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How to Clean Sunglasses Without Damaging Them — 10 Tips and Tricks

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photochromic sunglasses

Most sunglasses end up breaking because of improper care and usage. For example, improperly cleaning your glasses can result in serious scratches and cracks. That’s why it’s imperative to learn how to clean sunglasses effectively and safely.

If you want to clean your sunglasses the right way, you need to use warm water, gentle detergents, and lint-free cloths. Never use saliva, harsh detergents, or paper-based products. Once your glasses are clean, keep them clean by rinsing them daily and storing them in an appropriate container. 

To learn more about how to clean sunglasses, keep reading. This guide offers over 10 tips and tricks for cleaning your sunglasses effectively and safely.

Why You Should Clean Your Sunglasses the Right Way

Many people fail to care for their sunglasses properly. They think that they can just wipe off their sunglasses with anything and the sunglasses will be good to go. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Most sunglasses have various forms of protection, such as UV layers. If you do not clean your sunglasses the right way, you could end up damaging the lenses and the protection. Because of how dangerous UV rays are for your delicate eye skin, you always want to clean your sunglasses properly.

retro sunglasses
Photo Credit: Piqsels

What You’ll Need

  • Warm water
  • Gentle dish soap
  • Lint-free cloth

glasses divider 2

How to Clean Sunglasses Without Damaging Them — The 10 Tips & Tricks

To avoid damaging your sunglasses during the cleaning process, follow the steps below:

1. Rinse

Underneath the gentle tap, rinse your sunglasses with warm water. The water does not need to be hot, but it cannot be super cold either. Extreme temperatures can damage the glasses. Warm water is the best as a result. Make sure the stream is not too forceful.

2. Try Dish Soap

sponge and dish soap
Photo Credit: Jim Barber, Shutterstock

If your sunglasses have oil and smudges on them, the water may not be enough. Use gentle dish soap to rub away these smudges. Just put a few drops of the dish soap on your fingertips and use your fingers to wipe away any of the smudges.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to use dish soap every time. If you don’t see any oil, buildup, or smudges, rinsing the glasses will suffice for cleaning.

3. Rinse Again

If you used dish soap to clean away any smudges, rinse the glasses again. This final rinsing will remove dirt, debris, oil, and soap.

4. Dry With a Lint-Free Cloth

Finally, dry the glasses off. Only dry sunglasses with a lint-free cloth that does not have any fabric softener on it. A lint-free cloth will be able to dry the glasses effectively without causing any scratches, smudges, or other unsightly blemishes.

5. Things to Avoid

various sunglasses on the table
Photo Credit: Sefton N Brown Jnr, Shutterstock

Whenever you are at home, it’s pretty easy to follow the steps above when cleaning off your sunglasses. However, you may be tempted to use other materials and methods whenever you are on the go. Even so, it’s important to always avoid using the following methods and items when cleaning your sunglasses:

6. Never Use Saliva

Never spit or use any form of saliva when cleaning off your sunglasses. Using your own saliva is unhygienic and ineffective.

7. Never Use Harsh Detergents

Don’t use harsh detergents during the cleaning process either. This includes ammonia, vinegar, bleach, or window cleaner. These chemicals will most likely just strip off the coating on your sunglasses.

8. Never Rub Your Glasses With Clothing

woman holding her sunglasses
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Whenever your sunglasses get dirty while you are wearing them, you might feel the need to wipe off the lenses with your clothing. Avoid this. Your clothing is not very clean and often carries small particles that can scratch the lenses. Only use lint-free or microfiber cloth on your sunglasses.

9. Never Rub Your Glasses With Paper-Based Products

Don’t rub your sunglasses with paper-based products, including paper towels, toilet paper, or napkins. Paper-based products are typically too stiff and can scratch your lenses.

10. Never Rub Your Glasses on Something Laundered in Fabric Softener

Finally, don’t rub your glasses on anything that was washed in fabric softener. Fabric softener coats the material, and that fabric softener will come off on your sunglasses. In other words, there will be big smudges on your sunglasses after wiping them off on an item laundered in fabric softener.

Tips for Keeping Your Glasses Clean

After you thoroughly clean your sunglasses, you will need to keep them clean. Here are some tips for keeping them clean, effective, and functional for the long haul:

Rinse Daily

wooden frame sunglasses
Image Credit: Vladimir Trynkalo, Shutterstock

After every use, rinse your sunglasses daily. Just rinse them in warm water and dry them using a lint-free cloth. Use a gentle dish soap if you see any smudges. Rinsing the glasses daily will remove any debris to prevent serious damage from occurring.

Only Put Your Glasses in an Appropriate Container

Whenever you are not wearing your sunglasses, make sure to store them in an appropriate container. Don’t put them in your pocket, purse, or in your car without proper storage. Storing them improperly will result in lens damage.

Keep A Lint-Free Cloth on Hand

Because you cannot use your clothing to rub off any smudges on your sunglasses, keep a lint-free cloth on hand. It’s best to keep the cloth in your case. Use this cloth whenever you need to quickly wipe off any smudges.

Final Thoughts

Caring for your sunglasses is an important part of sunglass ownership. Unfortunately, caring for sunglasses is a bit more difficult than many people believe because of how delicate the lenses and coatings are.

Whenever you need to clean the sunglasses, rinse them in warm water, use dish soap when necessary, and dry them with a lint-free cloth. Don’t use saliva, harsh detergents, clothing, paper-based products, or products with fabric softener to care for the sunglasses.

Don’t forget about everyday maintenance either. By rinsing your glasses daily and storing them properly, you’ll be able to keep her glasses clean and in great condition for the long haul.

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Featured Image Credit: Exoticrew, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.