Scrub-a-Dub-Dub: How to Properly Clean Your Sunglasses

As you slide those sweet shades over your eyes, savor that feeling of instant cool. But don't let your sunnies lose their luster! Those babies deserve some TLC to stay in tip-top shape all season long. We're dishing the dirt on keeping your specs sparkling from lenses to frames. You'll get the inside scoop on cleaning, storage, fixing scratches, replacing parts, and even how to properly toss them when they're too far gone. Arm yourself with our top tips to take your sunglasses from grimy to glam in no time. You'll be ready to rock those stunners looking as fresh as the day you bought them.

Store and Protect: Keeping Your Shades Safe From Harm

To keep your shades shining bright, regular cleaning is a must. After each wear, wipe down the lenses and frames with the microfiber cloth that came with your sunglasses. For stuck-on smudges, a dab of water or eyeglass cleaner will do the trick.


For lens cleaning, avoid using any abrasive solutions, paper towels or rough cleaning pads which can scratch the surface. Gently clean lenses with a spray-on eyeglass cleaner or mild dish soap and water using a microfiber cloth or lens cleaning tissue in a circular motion, starting from the center of the lens and working your way out. Rinse and dry completely to prevent water spots.

Nose Pads

Pay attention to the nose pads which can collect oils from your skin. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to dissolve any built-up grime. Let nose pads air dry completely before storing your sunglasses.


Wipe down frames with a damp, soft cloth to remove any dirt or debris. For stuck-on residue, apply a small amount of mild soap to the area and scrub off with an old toothbrush. Rinse and dry frames with a microfiber cloth to bring back the shine.

Regular lens and frame upkeep will keep your shades in tip-top shape and ensure maximum protection and performance. Now go out and enjoy the sunshine knowing your sunglasses will be fresh as the day you bought them!

Uh Oh, Scratches!: Fixing Small Damage and Repairing Lenses

Now that you've invested in a quality pair of sunglasses, you'll want to keep them in top shape for as long as possible. The best way to do that is by properly storing and protecting them when they're not on your face.

Keep your shades in a hard case. The soft pouches most sunglasses come with don't offer much protection. A hard case will shield them from scratches, dings, and crushing blows. For the most durable option, look for a case specifically designed for sunglasses. An eyeglass case can work in a pinch but may not fully protect larger frames.

Avoid extreme heat or cold. Don't leave your sunglasses in a hot car or in direct sunlight. The heat can warp the frames and damage the lenses. Similarly, avoid freezing conditions which can cause the materials to become brittle. Room temperature is best.

Keep them out of water. It may seem obvious but don't submerge your sunglasses in water or let them get soaked in the rain. Even if they're water-resistant, the water can damage the lenses and get trapped between the lens layers.

Wipe lenses clean before storing. Any dirt or debris left on the lenses can scratch them when the arms are folded in. Give them a quick wipe down with the provided cleaning cloth or eyeglass wipe before putting them in the case.

With the proper precautions taken, a quality pair of sunglasses can last you many seasons. Follow these tips to keep your shades scratch-free, crack-free and looking brand new. Your eyes—and your wallet—will thank you.

When It's Time for an Upgrade: Replacing Lenses and Frames

Accidents happen, and chances are at some point your favorite shades may end up with a scratch or two. Don’t panic— minor scratches and lens damage are often repairable. There are a few DIY methods you can try before needing to replace the lenses.

Buffing out light scratches

For surface scratches that haven’t penetrated the lens coating, you can try using a microfiber cloth to gently buff them out. Rub the scratch using small circular motions, applying light pressure. Check the progress frequently. This works best for plastic lenses, but can also help reduce the appearance of scratches on glass lenses.

Toothpaste trick

Believe it or not, regular white toothpaste can work wonders for polishing out light lens scratches. Apply a small dab of toothpaste to the scratch and gently scrub with a soft cloth, then rinse and wipe clean. The fine abrasives in toothpaste help smooth and shine the lens surface. This temporary solution works for both plastic and glass lenses.

Lens resurfacing kits

For deeper scratches, you can purchase lens resurfacing kits that contain fine grit sandpapers to sand out scratches and then buff the lens to restore the surface. Carefully follow the directions to sand out the scratch in stages, checking your progress often. These kits can be very effective, but there is a risk of causing further damage if not done properly. It may be best left to a professional.

If DIY methods don’t work and the scratches are impairing your vision or the structural integrity of the lens, it’s best to have them replaced by an optician. They can install new lens blanks suited to your specific frames. With regular care and maintenance, your “new” shades will be ready to face whatever adventures come their way.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Responsibly Disposing of Old Sunglasses

Eventually, even the highest quality sunglasses will start to show signs of wear and tear. Scratched or damaged lenses won’t protect your eyes as well from UV radiation and glare. frames that are bent, dented or starting to deteriorate won’t sit comfortably on your face anymore. When your shades have seen better days, it may be time to consider replacing the lenses, frames, or both.

New Lenses

If your lenses are scratched, cracked or not as clear as they used to be, you can often get replacement lenses for your existing frames. Many eyewear retailers like LensCrafters offer lens replacement services for most major brands. They can install new lenses that match your current prescription and tint preferences. Replacing just the lenses is typically much more affordable than buying an entirely new pair of sunglasses.

New Frames

If your frames are damaged or just outdated, you can also get new frames for your existing lenses. Again, many eyeglass stores offer frame replacement and can transfer your lenses into new frames of your choice. Make sure the new frames are the same size and shape so your lenses will fit properly. Getting new frames is a great way to update your look without needing an entirely new pair of sunglasses.

When It’s Time for a New Pair

If both your lenses and frames have seen significant wear or are no longer repairable, it’s probably best to invest in a new pair of sunglasses. Many popular styles come and go, so getting a new pair also allows you to update to the latest fashion. And of course, if your sunglasses are several years old, lens and frame technology may have improved since you bought them. A new pair will provide optimal UV protection and clarity. When purchasing new sunglasses, be sure to get a quality, name brand pair and keep your old pair for backup. With some care and maintenance, your new shades should provide years of stylish sun protection!

Roger Sarkis