Using the proper materials, like warm water, gentle dish soap, and a lint-free cloth, will get your sunglasses clean without causing damage to the lenses or the frames. 

In this handy guide, we’ll show you the right way to clean sunglasses. Plus, we’ll let you know what not to do. Then, you can enjoy a grime-free view (for the time being) while you’re wearing your sunglasses. 

How Do Sunglasses Get Dirty?

You don’t have to dive headfirst into a heap of sand to get dirty sunglasses (please don’t try this at home). Sunglasses get dirty from typical everyday wear—a combination of you and your environment. 

We live in a world swirling with bits of dust, tiny specs of soil, and random matter that gets stuck to sunglasses all the time. Your own body can contribute a fair amount of grime, too. Sloughed-off dead skin flakes and body oils, plus any lotion and makeup you’ve put on, settle on the lenses and in the various crevices of sunglasses. Add in your own finger smudges, and you’ve got the potential for quite an accumulation of gunk on your sunglasses.

The Best Way To Clean Sunglasses: 5 Steps to Clear Sight

Animated infographic showing how to clean sunglasses in five steps

Looking through a hazy pall of smudges can sap the fun right out of your sun-loving activities. But knowing how to properly clean sunglasses can get them—and your eyesight—back in the clear. And by cleaning your sunglasses the right way, you won’t damage them in the process.

Cleaning sunglasses is pretty much the same as cleaning eyeglasses. Just remember these five easy steps below.

1. Wash and Dry Your Hands

Before you grab those sunglasses, make sure your hands are clean and dry. Otherwise, you’ll risk transferring dirt or oil from your hands to your sunglasses. And wet fingers can cause smudges.

Thoroughly wash your hands with soap that doesn’t contain lotion or other emollients. Dry your hands with a lint-free towel or as close to lint-free as you can.

2. Rinse Your Sunglasses With Lukewarm Water

Lukewarm tap water will work fine. Just hold your sunglasses under the running water and rinse them off. Be sure to include the frames and both sides of the lenses. And don’t let the water get too hot. This can damage some special lens coatings, like those used for polarized sunglasses.

3. Put a Drop of Dishwashing Liquid on Each Lens

Just one drop is enough. Again, use soap without lotion or other additives. You can substitute eyeglass cleaner (which is usually the same as sunglass cleaner) if you don’t have additive-free dishwashing liquid at home. Use a small amount of the cleaner, and be sure it’s safe to use with lens coatings.

Then, gently rub the liquid around the frames and lenses. Be sure to clean the frame parts that come in contact with your skin or hair, like the temples and nose pads. Thoroughly (and regularly) cleansing your frame of oil and other grime can help your sunglasses stay in better shape for longer.

4. Re-Rinse Your Sunglasses

Run your sunglasses under warm running water again until you’ve rinsed off all the soap.

5. Dry Your Sunglasses

Use a fresh, lint-free microfiber cloth or towel (and avoid using paper products) so you don’t leave bits of lint on your nice, clean sunglasses. Dry them and hold them up to the light to see that you didn’t miss any dirt or smudges. Clean? If yes, you can put your sunglasses on. Or put them back in their protective case to keep them safe and spotless.

Bottle of anti-fog lens spray for glasses

Clean your sunglasses on the go

Keep your sunglasses clean with our travel-size lens cleaning kit—complete with anti-fog spray, a cleaning cloth, and a handy pouch-and-cloth combo.

Cleaning Sunglasses: What Not To Do

To get your sunglasses clean the right way, you’ll want to steer clear of practices that can cause damage to them. Keep these don’ts in mind:

  • Don’t use your clothes: Even if you only wear the softest cotton, the fabric of your clothing isn’t made for cleaning sunglasses and could scratch the lenses.
  • Don’t use other cleaning products: Only use mild dish soap or sunglass cleaner that’s safe for lens coatings. For example, cleaning products containing acetone or alcohol, or household glass cleaners, can damage the coating on a pair of sunglasses.
  • Don’t use your saliva: It isn’t clean, and it won’t clean your sunglasses. Plus, it’ll add germs (gross).
  • Don’t use hot water: Stick with lukewarm water when rinsing your sunglasses. Too hot a temperature can damage the lens coatings.
  • Don’t use hard water: If your home has hard water, consider using distilled water for cleaning sunglasses.
  • Don’t use paper products: Paper towels, tissue paper, toilet paper, and napkins can all scratch your sunglasses and leave linty bits on them.
  • Don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener: When washing the cloths or towels you use to clean your sunglasses, don’t use dryer sheets or fabric softener. They can leave a residue on your sunglasses.
  • Don’t try to buff out scratches: If your sunglasses are scratched and causing you to see less clearly, take them to an optical store

Can’t Get Your Sunglasses Clean?

Whether you wear corrective lenses or non-prescription sunglasses, clear vision depends on having clean eyewear. If you can’t get your sunglasses clean, it might be time for a new pair or a new prescription. 

Make an appointment for an eye exam. Not only can your doctor check your sunglasses, but they can also check on your eye health. It’s the best way to ensure your eyes and your sunglasses stay in top shape.

How To Clean Sunglasses FAQs

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