My glasses are always smudgy, and I want to find the best way to clean them.

  • The glasses(frame) or just the lenses?
    – Just Do It
    Mar 18, 2016 at 21:58
  • Does the wide array of cleaning products and methods currently available not work for some reason? Mar 21, 2016 at 9:22
  • What is the criteria for best cleaning?
    – vladiz
    Mar 26, 2016 at 10:03
  • clearest, least smudgy lenses possible.
    – Parzival
    Mar 28, 2016 at 21:14
  • "clearest, least smudgy lenses possible." See my answer. The ultrasonic cleaner is the gold standard.
    – JDługosz
    Mar 31, 2016 at 12:59

9 Answers 9


I use shampoo to clean my glasses. While showering, lather your hair with shampoo. Use the lather with rubbing motion over the entire surface of the lenses. Rinse with clear water. Dry the lenses with cloths that will not damage the lenses (I use a microfiber drying cloth).

The reason this works well is that shampoo is designed to break up body and hair oils.

  • and there's no damage to the glasses?
    – Parzival
    Mar 18, 2016 at 22:30
  • 1
    Not in the more than 30 years I have been wearing glasses. Mar 18, 2016 at 22:32

My recommendation (as someone who wears glasses for nearly 30 years):

  1. Rinse your glasses with clear water (this removes hard particals which could scratch the glasses in step 2.)

  2. The put a pea size amount of non-regreasing soap or detergent or shampoo on your fingers and clean the glasses with circling movements

  3. Rinse the glasses with clear water

  4. Dry the glasses with toilet paper or paper towels or a dry and clean tea towel/ microfiber cloth

If you are in the middle of nowhere without clean water, lick the glasses with your tongue before using a clean microfiber cloth to wipe it. Licking sounds disgusting (and people will stare at you) but it removes even sticky small particals.

I have no experience with moist lens cloths, but when I bought my glasses I was told not to use it, because small dust particals on the glasses can cause scratches if you wipe them on the glass. Also some ingredients of moist lens cloths may be too aggressive and destroy the anti reflective layer of the glasses.

Also very important: Don't use hair spray when wearing glasses or if there are glasses lying around you. Hair spray is very sticky (it does not rinse off and dust particals stick on it, too) and thus, causes scratches on the glasses.


Try this one if you have these ingredients:

  • Empty travel sized spray bottle
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Water

Fill the bottle the rest of the way up with tap water. If you have really hard water you might want to consider using distilled water instead. A gallon of distilled water costs less than $1.

Place the lid on the container and shake gently. If you shake it too hard the dish soap will become too sudsy.

Use the finished product the same way you would use any eyeglasses cleaner. After spraying the solution on the lenses of the glasses, wipe gently with a soft cloth.

That's it! So easy to make and so inexpensive.


I wouldn't recommend using abrasive soaps or cleaning materials on glasses since most now these days have some sort of coating such as anti reflective on them which will get taken off by these. I recommend rinsing your glasses in luke warm water and drying then off with a micro fiber cloth every morning. If needed most eyeglass shops will have cleaners that won't damage your lenses


I have been using a tissue to clean my glasses. It is not a good way but you can do it when you have no access to soap and/or water.


If plain water and a lint-free tissue or paper towel does not work, soap and water will break up grease and remove particles. However, if soap and water are not readily available, try rubbing alcohol (alcohol wipes, say, that might be in a first-aid kit in your car). I keep some in a spray bottle and use it on all of my glass surfaces. It breaks up dirt/grime/grease, does not damage glass surface, and dries super-quick with no streaks. White vinegar also works.


I suggest you this cheap method:

Use some table salt.Put it on your glass and then rub it off using a clean smooth cloth so that it should not make any marks on your glass.

This works because salt absorbs water as well as dirt from glass surface.Even the same method is used to clean mirrors.

  • 2
    Doesn't dry salt scratch the lens, especially if the lens isn't made of glass?
    – Lawrence
    Mar 21, 2016 at 16:18
  • @Lawrence Since salt dissolves into tiny water droplets along with dirt, it will not cause scratch.Instead, you can see the dirt on your cotton being collected.Above all, as we use glass, scratches will start to appear.So there is no need to go behind glass with such a care. Mar 22, 2016 at 9:43
  • 1
    Do you mean you dissolve the salt first, perhaps in a glass of water or onto the moistened cloth? Also, you write, as we use glass, scratches will start to appear - hmm, we don't really want scratches, regardless of whether the lenses are glass or plastic.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 22, 2016 at 10:22
  • @Lawrence You could do this as you told. That is, you put salt on to the cloth.Moist it with some amount of water(tiny droplets will do). Some salt will remain on the cloth in solid state itself. That is why,I specified that only some amount of water is required. The rest salt in solid state will liquefy on rubbing along with the dirt. Mar 22, 2016 at 11:16

Over long experience, I have noticed that the product that "works" varies with each pqir of glasses I get! What is great before is no longer good on a new pair. I always suspected that it depends onnthe coatings and exact material.

What does work, but isn't as handy as spray cleaning products, is a bit of liquid-pump hand soap. Spread it out with fingers and continue to rub it in, then rince — lots of rinsing.

That can be a fallback for when the usual is not working.

I have found the single-use wipes vary in usefulness from great to pointless. Each brand/store is different, and I've been disappointed.

Traditionally, a "bar cloth" is good for drying them. These days, a microfiber cloth is your friend. It's a total game changer! You can get a very find silk-like microfiber sold for the purpose, and it can wipe off both oily stuff and wipe after rinsing. A more common napped microfiber cloth is also useful for wiping off oil without having to do a full cleaning.

What I use now for my reading glasses is an ultrasonic cleaner. I keep it filled with filtered water that has a tiny amount of floor&tile cleaner added, and that lasts about a month.


Alcohol pads and a 100%cotton towel. Works on smart phones too. As soon as you wipe glasses or phone, wipe off with medium effort before alcohol evaporates.

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