How to Best Clean Your Glasses, for Real

By: Kristen Hall-Geisler  | 
cleaning glasses with soap
When it comes to cleaning your eyeglasses, a simple soap is all you need. praditkhorn somboonsa/Shutterstock

Having dirty eyeglasses is maddening. You find yourself trying to look through smudges at your computer screen, or wiping off a fallen eyelash only to add another fingerprint to the lens, not to mention the unbelievable number of pet hairs and nose smudges dogs and cats leave behind. Why do animals find glasses so fascinating?

In desperation, you probably pick up the hem of your shirt or a paper towel to wipe them clean — only to find you've somehow made them worse. That smudge in the center of the lens now spreads from one edge of the frame to the other and if you're lucky, there's a constellation of scratches right in front of your eyeball too.


Cleaning Your Glasses With Soap

It turns out that keeping your glasses smudge- and scratch-free is both cheap and easy. You need to wash them, gently. It's something you can do every day without harming your eyewear, whether you wear inexpensive readers from the drugstore or designer frames with coated progressive lenses.

Here's your new routine for keeping your glasses clean:


  1. Wash your hands to get rid of anything grimy or germy.
  2. Rinse your glasses in warm water (neither too hot nor too cold).
  3. Add a drop of plain, gentle dish soap to the lenses.
  4. Smear the soap around on both sides of the lenses and the earpieces.
  5. Rinse off the soap.
  6. Dry everything with a lint-free or microfiber cloth.

If you really want to get your glasses super clean, here are a few more advanced cleaning tips you can also add to your routine:

  • Use a cotton swab to dig out stuck-in dirt around the edges of the lenses where they meet the frames.
  • Wash your microfiber or lint-free cloth regularly. It holds the oils from your hands, so if you don't wash it, it will just smudge the lenses you've just cleaned.


4 Things to Avoid When Cleaning Eyeglasses

There are a few things to avoid, like shirttails, paper towels, tissues and anything else that isn't a cloth made for lenses. Those things can scratch the lenses, which cannot be cleaned away.

Don't use glass cleaner, despite its name, as it can remove any coatings that you've paid to have on your lenses. You may be tempted to use something with acetone, like nail polish remover, to cut through the smudges, but that is far too harsh for glasses. Ultrasonic cleaners seem like a good idea, but they can scratch lenses too. Soap will do the trick, for real.


When we say cheap and easy, we mean it. The best dish soap for the job is as plain as possible, without extra cleansers or anything abrasive. The most basic dish soap on the shelf will do just fine.