This Is How To (Safely) Clean Polarized Sunglasses

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Polarized sunglasses have a number of perks, but the only way you can truly benefit from your glasses is by properly cleaning and storing them. So, what’s the best way to clean polarized sunglasses without causes any damage?

To clean polarized sunglasses, blow lightly on them to remove dust and then wash them with warm water. Dry the glasses with a microfiber cloth and use a high-quality lens cleaner. Always check the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer so that you don’t affect the polarization.

Polarized glasses are essential for keeping the harmful rays of the sun out of your eyes. Let’s take a closer look at how you can clean them properly as well as how to store them safely and prevent damage.

What Are Polarized Sunglasses?

Polarized sunglasses are similar to regular sunglasses — the only (important) difference is that they’re fitted with polarized lenses that reduce glare and help prevent eyestrain when it’s too bright. They protect your eyes from glare and help you see better in the sun.

Polarized lenses have a special coating that enables them to filter light in a certain way. The coating creates a filter that provides vertical openings to allow light to pass through but blocks horizontal light waves. The latter usually occurs when you view light reflections made by certain smooth or shiny surfaces. 

As a result of the filtering, objects and images seen through polarized sunglasses appear darker and crisper, and the details are clearer and easier to see.

How Do You Clean Polarized Sunglasses Without Damaging Them?

Woman wiping sunglasses with microfiber cleaning cloth on light background

Cleaning the frame of your polarized sunglasses is just like cleaning the frame on your regular sunglasses. However, the lenses are a different story.

Polarized lenses come in different types, so there’s no one correct way to clean them. Different manufacturers use different materials and techniques for polarization and may have tips specific to their lenses.

For this reason, it’s best if you follow the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. But, inn general, cleaning your glasses involves the following steps:

  1. Before you do anything, thoroughly wash your hands so that you don’t transfer any germs or oils from your hands to the glasses. Make sure your hands aren’t greasy, and dry them with a lint-free towel before touching the glasses.
  2. Lightly blow on the glasses to get rid of loose debris and dirt present on the surface. 
  3. Wash the glasses with warm water to remove particles that can scratch the lens. Be mindful of the water pressure since high pressure can also cause abrasion.
  4. If there’s some abrasive material or salt residue on the lenses (like from sea water), make sure you rinse it thoroughly before proceeding. If you get hard water in your home, make sure to use distilled water. 
  5. Don’t forget to clean the earpieces and nose pads of your glasses with rubbing alcohol and a moist wipe. If there are greasy marks and fingerprints on the lens, wash it with a drop of dishwashing detergent. 
  6. Use a microfiber cloth to rub the lenses while they’re still wet. Don’t be too hard on the lenses — just apply a little pressure to get rid of the smudges and dirt. 
  7. Use a lens cleaner (on Amazon) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, you’ll have to spray it on both sides and then get rid of the extra water by shaking the glasses.

Window cleaners, household cleaners, and commercial soaps often include chemicals that tend to dissolve the protective lens coating, leaving them less effective at preventing glare. For this reason, you should invest in a high-quality lens cleaner with a pH of 5.5-8 and less than 5% alcohol content. 

Which Products Should You Avoid?

To keep your polarized sunglasses in the best condition for as long as possible, make sure you keep these things in mind:

  • Never clean your glasses with tissues, your shirt, or paper towels since these materials are very coarse and can scratch the surface of the lens. The best material for your glasses is a microfiber cloth (on Amazon).
  • Don’t use acetone, found in nail polish, to clean your glasses. It can damage both the frame (especially if it’s plastic) and the lenses.
  • Don’t use saliva to clean dust, dirt, and smudges from the glasses. Doing so doesn’t really clean anything; instead, you just end up with germs on your glasses.

How to Prevent Damage to Your Polarized Lenses 

Polarized sunglasses and backpack

In addition to following the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to cleaning, there are a few other tips you should follow so that you don’t damage or scratch your lenses.

Store Them in a Case

Always store the glasses in the case that was provided with them when they’re not in use. Otherwise, they’ll only get damaged and dirty over time. If you don’t have a case, look for a high-quality hard shell case like this one from Oakley (on Amazon).

Also, make sure that you keep the glasses away from high temperatures that can damage the polarized coating. So, for instance, don’t leave them under the sun (like on the windshield of a parked car). 

Avoid Salt Water 

Saltwater can easily damage the polarized lenses and blur the glass, which can affect your vision. The tiny particles of salt tend to stick to the lenses and cause abrasion. Eventually, this causes scratches.

So, if you decide to wear your glasses to the beach, make sure you wash them with warm water as soon as you come back. 

Even if you can’t see or feel any residue, you should still wash the glasses to remove hidden dust and abrasive particles. 

Use a Microfiber Cloth 

As we mentioned earlier, fabrics like those used to make clothing can cause abrasion. Instead, it’s better to use a microfiber cloth like the one that usually comes with your glasses. 

Also keep in mind that sportswear material can really damage the lens. If you don’t have a microfiber cloth at hand, then the safest option is cotton. 

While we’re on the topic, avoid dry rubbing polarized lenses with a microfiber cloth. The friction caused by the minuscule particles of debris and dust can damage the lens if it’s not lubricated with some cleaner or water. 

Use a Lens Cleaner 

It’s a good idea to occasionally clean the lens with a lens cleaner. It’s also better to wipe stubborn stains with a lens cleaner instead of scratching and rubbing. 

However, you need to be mindful of the kind of cleaner you buy. Never use alcohol-based cleaners and make sure it has the right pH (5.5-8). Extreme pH can be damaging.

Also, avoid using the lens cleaner excessively since it can degrade the coating on the lens that has anti-glare, anti-fog, and anti-scratch properties. It can also affect polarization. 

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