No one likes looking through a scratched-up lens. When glasses get scratched, it affects both their appearance and their functionality—you’ll want to find a fix ASAP.
But removing scratches from prescription glasses is risky business, especially if you’re trying to do it yourself. Before you strip your lenses of their coatings or take a sand blaster to your frames, let us walk you through various myths about treating scratched glasses. (Spoiler: The only way to really remove scratches from a glasses lens is to replace the lens entirely.) Plus, we’ll cover how to prevent scratches from happening in the first place.
Can Scratches Be Removed from Prescription Glasses at Home?
It’s possible, but we never recommend it. DIY solutions often aren’t as effective as advertised, and you are likely to make the scratches worse or damage your glasses in some other way. Always do your research before attempting to use any product on your glasses or lenses.
The most popular “home remedy” for scratched glasses is applying a paste made from baking soda and water. But, like any at-home hack for removing scratches from glasses, it’s meant to wear away at the coating on your lenses until the scratches aren’t as visible. Not ideal! We’ll tell you how it’s supposed to work, but we definitely don’t endorse it.
What You’ll Need
- Baking soda
- Small mixing bowl
- Two microfiber cloths
How to Get Scratches Out of Glasses with Baking Soda
Step 1: Clean your glasses well with the microfiber cloth. If it’s been a while since your glasses have had a thorough cleaning, follow our guide here: How to Clean Your Glasses.
Step 2: Mix baking soda with water in the bowl to produce a thick paste. Start with a couple teaspoons or a tablespoon of baking soda and add water until the consistency feels right.
Step 3: Apply the paste to the scratched part of your glasses lens. Use the second microfiber cloth to gently rub the paste over the scratches. Move the cloth in a circular motion (not back and forth) and don’t apply too much pressure. You’re going for a gentle approach here.
Step 4: Rinse your lenses with water to remove the paste.
Step 5: Dry your lenses with the clean microfiber cloth. Inspect the scratches. Do they seem less apparent? If so, you can repeat this method until you’ve minimized the scratches to your satisfaction (but know that you’re removing the coating on your lenses as you do so!).
If you see no difference, then the baking soda method might not work for your glasses (or it might take hours you don’t have). If the scratches seem worse or more pronounced, do not repeat these steps.
Does Using Toothpaste on Scratched Glasses Work?
Not really, and rubbing toothpaste on your glasses can make scratches worse.
The thinking behind applying toothpaste to scratched lenses is that the tiny abrasive particles within the paste will wear down the lens coating enough to hide the scratch. Certain toothpastes are more abrasive than others: gel toothpastes and toothpastes with whiteners will be far harsher on your glasses.
If you ask us, the toothpaste method isn’t worth the risk.
Does Polishing Glasses Remove Scratches?
No, you should never use rough materials to try and buff out scratches on glasses. Your lenses will only become more rough and marked-up if you try using sandpaper or other polishing tools.
Are There Other Products that Remove Scratches from Glasses?
You might be tempted by other quick fixes for your scratched glasses, but unfortunately most of these are too good to be true.
Do Glass Etching Products Fix Scratches on Glasses?
Glass etching products will completely remove any coatings on glasses lenses. Theoretically, if only the coating of your lens is scratched, then applying a glass etching product will “fix” the scratch by eating away at the coating.
But then you’ll lose any benefits that the coating conferred, such as blue light protection. What’s more, if you let glass etching product sit on your lenses for too long it’ll damage the lens along with the coating. For this reason, we never recommend putting these products on your glasses.
Can You Use Wax on Scratched Glasses?
Using wax to try and fill in scratches on your glasses will probably just make it harder to see through them. Wax (including car wax and furniture wax) is more opaque than your lens material and can make a scratch more noticeable. Even if it does patch up a deep scratch, it’s a temporary fix at best.
Does Sunscreen Get Rid of Scratches on Glasses?
Some guides recommend applying sunscreen to fix scratched sunglasses with mirror coating. Doing so will remove the mirror coating entirely—so the scratches might be gone, but so will the reflective part of your sunglass lenses. This is another method we don’t endorse, as it’s substantially altering your lenses in a way that could do more harm than good.
Can Opticians Remove Scratches from Glasses?
Opticians can’t typically fix scratched lenses without installing new ones. Once a lens is scratched deep enough, it’s scratched for good. An optician can adjust your glasses for you and give advice on fit or care, but the best way to treat a scratched lens is to replace it entirely—that’s what we’ll always recommend.
How to Fix Scratched Glasses for Good: Get the Lenses Replaced
If you have badly scratched glasses, then your best option is to have the lenses replaced. New lenses will ensure that you can see clearly and keep your glasses looking sharp. Talk to your optician about switching out your lenses to see if it’s possible with your current frames, how long it might take, and how much it will cost.
At Warby Parker, we stand by the scratch-resistant coating that comes standard with all of our lenses: if they become scratched within six months of your purchase, we’ll replace them for free.