So you’ve scored your perfect pair of sunglasses. I mean, these are your dream shades—your true-blue soulmate sunnies, the flawless exclamation mark to all your best ensembles. If you never want to imagine your wardrobe without them, we’ve got some great news: with proper care, your favorite sunglasses should last for literal years.
From storage to cleaning and everything in between, here’s the scoop on how to take care of your sunglasses so they can serve you loyally for seasons to come. Because let’s be real: “well-loved” should never have to mean “short-lived.”
1. Clean Your Sunglasses with a Microfiber Cloth
Smudges happen. Whether the culprit is excess makeup, pizza grease, or some other identified gunk, skip the paper towel and Kleenex. Trust us: reach for a high-quality microfiber cloth instead.
Materials like paper towels and tissue might be soft to the touch, but they actually contain dangerous microparticles. Though invisible to the naked eye, these tiny bits of plastic and wood cause scrapes and micro-abrasions that tear at your lenses, degrading their quality over time.
And don’t even think about using your t-shirt, pant leg, or scarf to rub out specks and smudges! Fabrics like cotton and polyester are guaranteed to contain dirt and dust particles that will scrape and corrode your lenses, leaving permanent scratches that impair vision quality.
The bottom line? When it comes to cleaning your sunglasses, steer clear of anything that isn’t a microfiber cloth. Microfiber is the only fabric recommended by manufacturers for cleaning delicate surfaces because it absorbs and removes tiny microparticles before they have the chance to cause damage. Plus, microfiber cloth is reusable, effective, and ultra-affordable. So there’s really no excuse not to have one nearby at all times!
2. Wash Your Sunglasses with Mild Soap and Lukewarm Water
Every now and then you’ll encounter a speck or smudge that can’t even be tackled by the wonders of a microfiber cloth. For those stubborn streaks, it’s time to break out the big guns: soap and water.
Of course, not all soap is created equal! Stay away from most body washes, bar soaps, and shampoos. Surface cleaners like Windex are also a total no-go because of their ammonia content. Instead, reach for a mild, PH-neutral liquid soap that’s free of unnecessary chemical agents. In most cases, household dish soaps like Palmolive, Joy Ultra, Seventh Generation, or Frosch Natural Liquid Dish Soap will fit the bill just fine.
Rather than smearing soap directly on the lenses, add a dime-sized drop to your palm and massage it between your fingers. When suds appear, apply them to the lenses with your fingers using a gentle circular motion. After a soft scrub, rinse the lenses under running water.
Like yourself, your sunnies will find a relaxing spa experience a little more appealing than a boiling cauldron. With that in mind, when washing your sunglasses use water that’s lukewarm—not piping hot. Having trouble imagining the balance? Aim for a temperature that’s mild enough for a baby’s bath water but still warmer than your own body temp.
After a gentle scrub and a little VIP spa treatment, resist the urge to dry your sunglasses with any standard fabrics. Air drying is the #1 choice for achieving a streak-free finish. That said, if you’re in a pinch you can use a clean microfiber cloth instead.
3. Keep Mirrored Lenses Away from Salt Water
A little “vitamin sea” might do wonders for your mood and skin. But when it comes to your sunglasses, salt water is a serious threat—especially if you have polarized or mirrored lenses.
Salt water contains ions that accelerate the decomposition of metal. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what gives mirrored lenses their ultra-reflective finish. Varnishes and coatings are also extremely vulnerable when exposed to salt water, which poses serious dangers for polarized and anti-reflective lenses.
Basically, when you’re throwing together your beach bag, opt for shades with traditional lenses. Or at the very least, do your best to keep your sunglasses safe and dry during beach days. You’ll thank us later!
4. Check Screws and Tighten When Needed
If you own a car, you probably have it serviced regularly with oil changes and tire rotations. These little maintenance measures can work wonders to keep things running smoothly on a long-term basis. Sunglasses aren’t complex machinery, but they’ll still benefit form a little love and maintenance. If you take the time to perform periodic tune-ups, your shades will reward you with a ton of extra mileage.
Best of all, eyewear tune-ups offer heaps of benefits with very little costs. Unlike car maintenance, they’re not going to sink an entire week’s paycheck, either. With a few affordable tools you can regularly perform tune-ups by yourself. Next time you’re at the pharmacy or supermarket, grab an eyewear kit to keep in your kitchen drawer or glove compartment.
Every 2-3 months check your sunglasses’ screws. If they’re loose or wobbly, tighten them gently with a small screwdriver. Outside of maintaining a snug fit, a little regular tightening will also protect your sunglasses’ hinges and prevent unintentional bending of the frame.
5. Store Your Sunglasses in Your Car Visor
The saying goes, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” If your mom never recited that phrase to you while trying to get you to clean your childhood bedroom, we’re here to say it now. When it comes to sunglasses, if they’re not on your face—put them in their case!
Leaving your shades on your passenger seat, tossing them on your dashboard, or stuffing them in your glove box is a sure-fire way to end up with sunglasses that are bent and scratched. Instead, store your sunnies in a designated hard-shell case. Some cars have built-in eyewear compartments in the ceilin. If yours doesn’t, a visor clip from the dollar store or pharmacy is a quick and easy lifesaver.
Even when you’re not in the car, resist the temptation to carelessly toss your shades into your purse or pants pocket. Hard covers and protective pouches are extremely affordable—and often fashionable, too. Best of all, they’ll keep your favorite pair of sunnies safe from drops and scrapes whenever you’re not wearing them.