How to Clean Oakley Sunglasses




We’ve worn sunglasses with polarized and anti reflective coatings for three decades.  In that time, we got advice from several optometrists about how best to clean them.  How to clean Oakley sunglasses is easy, once you learn how to safely handle them.  You also need to know which cleaners work the most gently and safely, and which cleaning cloths scratch the least.  All of these are essential factors in keeping your sunglasses working best.  Cleaning retains the stylish, pristine look of these sunglasses for as long as possible.



Some people choose not to purchase sunglasses due to their higher cost; particularly the non prescription Oakleys.  But improvement in vision over non light attenuating glasses is quite noticeable.  There’s less “haze” from inside polarized lens reflections.  Plus, this optical tech will get even better over time.  So we learned how to clean ours well, rather than give up these great sunglasses altogether.

So given that, we’ve tried the popular dry lens cleaning cloths from Kodak and other vendors. They made these of a very thin, tissue-like paper. Plus, we also tried the costly liquid lens cleaners that work in concert with these.  But our success was only moderate.  Most often, this cleaning duo left smears and streaks on the lenses.  Besides, it hastened the buildup of micro fine scratches on our sunglasses lenses.

We talked with many doctors about increasing the life of our polarized sunglasses, and they all agreed.  The best cleaner to use is a   lotion-free, mild dishwashing liquid such as Great Value, Palmolive, Joy, or Ajax.  You may have to dilute the thicker liquids by mixing one part water with one part of dish soap.  Make the mixture thin enough that it can easily spread with the fingers over the entire lens surfaces.

However, avoid dish soaps that have lotions, oils, and lanolin for skin softening.  Why?  Because these can leave smears on your Oakleys, that not even the lens cleaning cloths can remove.

Also, avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive solvents on any polycarbonate lenses.  These include cleansers, polishes, ammonia, or bleach based cleaners.  Why?  Because these can actually strip the coatings completely away over time.  You want just a basic dishwashing-by-hand liquid with preferably no extra chemicals in it besides the soap.

Then, once you’ve washed and rinsed your sunglasses, use a microfiber cloth, specifically intended for safely cleaning eyeglass lenses.  You can get these at most any place that sells sunglasses.  Try stores like Walmart, Pearl, Lens Crafters, Sam’s Club, et al.

Use this cloth, only to dry the rinsed lenses; not for cleaning them.  For lens washing, you gently rub the soaped up sunglasses with your fingers.  Avoid excessive rubbing, as this too can prematurely wear out the AR coatings.



How to clean Oakley sunglasses. Picture of Soft sunglasses lens cleaning cloths.
How to clean Oakley sunglasses. Examples of soft sunglasses lens cleaning cloths.

Be sure to use a clean, soft, lint free lens cloth.  Any oil in the cloths can spread to your clean sunglass lenses as you dry them. This adds smears, which lowers their overall performance.  Or, oils might forever degrade them.  Fortunately today, sunglasses lenses are more durable, and generally last longer under most wearing conditions.  But don’t think that they’re indestructible.

Anti glare and polarization coatings on many sunglasses are quite fragile.  So,  you can easily scratch them, should you get industrial lubes or solvents on them.  So be careful.



How to Clean Oakley Sunglasses

To sum all this up, here’s our tried-and-true procedure to clean Oakley sunglasses.

1. Apply Water

Wet the sunglasses with clean water.  Use filtered or softened water if you live in a hard-water area. This prevents suspended particles in the water from scratching your lenses.

2. Apply Dish Soap

Then, onto each lens, place one or two drops of dishwashing liquid; the manual kind, not that for automatic dishwashers.

3. Softly Scrub Lens Fronts

Next, gently rub the sunglasses surfaces with your fingers, taking care not to press too hard.  Also, get rid of any callouses, scabs, dry skin, or other rough edges on your fingertips.  These can mar the micron-thin lens coatings.

4. Clean Lens Back Sides Then

The soap you have on your fingers from the first sides should be sufficient to clean the other sides.

5. Clean Nose and Temple Frame Pieces

Also, rub clean the nose rests and the entire frames of your sunglasses.  You want to remove all the body oils from them, including the frames, ear pieces, nose pieces, and temple wings.

6. Rinse Soap Off

Rinse under warm, running water until the lens surfaces squeak when running your fingers across them.

7. Dry the Sunglasses

Then, use the microfiber lens cloths mentioned above to completely dry your eyeglasses to a vivid shine.

8. Finally, Inspect your Oakley Sunglasses

Best done in bright sunlight, verify that you’ve removed all the dirt and oils from your sunglasses.  You’ll know that you’ve cleaned them well, when they show no smears or dirt or lint specs in the sunshine.




How to Clean Oakley Sunglasses: Cleaning Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

We wash our lens cloths along with shirts in the washing machine once a month. This gets out any granular dirt that can scratch.  Regular cleaning also removes  oils that can smear the lenses.  Sunglass lenses brightly show even the smallest of smears.  So to minimize smearing, get your lenses squeaky clean.

As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to Oakley sunglasses.  So to preserve their peak performance, avoid getting them very dirty in the first place. Or at least, minimize how dirty you get them.  Avoid solvents like turpentine or citrus-based cleaners, or any harsh chemicals. These can quickly ruin the clear consistency of these lenses.

True, you’ll always have some body oil on glasses that are worn every day.  But even when you employ the procedure above for the gentlest cleaning, cleaning operations still stress the lenses.  Too much cleaning can damage them.  So, wear and store your sunglasses such that they need minimal cleaning.  Keep ’em clean in the first place.  But for those times when you must clean them, use the routine above.  With it, you’ll get the least damaging yet best cleaning of your delicate Oakley lenses.



How to Clean Oakley Sunglasses: Related Posts

How to Clean Oakley Sunglasses: References

Revision History

  • 2018-04-13: Added the Related Posts section.
  • 2017-03-14: Originally published this post.