Sunglasses are much more than a fashion accessory. While they can give you a ton of style points, their main purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun and the harmful UV rays it emits. But no matter how stylish and high-quality your sunglasses are, they’re susceptible to damage.
It’s happened to most of us at some point. You’re outside enjoying the weather while or doing whatever outdoor activity it is you like doing, and your favorite pair of expensive sunglasses fall lens-first onto the ground. Or you packed them in your bag with all of your other possessions, and your keys scratched the lens. You don’t notice the scratch until you put the sunglasses on when the sudden disappointment and anger kick in.
Most people get desperate, and they immediately discard their scratched sunglasses and look for brand new ones. But little do they know is that there are a few ways you can perform sunglass lens repair, or at least minimize the visibility of the scratches or damage. While you can take them to your local optician for professional repair, a few “home remedies” can be pretty effective as well. Personally, whenever I get in such a predicament, I try everything I can at home before I take them to an optician.
Sunglass Scratch Repair and Cleaning Methods
Baking Soda and Water
The most common way to perform DIY sunglass lens repair is by combining baking soda and water. These two things can be found in every household, and mixing them together is very easy. But before you apply the mixture onto your lens, make sure you clean them well by using a microfiber cloth.
The mixture should be paste-like, and you should apply it over the entire lens. However, make sure you don’t get any on the frame. After you’ve applied the baking soda, wait a minute or two before carefully removing it as gently as possible. This should eliminate the scratches from your lens and clean the lens at the same time.
This method is less-known and it comes as a surprise to many people. However, I’ve personally tried it and found it quite effective. You can use dishwashing soap and lukewarm water to clean your glasses. But if you give it a minute or two for the lens to dry with the soap on them before you clean them, you can effectively remove scratches as well.
Make sure you use a special glass cleaning cloth to remove the soap, otherwise you risk damaging your lens further. What you can do is put a few drops of dishwashing soap in a spray bottle and have your own cleaner and repair mixture on the go.
Vinegar is considered a cleaning “hack” for a wide range of situations, and one of its uses that you may have not been aware of is removing scratches from sunglass lens. The method of applying and cleaning the lens with vinegar is exactly the same as the method of applying baking soda. So when should you use vinegar instead of soda? Well, plastic lenses are better cleaned with vinegar, and after you’re done cleaning, you’ll notice the lens being more transparent and brighter.
Brass polish is another less-known method for removing scratches and cleaning your lens. It’s mostly used for removing shallow scratches, but it can also remove sticky debris from the lens. Before you attempt to repair or clean your sunglasses with this method, make sure the brass polish doesn’t contain any acetone. Acetone can further damage the lenses rather than fix them.
Specialised Scratch Removal Kit
Unlike all of the aforementioned home remedies, a scratch removal kit is a special type of mixture you can buy from your local optician or from an online optician store. The optician can also check your sunglasses and give you advice on the best possible solution for the fix. However, keep in mind that if the scratches are deep and have been there for a long time, you’ll probably have no chance of fixing them and you’ll have to get replacement lenses or buy a new pair.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Store Your Sunglasses Properly
Improper storage is the most common reason sunglass lenses get damaged. Always place your sunglasses in a case, or at least in a sunglass pouch. Hang them on your shirt, placing them in a bag or anywhere else besides a case or pouch can risk damaging, or even worse, losing them. There are thousands of sturdy cases specifically designed to protect and store your sunglasses.
Don’t Place Them Anywhere
As briefly aforementioned, when you aren’t using your glasses, avoid hanging them on your shirt, resting them on top of your head or hair. These are bad habits that have led to me breaking at least a few pairs of sunglasses. Luckily, I was still a dumb teenager and couldn’t afford brand sunglasses, so mine were just cheap convenience store models. These bad habits can warp the shape of the frames over time, loosen the bolts, or completely break if they fall when you bend, for instance.
Don’t Expose Them to the Sun Unnecessarily
While it may sound a bit ironic, your sunglasses shouldn’t be exposed to the sun. While their main purpose is to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, overexposure of the sunglasses themselves can lead to damage to the surface coating on the lens or the tint, reducing their longevity considerably. Direct sunlight exposure can damage even the toughest plastics, so why risk it?
The aforementioned home remedies for repairing and cleaning sunglass lenses are great solutions. Try them out before you decide to take them for professional repair at the local optician. This can save you money and time. However, if you’re not confident in what you’re doing, then by all means, take them for a professional repair and cleaning. The best thing to do, though, is to make sure your sunglasses are properly stored and taken care of at all times. It doesn’t take much, yet doing so will go a long way in making the most out of them.