Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

How to Keep Your Sunglasses Looking Perfect All Summer Long

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

If you stop and think about it, our sunglasses are so good to us — they make us look great, they shield our eyes from the sun, they conceal our hangovers, they make an excellent headband — and we treat them so poorly.

We should be nicer to our eyewear, especially because it's actually really easy to be nice to your eyewear. Here's all the stuff you need to know to improve your relationship and let your sunglasses know you care.

Here's All You Need to Know About Cleaning Sunglasses

Cleaning a pair of sunglasses is as easy as washing a dish. Literally. Because you're going to use dish soap.

Yup! That's all… well, you'll also need water. Here's your sunglass washing routine:

Step 1: Start by rinsing the glasses under warm running tap water. Avoid the use of very hot water.

Step 2: Using your thumb and forefinger, massage a small amount of dish soap onto the lenses, arms, and nose pads. When I say a "small amount" I mean a drop. That's all. Also, avoid the use of soaps with lotion or beads in them, and stick instead with a clear soap.

Pay special attention to the arms and nose pads, which we tend to forget because they don't show smudges in the way that lenses do, but that are definitely sporting an oily coating from the grease on your nose and in your hair. Plus, all those styling products you use!

Step 3: Rinse the glasses very well with warm running water.

Step 4: Dry the glasses thoroughly using a soft cotton, chamois or microfiber cloth.

Technically speaking, you're supposed to do this every day but I can barely even write that without collapsing in a fit of laughter, because honestly. Here in the real world, where I live with the rest of you, I'll tell you to wash your sunglasses on an as-needed basis.

How Not to Wash Your Sunglasses

I probably should have led with this, because what not to do is actually so much more important than what to do when it comes to lens care. Here's what you need to know about what not to do.

Never use any sort of glass cleaner, including Windex, on the lenses of your sunglasses. The same thing goes for any products that contain bleach or ammonia. The problem with glass and all-purpose cleaners is that they can strip the coating off the lenses.

The other big no-no when it comes to cleaning glasses, is that you should never wipe them using your shirt, paper towels or napkins, or even tissues. Especially avoid the use of those tissues that are impregnated with lotion, since the lotion will transfer onto the the lenses and make them foggy. If that happens, washing the glasses with dish soap will eliminate the cloudiness.

Since we're already talking about what not to do, here are a few other general care tips for keeping your sunglasses looking their best. First of all, resist the urge to wear them on top of your head, even though they do make for such a fetching headband. Doing so will cause the glasses to stretch out, and oil and products from your hair will transfer to the lenses, making them very dirty. It's also crucial to store your sunglasses in a case of some sort, otherwise they'll become horribly scratched. Similarly, if you take your sunglasses off to set them down, make sure you rest them arm side-down. Putting a pair of glasses down on the lenses will not only get them dirty, it will result in scratching.

A Note on Lens Cleaners & Wipes

You can buy bottled lens cleaner at any eyewear or drug store, and they're certainly a perfectly fine option. The thing is, though, that it's not super convenient to tote around a bottle of lens cleaner — especially when dish or hand soap is pretty much everywhere and will do a great job of cleaning your sunglasses. However, lens cleaning wipes are a great thing because they're individually packaged, which means you can stash a few in your purse, tote bag, or even right in your sunglasses case.

As a bonus, you can use them to clean your cell phone, which is also completely filthy.