How to Clean Sunglasses in 4 Easy Steps

Product Care

Before reaching for your T-shirt to wipe off smudges from your sunglasses, check out these tips on how to properly clean sunglasses and keep them scratch-free.

Last updated: 4 October 2023
5 min read
Time Required
5 min
Estimated Cost


  • Mild washing-up liquid
  • Anti-fog spray (optional)


  • Microfibre cloth

Over time, sunglasses are bound to pick up dust, sweat, grime and smudges, but with proper cleaning techniques, they can easily be returned to pristine condition. While wiping the lenses on your clothing might seem like the quickest and most convenient option to clean them, there's a better way. All you need is a microfibre cloth, washing-up liquid and some running water.

Taking a few extra moments to properly clean sunglasses will help avoid unintentional damage, scratches or erosion of any UV-protective coating. If you're setting out to de-smudge a pair of polarised sunglasses, blue-light glasses or eyewear of any kind, follow these easy cleaning tips to keep your glasses spotless.

(Related: What Are Polarised Sunglasses, and Do You Need Them? Experts Weigh In)

How to Clean Sunglasses

  1. 1.Wet the Lenses

    How to Clean Sunglasses in 4 Easy Steps

    At the sink, run the glasses under lukewarm water.

  2. 2.Apply Washing-up Liquid Using Fingers

    How to Clean Sunglasses in 4 Easy Steps

    With clean hands, add a dab of mild washing-up liquid to both sides of the lenses. Using your thumb and index finger, rub the lenses in a circular motion, but be mindful not to scratch the lenses with your nails.

    This motion helps remove natural oils, make-up, sweat and other debris that can stick to lenses. Make sure you rub the frames and arms of the glasses as well.

  3. 3.Rinse the Sunglasses

    How to Clean Sunglasses in 4 Easy Steps

    Wash off the suds by running the eyewear under a gentle stream of lukewarm water. Make sure you rinse away any remaining soapy water.

  4. 4.Dry Thoroughly

    How to Clean Sunglasses in 4 Easy Steps

    Using a dry microfibre cloth, wipe all the moisture from the glasses.

    If you plan to add a spritz of anti-fogging solution to your sunglasses, this is the time. Anti-fog spray can help keep sunglasses from fogging up during sweaty workouts or while wearing a face mask and sunglasses together.

    (Related: The Best Nike Sunglasses for Running)

How to Clean Sunglasses in 4 Easy Steps

How to Clean Sunglasses On the Go

If you're on the go and can't follow the above steps to clean your sunglasses, try carrying a small microfibre cloth in your glasses case. This way, you can refrain from wiping them off with other things like T-shirts, which can scratch the lenses.

Consider keeping a small spray bottle of mild degreaser (available at many eyewear providers) in your bag or car, too. Simply spritz the lenses and wipe them clean with your microfibre cloth.

How to Properly Store Sunglasses

To keep a pair of sunglasses in top shape, store them in a hard case or a microfibre sleeve when you're not wearing them. Leaving sunglasses out of their case (in the car, for example) lets dust accumulate. Sunlight can then bake the dust into the lenses, causing the UV-protective coating to deteriorate over time.

What Not to Do: 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Sunglasses

  1. Don't Use Saliva

    Don't clean your sunglasses by fogging the lenses with your breath or spitting on them. Saliva is acidic and can cause lens coatings to disintegrate.
  2. Don't Clean With Acetone, Alcohol or Glass Cleaner

    These products are harsh on the lenses and can also remove the UV-protective coating. It's best to only use mild washing-up liquid to clean sunglasses.
  3. Don't Wipe Sunglasses With Clothing or Paper Towels

    Using materials other than microfibre fabrics, including paper products like paper towels and tissues, can scratch the lenses of your sunglasses. To ensure you don't damage your lenses, it's best to always use a microfibre cloth for cleaning.

How to Get a Deep Clean for Your Sunglasses

If your sunglasses are still not as clean as you would like, consider taking them to an eyewear provider for a deep clean. If the nose pads on your glasses have started to discolour, this deep-cleaning process can help get them looking brand new.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my sunglasses?

How often you should clean your sunglasses depends on how frequently you wear them. However, if you want to keep a pair of sunglasses in top condition, clean them each time you wear them. Throughout the day, glasses can accumulate natural oils, sweat, dirt, germs and make-up.

Frequently washing your glasses can also help extend the life of the lenses, ensuring that debris won't break down the UV-protective coating over time.

What's the best way to clean polarised sunglasses?

Cleaning polarised sunglasses is the same as cleaning any other eyewear. Use lukewarm water, a dab of mild washing-up liquid and a microfibre cloth to rub the lenses clean. Work in a circular motion and rinse all suds off the lenses when you've finished. Then, wipe the glasses dry with a fresh microfibre cloth.

How often should I replace a microfibre cloth for cleaning glasses?

If you're regularly using a microfibre cloth to clean your glasses, replace the cloth once you notice lint or dirt on it. You'll know it's time for a new cloth when it no longer effectively absorbs grime while you're cleaning the lenses.

How do I clean sunglasses on the go?

If you are not able to wash your sunglasses using running water and washing-up liquid, consider stashing a microfibre cloth and small spray bottle of mild degreaser (available at many eyewear providers) in your bag or car. Simply spritz the lenses and wipe them clean with a microfibre cloth.

Words by Jessica Murri

Originally published: 12 June 2023

Related Stories

How to Store Shoes

Product care

20 expert-approved ideas for storing shoes

How to Get Sweat Stains Out of Shirts

Product care

How to get sweat stains out of tops

How to Clean Your Shoes in 6 Easy Steps

Product Care

How to Clean Your Shoes in 6 Easy Steps

How to Clean a Yoga Mat in 7 Quick Steps

Product care

How to clean a yoga mat in 7 quick steps

Best trail running shoes by Nike

Buying guide

Best trail-running shoes by Nike