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How to Clean Sunglasses the Right Way 

How to Clean Sunglasses the Right Way 

By Meredith Marmurek 


It can be frustrating to put on your sunglasses and immediately realize that the lenses are smudged or dirty. If you need to clean your shades, it’s important to avoid damaging the lenses or frame. Read on to learn the do’s and don’ts of sunglasses care. 

How Sunglasses Get Dirty 

Even if you try not to touch your sunglasses lenses a lot, they can still get dirty. Here are some reasons your sunnies may need to be cleaned:  


  • When you spend time outside, environmental debris like dirt and grime can settle on your sunglasses.   

  • Oils from your skin and fingers can leave smudges on the lenses. 

  • Makeup residue can build up on your shades.   

  • If you’re on or near water, chlorine from a pool and salt from the ocean can leave a film on your lenses.  

How to Clean Sunglasses 

Cleaning your sunglasses is very similar to cleaning your reading glasses. It’s generally safest to clean them with soap and water or lens spray. Here’s how you can give your sunglasses some TLC: 

Wash with Soap and Water  

Using soap and water is the best way to clean sunglasses. All you need is lotion-free dish soap and a clean, lint-free microfiber cloth, then: 


  • Wash your hands with soap that doesn’t have lotion or other softening ingredients. 

  • Rinse the frame and lenses under lukewarm water. This will get rid of any dust or debris that could potentially scratch the lenses when you rub soap on them.  

  • Pour a small drop of dish soap onto each lens and use your fingers to gently rub it around. Clean the front and back of each lens and all over the frame.  

  • Thoroughly rinse your sunglasses again with warm water. 

  • Dry with a microfiber cloth. 

Use Lens Cleaning Spray   

You can also use specially formulated lens spray to clean your sunglasses. Here’s how: 


  • Wash your hands with lotion-free soap.  

  • Rinse your lenses with lukewarm water to get rid of any dust or debris.  

  • Spray a small amount of lens cleaner on the front and back of the lenses.  

  • Move the microfiber cloth around in gentle circles on each lens until they’re both clean. 


How To Clean Polarized Sunglasses  

If you spend a lot of time on the water, you may be wondering how to clean polarized sunglasses. In most cases, you can clean polarized sunglasses the same way you clean shades without polarization.  


To be completely certain, before you clean your sunglasses, check the manufacturer’s website or ask your local optician for any special instructions.  

What Not to Do When Cleaning Sunglasses 

Now that you know how to clean your shades, here are some things you should not do: 


  • Don’t use hot water – Rinsing glasses with water that’s too hot could damage any lens coatings you have. 

  • Don’t clean your sunglasses with an abrasive cloth – For example, shirts, paper towels, washcloths, and napkins may have a rough surface that can scratch your lenses. 

  • Don’t use saliva – This may be convenient, especially if you don’t have access to a sink or lens cleaner, but it’s not a good idea. Saliva is full of bacteria and doesn’t actually clean lenses.  

  • Don’t use household cleaners – It may be tempting to use cleaning products, but they aren’t safe for your shades. Ingredients like ammonia, alcohol, bleach, and vinegar can damage the coatings on your sunglass lenses.  


Follow these simple tips to keep your sunglasses looking great and helping you see more clearly. When it’s time to add a new pair to your collection, we’ve got you covered with a wide variety of sunglasses for women, men, and kids.  



  1. How to take care of your sunglasses. All About Vision. March 2020.* 
  2. How to clean glasses and eyeglasses. Accessed January 2024.* 
  3. How to clean and disinfect eyeglasses. FramesDirect. Accessed January 2024.* 
  4. How to clean polarized glasses. wikiHow. December 2023.** 
  5. Cleaning glasses: An easy guide step by step. January 2023.*    


The sources listed here have been provided for informational purposes only. The citation of a particular source does not constitute an endorsement or approval of EssilorLuxottica products, services, or opinions by such source.  


*Like Foster Grant, All About Vision, AAV Media, LLC,, FramesDirect, and are affiliates of EssilorLuxottica. 


**Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki building the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.