Make Your Own Eyeglass Cleaner

eyeglass cleaner 1b

l had two separate people in the same week ask me about a homemade version of eyeglass cleaner. The idea was such an obvious one…apparently TOO obvious…because I never thought of it. :-)

It was particularly timely though, because recently I’d been wondering about what would be best to clean my reading glasses when my microfiber cloth just isn’t cutting it. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE my microfiber cleaning cloths! I was introduced to them right after I first started this blog, and I’ve been using them ever since.

For the most part, my reading glasses only need a quick cleaning with my microfiber polishing cloth and they are good to go.  But sometimes, especially if I’ve been doing a lot of cooking posts and my glasses have become a sticky, greasy, smeary mess, I find myself in need of a little something extra to cut through the gunk.

I started looking around for a homemade eyeglass cleaning solution and the answer was surprisingly simple. 1 part water, 1 part rubbing alcohol, 1 drop soap.

The water was a no-brainer, the rubbing alcohol was as well, (but I happened to be out of it, so I substituted witch hazel), and the drop of soap was open for interpretation.

eyeglass cleaner


eyeglass cleaner 1

I decided to try it a couple of different ways. One batch I made with 1 drop of Dawn dish soap….the second batch I made with 1 drop of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. To be honest, I couldn’t really tell a difference.  They both did exactly what I was looking for them to do….they cleaned the layer of grime off my glasses. Then I was able to finish the job off with my handy dandy microfiber cloth and I could see clearly once again!

So that is my “recipe” for clean eyeglasses, be they for reading, sun, or whatever.

Homemade Eyeglass Cleaner

1 part water
1 part isopropyl alcohol (or witch hazel)
1 drop soap (your choice)
microfiber cloth

eyeglass cleaner 2

Mix together in spray bottle. Spray on dirty lenses. Wipe with microfiber cloth.


eyeglass cleaner 3

It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day!

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  1. Cathy says

    Jillee-We have well water. Should I use distilled water or does it matter? I spend a lot of money on eyeglass cleaner because every one in my family wears glasses. For a small 6 oz bottle it is $3. Can’t wait to make my first batch this week. Thanks so much

  2. says

    Cathy….I originally considered using distilled water…but decided it would be fine with tap water. I’m not exactly sure about well water…but I would think that in combination with the alcohol (or witch hazel) it should work just fine!

    I understand your plight…the person who originally emailed me about this also had a family full of eyeglass wearers! :-)

  3. says

    Did you look into if alcohol is safe for the lenses? I suppose I could just do a quick Google myself, but I was once told by an optometrist not to use Windex on my lenses, and I assumed it was because of the alcohol. It could have just been a ploy for me to buy their cleaner!!

    • Nicole C says

      It’s not a ploy – I’m a certified optician and alcohol is NOT a good thing to use on lenses that have Anti-reflective coating, eventually it will break it down and flake off – voiding its warranty. We always recommend using a drop of Dawn under running water and use a soft cloth to dry. No tissues – they are paper and will cause scratching.

        • Nicole C says

          Heather,I’m not familiar with the Eco brand, however, it should be fine, as long as it doesn’t have any hand moisturizers (lotions) because they will gunk up your lenses. The most important thing is to make sure they are always wet, then dry with either a microfiber cloth ( which can be laundered, just don’t use softener) or a cotton cloth. Good luck :)

      • Diane H. says

        The cleaner that came with my glasses has 3.5% alcohol in its ingredients. I bought my glasses from and the cleaner was free. It doesn’t seem like the would send it (or sell it in stores) if it included alcohol.

      • Pam says

        That’s what my optometrist recommends – plain old dawn (no added moisturizers or anything) and water, dry with a cotton tea towel. Dawn is works because it doesn’t leave a soap film.

    • bettie says

      Ashton-alcohol can strip the outer hard coatings off your lenses. We use it only as a rare treatment for aerosols and such that have coated the lenses. Windex has ammonia, which is even worse-don’t use it. Water and a soft cloth are all you really need, but you can use (most) hand soaps as well. I do use the cleaner we sell at my office, but you don’t need to.

    • Emma Carr says

      The alcohol is fine on regular plastic lenses. Windex isn’t good because of the ammonia in it. If you have any coatings on your lenses, such as Crizal, you should just use mild soap and water.

  4. Diana B says

    I used to wash my glasses with dish soap and it ended up clouding my glasses over time. Eye doc said not to wash with dish soap. Been using hand soap since. The milder the better.

  5. CTY says

    Sounds like a great solution (pun intended).
    For me though the micro cloths are out–for some reason I can’t stand the feel/texture of the cloth I get gooses bumps. I use a lint free paint cloth (which is a gloried square of a t-shirt).

  6. Diana Estep says

    Alcohol should not be used on eyeglasses that have coatings on them. It is funny that the eyeglass places want to sell you their cleaner that also have alcohol in them … My eyeglasses are $600 a pop & trying to find something that works that doesn’t contain alcohol is not easy.

  7. Michelle says

    Most eyeglass cleaners and wipes contain isopropyl alcohol so I guess it’s fine. Original Windex contains ammonia and your lenses probably are not glass but polycarbonate so it should not be used. I don’t know for sure but I’m also thinking that it could take off any of those expensive special coatings that you may have on your lenses as well.

    • Julie says

      The ammonia shatters the polycarbonate lenses. I learned that the hard way when the corner of one lens started looking like my glasses had been dropped & that they’d landed on that corner. Those glasses were never dropped. I was cleaning them with Windex & it’s like it caused the layers to separate creating the shattered look. I took them in to ask if they could be repaired in some way. After one look the lady said, “You used Windex didn’t you.” then she explained what happened. Costly lesson to learn.

  8. Amy says

    Concerning using Dawn dish soap – If your glasses have any type of coating, scratch-proof, no glare, etc., the soap is what causes the lenses to cloud up. My parents were warned when buying new glasses not to use dish soap of any kind.

  9. mary says

    Costco also has free refills their eye glass cleaning solution. Just make a purchase of their eyeglass cleaner and when it is empty, bring in the empty container for a free refill.

    Since reading glasses (of the drug store variety) do not have any fancy coatings, your homemade solution should work just fine.

  10. Troye says

    This is the same recipe I use for.the cleaner for my granite.counter tops (except I added some essential oil) and found it to work wonderfully on my eyeglasses. Been using it for months And no problems with the coating on my lenses

  11. Marcia K says

    One of the keys is the cloth! You must make sure the cloth has not been cleaned with fabric softener. It makes the glasses smear. Any cloth that is clean and not cleaned with fabric softener will make a HUGE difference. I asked at the eye glass center. It certainly has made the difference for me. I came home and washed all my cloths by hand in a mild detergent by hand and then hung them up to dry. I usually buy my cleaner at Walmart ( they offer free refills in their own bottles…what can be better than free right?)

    • Carol Dingwell says

      I found some wonderful micro fiber cloths at a store called Harbor Freight if you have those in your area. They are mainly tools and guy stuff but did have the micro fiber towels there. Also car wash section of Walmart has them cheap too.

  12. says

    Funny…I almost used my witch hazel/OnGuard spritz I always carry with me to clean my glasses in church last night, but I was worried about the oil damaging my lens and I wasn’t sure about the witch hazel either. Good to know the witch hazel won’t hurt, but I’m afraid the oil might, because I’m not sure what they make lenses from these days. Thanks for this idea!

  13. annie says

    The anti-glare coating on my chain store lenses peeled after using eyeglass cleaner. When I replaced the lenses at my local shop I was told to clean them only with Lemon Joy and warm water and to wipe with a soft paper towel (i.e., not the kind of paper towel you’d find in a restroom). This has kept my lenses in good condition and crystal clear for 3 years.

  14. Carrol says

    I worked for an optometrist & was taught to use water & if necessary, a touch of dish soap. It’s also what our patients were told to use. With all the different lense coatings being used today, I would be hesitant to use anything stronger

  15. julie roth says

    I was told by Americian Eye Care – They use straight rubbing alcohol – if really dirty use a little dawn – at the sink, rinse. –They said it will not hurt your coatings.. I am in lots of hairspray… really works for me.. I just have a spray bottle of alcohol. And I do my clients also… And I use the micro. cloth…

  16. Comet says

    Be careful if you use paper towels to clean ANY glass or plastic! Most all paper towels are made from all or partly RECYCLED paper which can–and DOES–contain small bits of OTHER substances–like shards of plastic and metal and other grit. Tons of old unused mail; factory sweepings of off cuts of paper; unread or recycled magazines with all of the STUFF crammed in there–you name it it is pulped in a giant blender and made back into paper! Good for the planet–not so good for PLASTIC or GLASS. And yes–this CAN scratch glass!

    My hubs used to work in paper recycling and one time they had the letters from the “Dead Letter” bin and they found GOLD COINS rumbling AROUND THE BOTTOM of the blender! Many other things found there way in there too inc a cat that ended up coming to our house and getting healed up and living here for years.

    So–microfiber–if you can stand it and I have a hard time with that TOO—or T-shirt or even just a lint free linen swatch. For all glass and plastic! We make sure to NEVER use paper towels on our poly windshields on motorcycles as they scratch BADLY and then need special “System” cleaners to get even some of the smoothness back. Once that is gone–it is gone forever.

    • marlene says

      Good advise! I wanted to share what happened to me years ago.
      I was at a cottage, and grabbed a paper towel, and wet it to freshen my face.
      Of course it is probably a rare occurrence, nevertheless as I wiped my face with the paper towel I actually scratched it. A piece of what looked like a wood sliver within the towel actually left a scratch mark on my face.
      I never cleaned any glasses with paper towels after that, or my face, actually. Thanks!

  17. Telina says

    Vinegar should never be used on plastic, unless you know for sure it is resistant to the breakdown that can occur with vinegar. It can and does break down some types of plastic.

    When cleaning my glasses, I just put a drop of dish liquid on my finger, rub it between my thumb and finger, then with the eye piece of the glasses between my thumb and finger, gently rub both sides of the eye piece, rinse, then dry with a lint free, scratch free cloth.

    Never use any type of paper product on your glasses.

    I’ve been doing this for over 30 years with my glasses and I’ve never had any issues with fogging or scratching. I do have glasses with the anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings.

  18. Donna says

    I have been buying a cleaner from Costco called Wipe N Clear……Biodegradable lens wipe. The ingredients say there is alcohol in it! It has never hurt our eye glasses. However, from now on I will be making my own! I use it on my 2 iPads, iPhone, and my laptop computer also!

  19. says

    That is funny, I was going to ask you for this myself! I was cleaning my reading glasses (we are of an “age”) and the spray bottle is almost out. One of my chores this week was going to be looking on onegoodthingbyjillee for a recipe. You’ve read my mind! THANK YOU

  20. Chris says

    I just run my glasses under the faucet and then dry with a clean towel or even the corner of my bed sheets. I do have a blue Norwex screen cleaning cloth in my purse I love. It’s not microfiber so doesn’t have that funny feeling that dry microfiber cloths have. The microfiber are great once they’re wet though.

  21. Roni Silverman says

    I would not try on glasses with Crizal coating. Optometrist advised only mild soap and they give you a special cloth to wipe with. But cool if you’ve not got that coating

  22. Rachel S. says

    Just an FYI, but at the apple store they use there “solution” to clean the iPhone/iPad screens. I asked what it was and the store clerk said “honestly, its just contact solution”. I have been using mine (got lasik and had a bunch extra :) on my screens and my sunglasses. Works like a charm!

  23. Di Mancino says

    Oh that is strange….. I was just going to email you and ask about a recipe for cleaning spectacles as I wear them all the time. I have been using the cleaner I bought from the optometrist but for some reason it leaves the glasses with a smokey smear and I have never had that before. These glasses I bought from them last year and have a anti reflective coating on, which I have had before and have had no problems cleaning them but these new ones are a devil to clean smear free and i use their glass clothe too. I am definitely going to try your recipe and after everyone’s comments I will use hand soap in it and witch hazel. Thanks so much for all your recipes Jillee, your ace!

  24. Terri S says

    i was also missing emails, so i re-registered–but it said to confirm my registration with an email sent to me–i’ve never gotten the email, so will wait til tomorrow to see if i’m back ‘in’!

  25. says

    This solution is exactly what we used in a sonic cleaner at the Optometrist office I worked at. BUT do NOT use this cleaner, or anything with alcohol in it if you have Anti-reflective coating on your lenses (I.e. Teflon, Crizol…) as it will cause the coating to start to peel. I worked there for 5 years so I know what to use and not to use. Just a suggestion. But if you don’t have the anti-reflective coating,this solution is Awesome!

  26. Michelle says

    *********************DO NOT USE THIS BEFORE READING*********************
    I’ve been in optical for nearly 13 years…
    ~~~~~Alcohol will eat away at the treatments on your lenses over time and should not be used on lenses with Anti-Glare coating especially.
    ~~~~~The soap you use needs to be anti-bacterial free or it can scratch your lenses due to very small grains in the soap.

  27. Michelle says

    Also, you should never clean your lenses with a cloth alone. ALWAYS wet them first as anything you are trying to wipe off is only going to be drug across your lens and in turn, could scratch them. If everyone followed this rule, my life and theirs would be so much easier. And FYI: Water is the best thing for your lenses. There is no need for much else than that.

      • says

        I don’t think that she doesn’t care by not correcting this post. Anyone who is going to go to the trouble to make it (I just did) is going to read a few comments and make up their own mind. I’ve been using store bought wipes (Lens Care) with isopropyl alcohol content for at least two years.

  28. Teryn says

    I called my eye Dr. and they gave me a number of someone who could answer my question. He told me the isopropyl alcohol was perfectly safe for glasses with coatings at well a plastic lenses IF it was mixed with distilled water. He also said make sure it doesn’t have any acetone or ammonia in it. And when you mix it don’t even have the smell of acetone around because even that can affect it. (so don’t do your nails and then mix your cleaner)

  29. Wilda says

    Because I wear my glasses 16 hrs a day, I buy the most expensive frames and lenses that I can afford. My eyeglass professional has always cautioned me to never use soap on my lenses. Because of the oil in the soap it will leave a rainbow effect on the lenses, like oil does. I make a cleaner by using 1part alcohol, 2parts water. I dry them with a very soft cotton cloth.
    Even your hand lotion will transfer oil to the lenses, if you rub the cleaner around with your fingers, beware.

  30. Lindsay says

    Just be careful with the alcohol. I work in optics and alcohol can dry up the coatings (anti-reflective or “glare”, anti-scratch, etc.) and damage the lenses if you use too much. The eyeglass cleaner we use has the teensiest amounts of alcohol, so it is safe, but only in the smallest parts.

    And to answer a comment I saw just scrolling through: NO WINDEX. It does have alcohol, but the alcohol isn’t the least of your problems when compared to the other chemicals that are used. Lenses aren’t just plastic, glass, or polycarbonate (the material most lenses are made out of nowadays). They also have some type of coating (as stated above) on them–that’s the part that can start drying up, cracking, or shrinking, which will damage your lenses and affect your eyesight.

    Hope this helps! (:


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