How to Remove Scratches from Polarized Sunglasses
“I wish I could go out in the sun with all my friends, but my sunglasses are scratched.” Don’t let this happen to you.
Sunglasses do two very important things:
- Protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.
- Make you look cool.
Unfortunately, one very simple problem is enough to keep them from doing both.
If your sunglasses get scratched, they won’t look cool anymore.
If they don’t look cool, you won’t wear them, and your eyes will go unprotected.
So, if you’ve recently suffered the unthinkable, let’s talk about how you can get rid of scratches on your sunglasses.
Is It Possible to Remove Scratches from Sunglasses?
But first, I want to be upfront with you right from the beginning.
If we’re talking about a major scratch on your sunglasses that actually reaches to the lens – not just any the coating on top of it – there’s not a whole lot you can do about it.
I’ve reviewed a couple options below that many claim have been successful for these kinds of severe scratches, but I want to warn you ahead of time not to get your hopes too high.
For very slight scratches, some of the other suggestions below may be a lot more helpful. They won’t actually get rid of any scratches, but they may fill them in enough that they’re less noticeable.
Can You Fix Scratched Polarized Sunglasses?
This is another very popular question because so many people depend on polarized sunglasses to keep glare at bay, especially during some of their favorite outdoor activities. A simple scratch can be enough to cut through the polarized material that covers the actual lens, though.
Assuming it’s minimal, you can try fixing the scratch on your polarized sunglasses by using the steps we cover next.
Otherwise, you probably need to…
Consider Replacing Your Sunglasses' Lens
While it’s worth reading the advice below (please! This took me a long time), in many cases, your best bet may simply be replacing the lens. You can check the manufacturer’s website to see if that’s an option.
Sometimes, it’s not.
In that case, try Googling the brand and “replacement lenses” to see if any third-party sites sell acceptable alternatives.
9 Popular to Remove Scratches from Sunglasses
Alright, let’s say the manufacturer of your sunglasses refuses to provide you with replacement lenses (jerks).
Or maybe it’s just an emergency. The sun is coming up soon and you’re in no mood to face it (hungover) without the help of your formerly-reliable sunglasses.
Well, the Internet offers nine popular methods for getting scratches out of your sunglasses, but – and you’re never going to believe this – the Internet isn’t always right. Many of the same people who are now sunglass-scratch experts were literally eating Tide pods like a year ago.
So, let’s go through each of these popular methods and see if any of them are reliable.
1. Try a Professional Product
Alright, before we dive into the home remedies and secret solutions handed down by generations of scratched-lens menders, let’s start with the basics.
There are products on the market that claim to fix scratched lenses.
Are they actually effective?
I honestly don’t know.
But if you’re curious, here are some fairly cheap options that may fix your shades:
- Novus PC-20 2 Plastic Fine Scratch Remover - 8 Oz
- Lens Buff Eyeglass Scratch Remover
- Sumner Laboratories 23305 210 Plus Plastic Scratch Remover Cleaner and Polish, 15 fl. oz.
Again, try them at your own risk, but if your lenses are already scratched, you’re only risking about $10-$15.
2. Attack the Scratch with Sandpaper
With that out of the way, let’s jump into some exciting home remedies.
Although sandpaper is traditionally used to make wooden surfaces smooth to the touch, it turns out you can also use it for a number of other purposes – namely, removing scratches from other materials.
I’ve also heard of people using it to take scuffs out of their hardwood floors and even to take the scratches out of their cars. The idea is that you use the sandpaper to wear down the surrounding material enough that it eventually becomes flush with the scratch.
But does this witchcraft work with scratched sunglasses?
Here’s the thing. In theory, you could use sandpaper to wear the lens down enough that, much like with hardwood floors, it becomes flush with the scratch.
The problem – or, at least, the obvious one – is that you’re probably going to scratch up the rest of the lens a whole lot more in the process. So, it’s like trying to get red wine out of your carpet by just dumping more on top of it. No one will notice the original stain, but also…you have a much bigger stain (plus, you just wasted all that wine).
Similarly, you’re probably going to do way more harm than good if you take sandpaper to your sunglasses in order to remove a scratch.
The other problem – in case you needed one – is that, if your lenses are polarized (and they totally should be), you could scratch that effect right off your lens. So, now you have more scratches and less protection from glare.
In conclusion, if you’ve scratched your sunglasses and your friend tells you to get rid of the damage by using sandpaper, use the sandpaper on them.
They are not your friend.
They hate you.
3. Use Brass or Silver Polish
Another tactic that makes the rounds on the World Wide Web is using polish to take care of the scratch on your sunglasses. For most lenses, you’d use silver polish. For lenses with a brown tint, you’d go with brass polish.
As opposed to the sandpaper tactic, where you viciously attack modify the area around the scratch, the idea behind this approach is that you’re making it flush by filling it in.
Does this work?
I’ve heard mixed reviews from people, but it’s really only an option if you have mirrored lenses on your sunglasses and the scratch is so minor that it only affects the coating. In that case, you may be able to fill it in enough that it’s no longer visible.
Unfortunately, if the scratch is deep enough that it goes through the coating and reaches the lens, no amount of polish will get the job done.
4. Apply Car Wax
Car wax is great for making your vehicle nice and shiny, but you know what it doesn’t do remotely well?
Remove any scrapes or scratches it might have suffered.
So, I’m not entirely sure how the rumor got started that car wax is actually great for removing scratches from sunglasses.
The best theory I know of is that, like polish, it will fill in the scratch. Just like polish, this may be true for minor scratches, but it’s only going to hide them. As the wearer, you’ll still notice the scratch. Because, you know, it’ll be about a centimeter from your eye.
Nonetheless, if you’re only worried about the aesthetics of your sunglasses, go ahead and give car wax a try. Just be sure you use a lint-free cloth when you apply it. Otherwise, you might scratch your lenses even more, which I probably don’t have to tell you would defeat the purpose.
5. Give it a Coat of Furniture Spray
Long story short: this method is no more effective than the last one.
In fact, it probably won’t last as long as using wax. The spray will eventually seep out of the scratch and you’ll be right back to where you started.
Except, your sunglasses may now smell like lemon, depending on your furniture-spray preferences.
And, whatever. Maybe you’d like having lemon-smelling sunglasses.
In any case, if you already have some furniture polish on hand, you might as well give it a try. Spray into the scratch on your lens, use that lint-free cloth to rub it in, and then wipe the excess away.
If nothing else, this quick test will tell you how deep the scratch is. Once you wipe the spray away, can you still see it? Then, it’s probably deeper than the coating and into the actual lens. Furniture polish won’t do the trick.
6. Brush the Scratch with Certain Types of Toothpaste
Another popular potential solution to addressing scratched sunglasses is using toothpaste. According to a lot of people online – always a reliable source – toothpaste isn’t just good for getting rid of plaque. It may also get rid of scratches, too.
Now, you have to be careful about what kinds of toothpaste you choose. Steer clear of any gels or whitening toothpastes. Many other types are too abrasive and will end up doing more harm than good. You can check your toothpaste’s RDA (Radioactive Dentin Abrasiveness) to see if abrasions will be an issue. Anything below 70 should be good. Here are some options:
- Arm & Hammer Dental Care
- Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Enamel Repair
- Rembrandt Toothpaste Intense Stain
And, worst case scenario, if these don’t fix your sunglasses, well, you still need toothpaste.
The strategy with toothpaste seems to be the same one we keep covering. Put a small amount on a lint-free cloth and massage it into the scratch until you can no longer see it. Then, rinse away the residue.
As you probably guessed, this will only work for minor abrasions.
7. Go for Baking Soda
Is there anything baking soda can’t do?
According to many people, you can now add “removing scratches from sunglasses” to that long list of things baking soda is apparently able to make better.
But does it actually get the job done?
By now, you’re probably familiar with how this works.
Yes, it turns out that baking soda may be effective at filling in very minor, surface-level scratches on your sunglasses.
…annnnnd that’s about it. Don’t expect a whole lot more.
You can also mix baking soda with toothpaste, which some people claim will get you an even better result. I’d recommend you try baking soda by itself first, though. There’s no risk of abrasion, so it can’t possibly make matters worse.
8. Give Your Sunglasses Some Sunscreen
Fun fact: did you know your eyes can get sunburnt?
…not really a fun fact, I guess…more like a horrifying one.
Anyway, one more reason UV400 sunglasses are so important. They’re like sunscreen for your eyes.
And speaking of sunscreen and sunglasses, it turns out the former may help fix the latter if it’s been scratched.
There are a couple of caveats, though.
First, sunscreen will only work on shades with mirrored lenses.
Second – and not surprisingly – the scratch has to go no deeper than that first mirrored coating.
Third, the sunscreen will pretty much remove that coating, so you’ll get rid of the scratch, but you’ll lose the mirrored effect, too. If you do decide to go this route, you can’t just do a spot treatment, or you’ll have mirrored lenses with very noticeable exceptions.
9. Try Some Glass-Etching Cream
Finally, if all else fails, you may want to consider purchasing some glass-etching cream.
Now, despite its name, you shouldn’t actually use this product on glass lenses. It’s only for plastic shades that have a coating. Similar to sunscreen, the glass etching cream will actually remove that coating along with the scratch thanks to an ingredient known as “hydrofluoric acid.”
So, just like with sunscreen, you’ll have to apply it to the entirety of both lenses if you want a uniform look.
A Better Option: Don't Worry So Much About Scratches on Your Sunglasses
As you can see, there’s no surefire solution for getting rid of scratches on your sunglasses.
At best, you might be able to fix minor scratches that didn’t get any deeper than the coating. Even then, the scratch didn’t actually disappear. You’ve just hidden it.
And yet, we all know scratches are going to happen. Unless you put your sunglasses on for a fun-filled day of sitting still indoors, there’s a good chance that they’ll eventually take some damage.
But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.
One of the reasons I started Runners Athletics was to make sunglasses that were functional, stylish, and affordable. They’re great shades, but if you do happen to crack or scratch a lens, you’re not out hundreds of dollars.
So, once you’re done smearing polish, toothpaste, or whatever else all over your lenses, check out our selection of polarized UV sunglasses. They don’t cost a fortune, but you’ll still look like a million bucks.