How to care for sunglasses: stop rubbing them on your shirt and wearing them like a headband | Accessories
In November last year, Joan Didion’s Celine sunglasses were sold at auction for US$27,000. The author’s known love of oversized frames made the pair a collector’s item, but it made me wonder how well she took care of them.
Especially since my (not famous) sunglasses are often thrown into my purse or bag without a case, dropped on the floor, left out on cafe tables and just generally left to fend for themselves on the beach and in the car care.
If that makes you shake your head in fear for their well-being, according to the sunglass designer, optician and repair team I spoke to this week, you’re right. Here are their suggestions for the correct way to care for your sunglasses.
Handle with care
Unfortunately for your sunglasses, once the lenses are scratched, short of replacing them completely, there is very little you can do to reverse the damage. Online advice may present baking soda as a magic solution, but licensed optometrist Ricky Lim is quick to debunk these claims. “It will ruin the lenses and you won’t be able to see clearly after trying,” he says.
This means that if you want to enjoy wearing your sunglasses for a long time, you need to be vigilant in protecting them from surfaces or situations (such as being loose in your handbag) that could scratch them.
Leave [your glasses] on the dash of your car can warp your frames and damage your lenses Sydney Seggie
The next thing to consider is to avoid anything that could harm the frame. For example, while wearing them, you should never put them on top of your head. Lim, who also repairs and makes glasses, says doing so can distort the shape of the frame and will loosen it over time.
“Also make sure you use two hands when putting your sunglasses on or taking them off your face,” he says. “By using one hand there is uneven pressure on the sunglasses arms and this can lead to the arms becoming loose.”
Put them somewhere safe
When you’re not wearing your sunglasses, a case is mandatory if you want to protect the lenses from scratches, says Sydney Seggie, co-founder of eyewear brand Fellow Earthlings. “It’s best to never put your frames without one in your pocket or purse.”
A good case is non-optional if you intend to keep your sunnies in your bag or pocket. Photo: Firuz Mukhtarov/Getty Images/iStockphoto
If you do put them down, Sunglass Fix’s Kristy Gabriel suggests keeping the arms wide open to prevent scratches, with the bottom of the lenses facing up — “and not in contact with the area they’re placed on.”
Sun and high heat can also cause damage, says Seggie. “If you leave it on the dash of your car, it can warp your frames and damage your lenses.”
Wash and wipe
While it may be tempting to use whatever you have on hand to clean your lenses, Gabriel says you should really just use a microfiber cloth. She warns against especially paper products such as towels and tissues. “No matter how soft it may feel, it’s actually quite rough, with lots of abrasive fibers and lint that will likely scratch your lenses. Your pants, shorts or other clothing can also cause scratches.”
Alcohol wipes should also be avoided, as “the solvents in them will damage your frames as well as any delicate lens coatings”, says Gabriel.
Also, make sure you don’t wipe your lenses when they’re dry, as any small dust particles on the surface can cause scratches.
Seggie and Lim recommend rinsing your frames with water that is warm, but not hot. From there, “a bottle of high-quality lens cleaning spray and a microfiber cleaning cloth is your best bet to keep your lenses clean and bright,” says Seggie.
Or if they’re really dirty, Lim suggests taking them to a professional for a deep cleaning in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Organize an essay An optical screwdriver can tighten the screws on eyeglass frames. Photo: Pavel Gusev/Getty Images/iStockphoto
If the screws on your frames are a little loose, you can buy an optical screwdriver and tighten the screws on the frames yourself. For bent frames, the best thing to do is to “take them to an optical shop so they can be assessed and adjusted accordingly”, says Lim.
Scratched lenses can also be replaced by a professional if you are so inclined. It is even possible to change the color or shade to give your sunglasses a different feel.