Justin Low

While it probably doesn’t sound a very good match, I must say that vodka is the best lens cleaner that I’ve come across.

I’d read about it before numerous times, but always discounted it. I had a stain on a lens that wouldn’t come off, even after using Kodak’s solution, so I decided to give the vodka a try.

Even on multi-coated optics, vodka gets them clean with no streaking or residues. Really! I’ve just tried it!

I couldn’t find the bottle of regular Absolut, so I used the Apeach flavor. It’s marked 80 proof, and I don’t see any residue. The only thing remaining is a pleasant peach smell on my fingers.

I don’t think I’ll be buying commercial lens cleaners again. Cheers!


  1. I hope you had a drink afterwards… neat thrick, thanks for sharing

    — Memphis · 14 June 08 · #

  2. I was a bartender for 18 years. I never used vodka, but gin is a wonderful glass cleaner. I used it to clean my eyeglasses all the time.

    — ray · 28 June 09 · #

  3. The best Lens cleaner is Smirnoff Blue Label 100 Proof.
    I don’t recommend any flavored Vodka’s because they will leave a tiny residue.
    Also, anything under 80 Proof I wouldn’t recommend because it has too much Water content.
    Smirnoff Blue Label is the cleaner I’ve used for Years because it’s very Filtered.
    When the Alcohol dries your left with a very minute amount of extremely pure Filtered Water that dries very fast, leaving nothing but the Glass behind.

    Isopropyl Alcohol is a BIG no no because it contains Lanolin and will leave all kinds of residue behind and unfortunately it’s the main ingredient in many so called Lens cleaners, even Kodak.
    The residue left behind will cause undue cleaning and will cause damage to Lens coatings in time.

    Gin is also very bad on Camera Lenses because it also leaves an Oily residue behind, as well as the Water left after the Alcohol evaporates is very poorly Filtered.

    You are spot on as to Vodka being the perfect Camera Lens cleaner, just make sure it’s pure without the flavor.

    — Don · 23 July 09 · #

  4. A correction: Rubbing alcohol should be avoided because it contains lanolin or oils. But pure isopropyl alcohol evaporates completely and works well. If you find it evaporates too fast, you can dilute it with distilled water.

    You can get 91% isopropyl alcohol from a pharmacy (it’s used for sterilizing skin); the remaining 9% is mostly water. Because alcohol likes to mix with water, 91% is the purest you can get via distillation.

    You can also find 99%+ purity isopropyl at electronics supply stores; that’s what I use for lens cleaning.

    As for Kodak lens cleaner, it seems to be mostly water and a little bit of detergent, not alcohol.

    — Dave Martindale · 15 August 09 · #

  5. For lens and optical surface cleaning I use isopropyl alcohol extra pure %99.76 since four decades. 1 lt costs something like €7 and lasts years long. Being a very weak alcohol it is the main component of many lens cleaners. When used extra-pure grade, it dries almost instantly and leaves no residue at all. Use it on any coating or soft-glass surfaces like collapsible Summicron with no fear but apply gentle rubbing while cleaning, let the fluid do the job not pressure. Vodka is mostly ethyl alcohol, stronger than isopropanol.. Also even the best vodka leaves a faint transparent film to deal afterwards.

    — Bob Yildiran · 1 August 11 · #

  6. Dont know what planet you live on…but here on earth Isppropanol does NOT contain lanolin.

    — Tom · 31 January 12 · #

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