Picture of a typical eyeglasses with anti reflective coating.

Cleaning Glasses with Dish Soap




We’ve worn glasses for over five decades. In that time, we got advice from several optometrists. They showed us how to clean eyeglasses best. They all recommended cleaning glasses with dish soap.

Indeed, this is easy once you know how to safely handle your glasses. You should know which cleaners work the best and safest, and which cleaning cloths scratch the least. All of these are crucial factors in keeping expensive anti reflective lenses working well.



We tried the dry lens cleaning cloths from Kodak and other suppliers. They made these of a very thin, tissue-like paper. We also tested some of the costly liquid lens cleaners that work with the dry cloths.

But we found only part success. Almost always, this cleaning duo left smears and streaks on the lenses.

Cleaning Glasses with Dish Soap: Our Experience

Cleaning glasses with dish soap. Picture of the Great Value Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid, 60 Oz bottle, front view.
Cleaning glasses with dish soap. Great Value Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid, 60 Oz bottle, front view.

What the Optometrists Suggest

We talked with numerous doctors about lengthening the life of our glasses. They all agreed. They said that the best lens cleaner is a lotion-free, mild dishwashing liquid soap. We use brands like Great Value, Palmolive, Joy, or Ajax. Now you may have to dilute the thicker soaps. For that, we mix one part water with one part of dish soap. You want the mix thin enough that it easily spreads with the fingers over the lens.

But do avoid those dish soaps that contain oils and lanolin for skin softening These can smear your lenses. Then, not even lens cleaning cloths can get those out in some cases.

Also, avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive solvents. Specifically, don’t use cleansers, polishes, ammonia, or bleach based cleaners. Why not?  These can strip any anti scratch or anti glare coatings away. So you want a simple dishwashing-by-hand liquid with no extra agents in it besides the soap. Do not use automatic dishwasher soap.

Cleaning glasses with dish soap. Picture of the Great Value Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid, 60 Oz. bottle, back view.
Cleaning glasses with dish soap. Great Value Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid, 60 Oz. bottle, back view.

About Drying Cloths for your Glasses

Where to Get Glasses Drying Cloths

Then, once you’ve washed and rinsed your glasses, dry them with a soft microfiber cloth. Use one designed for safe drying plastic and glass lenses. You buy these at most stores that sell glasses such as Foreyes, Pearl, Lens Crafters, Sam’s Club, Walmart, et al.

Tips for Using Glasses Drying Cloths

Use this cloth, only to dry the rinsed lenses; not for scrubbing them. For washing, you gently rub the soaped up lenses with your fingers until you cover all lens surfaces. Avoid too much rubbing though. This too can wear out any lens coatings before their time.

Cleaning glasses with dish soap. Picture of soft anti reflective lens cleaning cloths.
Cleaning glasses with dish soap. Examples of soft anti reflective lens cleaning cloths.

Use a clean, soft, lint free lens drying cloth. Any oil in the cloths can spread to your clean lenses as you dry them. Oil on the glasses can lower any anti reflective performance they have. Or, it could damage them beyond repair.

Cleaning Glasses with Dish Soap: The Method

To sum all this up, here’s our tried-and-true procedure to clean glasses with dish soap.

1. Wet Glasses with Water

Wet the glasses with clean water. Use filtered water if you live in a hard-water area. This stops suspended particles in the water from scratching your lenses.

2. Apply Dish Soap

Then, onto each lens, place one or two drops of dish soap liquid.

3. Softly Scrub Glasses Fronts

Further, gently rub the lens surface with your fingers, taking care not to press too hard. Also, be sure you have no callouses, scabs, dry skin, or other rough edges on your fingertips. Jagged finger nails rough skin can also mar plastic lenses especially.

4. Clean the Back Sides of your Glasses Then

The soap you have on your fingers from the first sides should be enough to clean the other sides.

5. Clean Frames, Nose, and Temple Pieces

Also, rub clean the nose rests and the entire frames of your glasses. You want to clean off all the body oils from them.

6. Rinse Soap Off

Rinse under warm, running water until the lens surfaces squeak when running your fingers across them.

7. Dry your Glasses

Then, dry the glasses with the lens cloths mentioned above. You’ll know that you’ve indeed cleaned the lenses well, if they have a clear luster.

8. Finally, Check Out your Glasses

Cleaning Glasses with Dish Soap: Conclusion

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to costly eye glasses. So to preserve their good performance, avoid getting them very dirty in the first place. Or at least, reduce how dirty you get them. Furthermore, avoid solvents like turpentine or citrus-based cleaners, or any harsh cleaners. Why? Because these can quickly destroy any micro thin anti glare films on your lenses.

Finally. you’ll always have some body oil on glasses that you wear every day. But remember that even when cleaning as described above, don’t do it too much. Indeed, too often glasses cleanings stress the anti reflective coatings. So, too much cleaning wear them down. So, wear and store your specs such that they require the least cleaning. But when you must clean them, use the method above. It least hurts yet best restores your delicate glasses lenses to decent working order.



Cleaning Glasses with Dish Soap: Related Posts

Cleaning Glasses with Dish Soap: References

Revision History

  • 2018-04-13: Originally published.