Primer: How To Clean Your Sunglasses

A ubiquitous style accessory for just about every guy (and gal) out there, sunglasses are more than just the cherry on top of a daily getup. They’re protectants, or shields, rather, working to keep our most useful sense acute and highly aware of what’s around us. The eyes: not only the window into the soul but the lenses into our very own reality. It behooves us, then, to protect them against harmful rays emitted from our nearest celestial star. For if the sun can burn our skin, just imagine what effects it can have on unprotected eyes for decades on end.

In this regard, sunglasses serve as a sort of double-edged sword. Beneficial in that they effectively block out harmful UV rays yet bothersome in that, after habitual use, they can accumulate all manner of dirt and grime — thus mitigating their one and only purpose: helping us to see clearly. And for that, there’s a relatively simple cleaning process. However, odds are you’ve been cleaning them improperly this entire time. Not to worry, learning how to clean your sunglasses the right way is easy and requires little to no outside tools or purchases. Here’s how it’s done.

How To Clean

5 Simple Steps

As with any cleaning task, understanding what you’re up against plays a large role in the methods and materials needed to accomplish the task. In this instance, and just like any good barrier, sunglasses will accumulate dirt and grime from the outdoors — particles in the air that will slowly build over time. And, there’s you (the wearer) to blame here as well. Oils from your hair, sweat, sunscreen, and dirt from your skin cells will result in a slow but steady build-up of gunk and grime. Nasty, right? Well, this is an easy fix. Just follow the five simple steps below.

What You’ll Need
A microfiber cloth. Soft bristled toothbrush. Room temperature water. Mild dish soap. A keen attention to detail.

  1. Rinse: Before getting started, go ahead and give your shades a good rinse under some room temperature water. You’ll be sudsing these things up shortly.

  2. Wash: Once they’re good and rinsed, take some mild dishwashing soap and get cleaning. Here, you’ll want to use your hands and/or a microfiber cloth if the grime has heavily accumulated. Also, nothing beats a toothbrush to help clean out the ever-annoying crevice between the lenses and the frame.

  3. Rinse Again: Now that all the dirt and grime has been disturbed and loosened up, give your shades a quality rinse (again, with room temperature water). Now’s a good time to touch up any missed spots as well.

  4. Dry: Using a dry microfiber cloth and/or a lint-free cloth, give your freshly cleaned pair of shades a good drying treatment. We’d suggest a microfiber cloth as any standard towel could leave unwanted fuzz.

  5. Inspect: Now’s where keen attention to detail comes in handy. Much like detailing a car, take a close look at the finished product, inspecting any overlooked nooks and crannies. Finally, make sure no residual water remains and that your lenses are once again as clear as the day you bought them.

Our Pick: Salt Optics Taft Sunglasses

Part of their California Scenario, the Tafts — like others in the collection — draw inspiration from the minimalist aesthetic of Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. Each piece explores the artist’s view of the many geographical “scenarios” within Golden State lines, i.e. soft angles, organic curves, and a myriad of natural elements.

This pair acts as a tribute to the ‘80s thanks to the iconic round silhouette housing a set of polarized G15 lenses. They also boast an acetate, titanium, and beta Ti construction and are available in several other retro-themed colorways for the taking.

Purchase: $490


Day-To-Day Upkeep

Since we all know life is much more enjoyable when convenience is held on high, we also encourage the preliminary purchase of sunglass cleaning kits — ideal for road trips and/or backcountry camping trips. Of course, it never hurts to mitigate the pains that coincide with any deep cleaning by treating your prized shades with care and caution. Meaning you should regularly clean your sunnies. Additionally, it’s also best to rid yourself of bad habits and shortcuts like using your saliva to clean your sunglasses, or even try to buff them out with a t-shirt, paper towel, or tissue as these materials may end up scratching your lenses 1) because they’re not soft and 2) because all you’re actually doing is rubbing whatever dust or dirt particles may be present into the glass. Clearly, a little care and benchmark knowledge can go a long way in keeping a prized pair of shades out of harm’s way so they can serve their shielding purpose to their best ability. No complaints here.

The 5 Best Made In America Sunglasses

Here’s the thing about sunglasses. Most are built overseas. However, there are a few grassroots eyewear brands that make them stateside. So, if American-made products are your forte, then be sure to check out this guide to the best American-made sunglasses for more info.