How to Remove Scratches from Sunglasses

Posted by Ken Courtright on

One of the biggest annoyances on a sunny day must be scratching your favorite sunglasses. But knowing how to remove scratches from sunglasses will soften the blow.

Sooner or later, scratches happen. They’re as inescapable as taxes, bad weather, and the flu. Plus, they can reduce both the functionality and stylishness of your shades.

Unfortunately, many rumored quick fixes are ineffective or harmful. So, let’s clear the fog on this universal problem.

How to Remove Scratches from Sunglasses

The trick to removing scratches is smoothing the surface. Sunglass lenses have coatings that give them their properties. By evening out and buffing the scratched layer, you can effectively remove the scratch.

First of all, you should clean your glasses before you begin. Otherwise, particles on the lenses may scratch them up even more.

So, you’ll need a soft, lint-free cloth. Microfiber cloth is preferable. Moisten it with warm water and clean the lenses, and you’re good to go.

However, there’s one more thing to consider. Before looking into just how to remove scratches from sunglasses, it’s best to assess the situation.

How bad is the scratch?

A shallow scratch only requires you to smooth the coating, which is pretty easy. Deeper scratches require more work and greater risks of damaging your sunglasses. Whether it’s worth a shot is the first thing to determine.

What are they worth?

The better and more expensive your glasses, the bigger the reason to fix scratches. However, the risks of damage are also more serious. So, consider getting new shades or leaving the scratches before you begin.

Good Methods of Scratch Removal on Sunglasses

While there’s an abundance of ways how to remove scratches from sunglasses in circulation, most aren’t very good. They’re usually either too aggressive or extremely ineffective. Actually, some methods tick both boxes.

So, we want to focus on gentle but effective methods that work in most situations. Plus, they only require ordinary household items.

Brass or silver polish

Metal polish can both buff your glasses and fill out the scratches well. However, this is only suitable for mirrored lenses with shallow scratches.

For brown shades, the brass polish is best. Other colors call for silver polish.

All you need is a small cotton ball with a dab of polish. Rub it in little circles until the scratch is gone. Start with 10 to 20 seconds, then rinse and repeat as necessary.

Please note that these polish solutions are strong enough to polish metal. So, you don’t want to use it on soft plastic. Again, this trick is for mirrored lenses only.


Perhaps the most popular household scratch remover, toothpaste is one of those mythical life hacks that actually work. However, you need a very basic toothpaste. Whiteners and gels can scratch and damage your lenses beyond salvation.

The micro-abrasives that would usually polish your teeth do the same to your lenses. As for how to remove scratches from sunglasses with toothpaste, simply rub it in circular motions with a cotton ball.

After about 10 seconds of rubbing, rinse the sunglasses off. If the scratch is still visible, repeat the process. While this method can only remove shallow scratches, it can reduce deeper ones to where they aren’t very visible.

Baking soda

Baking soda has similar properties to toothpaste. In fact, it’s a common toothpaste ingredient. Again, it’s the micro-abrasive buffing effect that we’re after.

First, you turn the powder into a paste. By mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with the same amount of water, you get a perfect consistency.

Yes, the trusty cotton ball will be with us this time as well. As you may have guessed, it’s circle rubbing time.

The extremely fine grit of the abrasives makes baking soda gentle enough for this delicate task but effective enough to do it fast. It shouldn’t take more than 10 to 20 seconds of rubbing.

If the scratch is still visible, try repeating the process. You can also mix toothpaste with baking soda for a scratch removal double whammy.

The Not-so-Good Ways to Restore Scratched Sunglasses

Now, there are many methods that aren’t very good. Presumably, they’re the result of guesswork and rumors based on what works for other scratched surfaces. However, proper sunglasses are much more delicate since you need to see clearly through them and maintain their protective effect.

Now, there are cases where these takes on how to remove sunglasses may be viable options. For example, if you have a pair of badly scratched sunglasses that you really want to keep for their looks.

The main problem with most methods is that they render the lens coating useless or strip it completely. Plus, they’re likely to ruin prescription sunglasses and polarized lenses. So, think twice and proceed at your own risk.

In essence, all methods of how to remove scratches from sunglasses revolve around rubbing some kind of solution onto the lenses. It’s only the abrasiveness that varies.

Common less-than-gentle suggestions include sunscreen, glass etching, and various harsh cleaning agents. They’ll probably remove the scratches, but everything protective or corrective will also be gone. So, the glasses will only be decorative.

Not only do they lose their properties, but they also have the opposite effect afterward. A non-UV-treated dark lens over your eye will dilate the pupil, where a naked eye would contract to protect itself. That’s a recipe for eye damage, and so is using prescription glasses with an altered finish.

Another common and downright bad way how to remove scratches from sunglasses is by using wax meant for cars or furniture. While it’ll cover scratches, you won’t see well through a pair of waxy lenses. What’s more, caked wax inside the scratches will create visible lines in your field of vision when you wear them.

The Bottom Line

Now you know how to remove scratches from sunglasses. It’s a straightforward and inexpensive process. However, far from all scratches are fixable.

If you have deep scratches in your lenses, it’s best to get new sunglasses. Otherwise, you may jeopardize both your eyesight and your looks.


Featured Image Provided by Pexels

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