How to Clean Sunglasses

BY Shinola Team

Sunglasses are some of the best accessories around. They protect our eyes and look great at the same time. But, they only do their job when they’re kept clean, which can be tricky with the dust and debris from the environment around us. Cleaning your sunglasses properly is key if you want them to work properly and last longer than a couple of months. To help you get the most out of your eyewear, we’ve put together this guide on how to clean sunglasses.

How to Clean Sunglasses

Keep in mind that you should be careful when washing your sunglasses to avoid damaging them. Most are relatively delicate and don’t require aggressive motion or pressure to get the job done. You can also throw away the bad habit of breathing heavily on your sunglasses and wiping them off with whatever shirt you’re wearing—doing so only smears and often scratches the sunglasses’ lens. All you will need when washing your sunglasses is warm water, dish soap, and a lint-free cloth. 

Step 1: Rinse With Warm Water

When freshly washed hands yourself, you should always start by rinsing your sunglasses with warm water—tap water works just fine. You should be able to dislodge larger bits of debris or dust while preparing the glasses for the soap.

Warm water is best because both extra cold and hot water can do their own bit of damage to your sunglasses. Cold water won’t break down the dirt on your glasses, while hot water can damage the coating on your lenses. Go for a lukewarm temperature!

Step 2: Wash With Dish Soap

Next is soap! Use a small amount of dish soap to wash the glasses—just a couple of drops on your finger will be enough to work the soap in and cover all surfaces. It’s recommended to use your thumb and forefinger, which gives you more dexterous control and helps you be more gentle.

Remember, when it comes to soap, a little will go a long way, especially because dish soap is typically very concentrated. Not only is there no need to be wasteful, but more soap may make rinsing a lot more difficult. Avoid dish soaps with lotion and moisturizers because these can also harm your glasses—go with a clear soap instead. When in doubt, Dawn dish soap is always a safe choice. You can also specifically purchase sunglasses cleaner.

Also, make sure you also wash the frames of your glasses, including the nose pads, hinges, and screws. Otherwise, they may still have oils from your face and hands that can weaken the frames and lead to premature breakage.

Step 3: Rinse

Rinse off all the soap. Rinse delicately, but make sure you get all of the soap. Otherwise, you’ll probably leave a residue that will quickly smudge, defeating the purpose of cleaning your sunglasses in the first place. Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed your sunglasses, give them a gentle shake to get rid of the excess water.

Step 4: Dry

Use a lint-free cloth to dry off your glasses. The main reason you want to avoid drying with some type of paper product is that they constrain trace amounts of wood that can scratch your glasses. A lint-free cloth gives you a smooth and gentle finish that prevents scratches or streaks from air drying. Preferably, this cloth won’t have been washed using a fabric softener or dryer sheet since those elements can also cause more smearing to occur. 

If you happen to touch your glasses lens the minute after you clean, don’t stress. If there are still streaks, don’t be afraid to use a microfiber cloth to work those away. You can also use disposable lens cleaning wipes to do some touch-up/upkeep cleaning instead of doing the entire cleaning routine.

Other Common “Don’ts” of Cleaning Sunglasses

Now you know how to wash your sunglasses, but here’s especially how not to wash your sunglasses.

  • Don’t use saliva to clean your glasses—it’s not especially sanitary or effective!
  • Don’t use household cleaners to clean the lenses—even glass cleaner can do more damage than good, especially for glasses that have coated or anti-reflective lenses. Those products have a specific blend of chemicals and ingredients that are meant for other surfaces and could otherwise damage your glasses.
  • Don’t attempt to “buff” the scratches your sunglasses may have—doing so is more likely to worsen the damage than fix anything.

Find Your Ideal Eyewear

Washing your sunglasses is something you should try and do regularly. It keeps them clean, protected, and looking good. If your glasses have been scratched, it’s unfortunately not likely that you can fix the glasses—your best chance is to take them to a professional eye care clinic or store since they can sometimes use their tools to fix damaged sunglasses. 
It’s better to find scratch-resistant sunglasses from the beginning, which you can find at Shinola. To look your best with a long-lasting pair of sunglasses, check out Shinola’s eyewear here!

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