I usually do not carry a cleaning cloth or a bottle of cleaner with me to clean my eyeglasses*. If my eyeglasses get very dirty and I don't have a cleaning kit with me, I would clean them with soap and water and dry it with a towel, which is probably a bad idea.

What is the safest alternative to clean my eyeglasses if I don't have my cleaning spray and cloth with me?

*Otherwise know as 'glasses' or 'spectacles'


6 Answers 6



The AOA recommends washing glasses every morning, paying special attention to the frames and earpieces, where hair product and makeup tend to rub off. Whatever you do, don't use the most handy form of water to clean your lenses. "Some people use spit, but don't," urges Dr. Geist. Though dirty glasses won't cause an eye infection, saliva "is not the best hygiene method, and it just won't work very well," she says. Soap, warm water and a dry cloth are all you need, once a day, to keep glasses optimally clean and functional.

So taking from that you would have to specify what type of lens you had. Different lens need different treatment:

  • Glass lens: Can be cleaned with mild soap and/ or plain water. To dry air drying or wiping with the cleanest cloth possible is appropriate.

  • Plastic Lens: You probably shouldn't use any soap or rough clothes as these can be very tender. I had plastic lenses and they can be scratched by using harsh clothes and the plastic can be ruined by soaps. Also, dry after a rinse in water with air or with a clean soft cloth.

What not to do:

  • Never use newspaper or paper towels. Tissues are more appropriate and babywipes on plastic lenses are a no.

the reason your shirt is terrible for cleaning glasses is because it's likely filled with dust, and that scratches the lenses. Otherwise, any old piece of cotton will do, and regular old kitchen soap is far better than those cleaning solutions you get at the optometrist

  • Some people say use Hot water and I agree that a hot water scrub with your fingers is a marvellous cleaning solution, but don't use boiling water and make sure your hands aren't greasy or grimy.

I usually just use plain, cool water. If you wear a cotton shirt, wipe your glasses dry on the inside of your shirt.


In a hurry: Run them under the hot-water tap, then shake dry.

More thorough: Run under warm water then massage with a dab of dish liquid (not soap) and rinse well. Polish with a clean cotton tea towel, i.e. one fresh from the cupboard, not one hanging around in the kitchen.

My Dad's method: As above, but with clean boxer shorts, fresh from the underwear drawer.

  • +1 for dishwashing detergent. It is so much better than the cleaning solutions. Feb 20, 2015 at 8:00
  • When I got my first pair of glasses, I was told to use the washing up bowl before doing the dishes, with the dish liquid and the (clean) tea towel. Dip in, add the liquid and rub gently, dip again to rinse and if needed rinse again under the tap. So your way with some small modifications.
    – Willeke
    Dec 23, 2017 at 9:08

When I don't have any cleaning cloth with me I use my T-shirt and I blow softly with open mouth on the glasses to achieve soft condensation on the glass surface. This is needed as you should never rub you glasses on dry surface because you can scratch them.

The condensation that is formed on the glass surface is not saliva it is almost clear water and this method works well.

The T-shirt of course should be clean and not sweaty and I use only 100% cotton T-shirts. Microfiber probably work well as cleaning cloth is made of this material, but I guess microfiber T-shirts are not very popular.

If you have been working on a dirty place with lots of dust then do not use this method.

I wear glasses all day for almost 6 years and clean them 3-4 times a day and never have damaged them using this method.


This may or may not work for you, but I came up with using a drier sheet and wiping the lens slowly. It works with the outside of your lens and inside. Hope it helped!

  • Welcome to Lifehacks SE! Thank You for your suggestion, but my only questions is "Is the drier sheet so rough that it will scratch the lens overtime?" That was all for now, hope to see you around :)
    – Pobrecita
    May 12, 2015 at 5:33

Someone who worked where I used to work named Alex used to spit on his glasses then proceed to wipe them with his tie.

  • Not the most nice of habits. I would not want to be near that tie myself. But spit in swimming goggles is the norm rather than the exception, keeps them from going foggy. They have to rinsed out with cold water, I usually do that under the tap in the wash basin but many do it in the pool.
    – Willeke
    Dec 24, 2017 at 14:20

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