need to take on a more rigorous process made for metal oxidization. 

Removing Copper Oxidization 

If you’ve had no luck with the other methods, this method might just suit you. What you’re going to do is create a solution of baking soda and vinegar. Here’s how: 

  1. Create a bowl of baking soda and vinegar- The ratio should be 3:1 with more baking soda. 
  2. Use a Q-tip- Use a Q-tip to rub the solution over the glasses frames and nose pads, especially where the metal meets the silicone.
  3. Clean- Continue cleaning until you see the metal and nose pads start to regain their shine. 
  4. Polish- After doing this, polish the metal and rub down the nose pads with a dry cloth. A washcloth is the best option. 
  5. Rinse and dry- Rinse the glasses and frames under warm, clean water. 
  6. Protect- You can protect your copper frames from oxidizing again by adding a thin coat of lemon juice and salt to the metal with a Q-tip. 

If your glasses still haven’t gotten clean after this step, it might be time to replace your nose pads. 

Replace Your Nose Pads

You can replace your nose pads at many stores and online stores, including Amazon, eBay, and eyeglass retailers. You can also see if any nose pad replacement is included with your glasses or would be covered by insurance by contacting your eye doctor where you purchased your frames. 

If you’re unable to figure out how to do it yourself, a quick YouTube guide is a great idea to help. 


The green color that you can sometimes find on your glasses can be so irritating, a little gross. But it’s totally normal, and expected, for such buildup to occur, considering the amount of skin contact nose pads have. 

Luckily, there’s plenty of options for cleaning your nose pads, and it’s also possible to replace them without having to spend lots of money on new frames as well.