How To Clean Foggy Sunglasses? Causes -Prevention – Best Ways [2023]

Sunglasses getting fogged up can be a huge nuisance. Whether you’re driving, running, or just trying to enjoy the outdoors, foggy lenses block your vision and can be downright dangerous. Fortunately, with the right techniques, you can learn how to clean foggy sunglasses and restore crystal clear vision.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about keeping your shades fog-free and clean, from proper cleaning methods to handy anti-fogging products. We’ll discuss common causes of foggy sunglasses and prevention tips. We’ll also provide actionable solutions to clean every type of lens material safely and effectively.

By the end, you’ll have expert knowledge on how to clean foggy sunglasses. Let’s get started!

What Causes Sunglasses to Fog Up?

Topics Covered In This Article

Before learning how to clean foggy sunglasses, it’s helpful to understand what causes fogging in the first place. Here are the main culprits:

1. Temperature Changes

Fog forms when there is a difference in temperature between the inner and outer lens surfaces. Typically, the inside of the lens is warmer from your body heat. When you go from a warm indoor setting to cooler outdoor air, the temperature shift causes condensation.

2. Humid Conditions

Areas with high humidity cause water vapor to accumulate on the lenses more easily. The moisture condenses due to temperature differences between your sunglasses and the air.

3. Heavy Breathing

Your exhaled breath contains water vapor that can condense on the inside of the lenses. This is common during intense physical activity like running.

4. Scratches and Damage

Scratches, chips, or damage to the lenses make them more prone to fogging. The imperfections provide additional surface area for moisture to cling to.

5. Poor Fit

If your sunglasses don’t fit right, gaps around the frames allow airflow that causes fogging. Make sure your shades fit snugly on your face.

6. Lack of Anti-Fog Coating

Most quality sunglasses have a protective anti-fog coating on the lenses. Over time this coating can wear off, making the lenses more prone to fog.

How to Clean Foggy Sunglasses Lenses

Now that you know what causes foggy sunglasses, let’s go over proven cleaning methods. But first, a few general tips:

Cleaning Tips

  • Rinse lenses under lukewarm water before cleaning to wash away dirt and dust. This prevents scratches.
  • Gently rub the lenses in circular motions using microfiber cloths or soft, lint-free materials. Avoid abrasive wiping.
  • Pat dry lenses with a microfiber cloth instead of rubbing to prevent scratches. Don’t use paper towels or tissues.
  • Avoid using excessive pressure when cleaning to prevent scratches.
  • Work over a soft surface like a towel in case you drop your sunglasses.

1. Water and Mild Soap

For routine cleaning, use a mix of lukewarm water and a small amount of mild dish or hand soap. Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo also works well.

  1. Dip the corner of a soft microfiber cloth in the solution and gently wipe down lenses.
  2. Rinse the lenses under cool water to remove any soapy residue.
  3. Pat dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.

This simple method lifts away dirt, grime, skin oils, and other buildup leaving lenses clean and fog-free.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

For a deeper clean, use a 50/50 solution of water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol.

  1. Wet a microfiber cloth with the solution and wipe down lenses thoroughly.
  2. Rinse off all alcohol residue under cool water.
  3. Air dry or pat dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

The alcohol solution cuts through oil, grease, and sticky grime that water alone can’t remove. It also sanitizes the lenses.

3. Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is another natural cleaning option for removing stubborn fogging.

  1. Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Mist lenses and wipe clean with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Rinse lenses thoroughly with cool water to remove vinegar odor and residue.
  4. Air dry or pat dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.

The acetic acid in vinegar works to lift away tough dirt and grease. It also has antibacterial properties to disinfect.

4. Baking Soda

For a deeper cleaning scrub, baking soda can lift away built-up grime.

  1. Make a paste with equal parts baking soda and water.
  2. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, gently scrub lenses with paste focusing on foggy areas.
  3. Rinse lenses thoroughly with cool water.
  4. Air dry or pat dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

The fine abrasiveness of baking soda works to polish away stuck-on dirt and oil leaving lenses crystal clear.

5. Toothpaste

Like baking soda, some whitening toothpastes contain mild abrasives that can polish away stubborn fogging grime.

  1. Put a small dab of whitening toothpaste on a soft cloth.
  2. Gently rub the toothpaste onto lenses using circular motions.
  3. Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
  4. Air dry or pat dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

Avoid gel toothpastes which can leave behind a sticky residue. Test toothpaste on a small area first.

6. Eyeglass Cleaning Spray

Special eyeglass cleaning sprays are formulated to cut through oil, grease, and grime on lenses. Popular brand names include Zeiss, Hilco, and Duo.

  • Spray directly onto both sides of lenses.
  • Use a lint-free microfiber cloth to gently wipe clean.
  • Buff dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.

Follow instructions based on the specific brand you use. The alcohol and detergent solutions work to dissolve stuck-on buildup.

7. Eyeglass Wipes

Pre-moistened eyeglass wipes provide a convenient on-the-go way to clean lenses. Brands like Zeiss and Hilco make individually wrapped wipes that easily tuck into a pocket or bag.

  • Wipe down lenses with a single wipe using a gentle circular motion.
  • Use a dry section of the wipe or dry microfiber cloth to buff away any streaks or excess liquid.

The alcohol-based wipe solutions sanitize lenses while dissolving oil, dirt, and grime buildup.

How to Clean Different Lens Materials

Lens material is also a factor when it comes to proper cleaning methods. Here’s how to safely clean the most common lens types:

Plastic Lenses

Plastic lenses like polycarbonate and CR-39 are scratch resistant and respond well to most cleaning solutions.

  1. Use mild dish soap and water, isopropyl alcohol, vinegar, and cleaning sprays.
  2. Gently rub lenses with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Avoid using abrasive scrubs which can damage the plastic over time.

Glass Lenses

Glass lenses lack scratch resistance so require gentle cleaning.

  1. Use mild dish soap and water or alcohol-based cleaners.
  2. Gently wipe lenses in circular motions with a soft microfiber cloth.
  3. Avoid abrasive pastes or scrubs which can permanently scratch glass.

Coated Lenses

Special coatings like anti-reflective, mirrored, and polarized add extra scratch vulnerability.

  1. Use a lens cleaner specifically designed for coated lenses. Popular brands include Zeiss, Hilco Optyl.
  2. Spray cleaner onto microfiber cloth first before wiping down lenses.
  3. Use minimal pressure and avoid abrasives when cleaning.

How to Apply Anti-Fog Solutions

Applying specialty anti-fog products is the best way to prevent lenses from fogging up in the first place. Here are some top options:

1. Cat Crap Anti-Fog Paste

This strange-sounding paste (don’t worry, it’s not real cat crap) uses advanced hydrophilic technology to prevent fogging.

  1. Apply a thin coat of Cat Crap to clean lenses using included applicator sponge.
  2. Rub into lenses using a circular motion.
  3. Let dry fully before wearing sunglasses.
  4. Reapply as needed after cleaning lenses.

The formula prevents moisture from beading up which inhibits fog. It’s safe for all lens materials.

2. Spit Anti-Fog Spray

Don’t let the name turn you off. Spit Anti-Fog Spray doesn’t contain real spit. The alcohol-based solution applies an invisible hydrophilic coating.

  1. Spray a light mist onto clean lenses.
  2. Gently wipe with a microfiber cloth to evenly distribute.
  3. Let fully dry before wearing.
  4. Reapply after cleaning lenses.

The non-toxic spray provides long-lasting fog protection for all lens types.

3. Rain-X Anti-Fog Wipes

Rain-X makes anti-fog wipes infused with isopropyl alcohol and dimethicone to repel moisture.

  1. Use a single wipe on clean, dry lenses.
  2. Let dry fully before wearing sunglasses.
  3. Reapply as needed.

The wipes create a fog-free barrier that lasts through wet conditions.

4. FogTech DX Anti-Fog Cloths

These anti-fog cloths use advanced science to prevent moisture from clouding lenses.

  1. Wipe clean dry lenses with single use cloth.
  2. Let dry fully before wearing.
  3. Reapply as needed after cleaning lenses.

The cloths provide long-lasting fog protection for all lens materials.

How to Defog Sunglasses Quickly

Even with proper cleaning methods, sunglasses can still get fogged up in certain environments. Here are quick tricks to defog your shades when needed:

1. Remove and Shake

Simply remove your foggy sunglasses and give them a quick shake to dissipate some of the moisture. This temporarily clears lenses for a brief period.

2. Lens Wipes

Keep a pack of disposable anti-fog lens wipes in your car or bag. When lenses fog up, give them a quick wipe down to restore clarity on the go.

3. Lens Cleaner Spray

Carry a small bottle of instant anti-fog lens cleaner. Just spray and wipe away fog whenever it strikes. Popular options include Optx 20/20 and Hilco Optyl.

4. Breath Defog

Fog up the inside of lenses with your breath, then wipe away using a soft clean cloth. The heat from your breath helps lift away condensation.

5. Tissue Blot

Blot foggy areas with a dry soft tissue. Avoid rubbing which can scratch lenses. The tissue will help absorb excess moisture.

6. Cold Air Defog

Remove your sunglasses and face them toward an air conditioning vent. The cold air will help dissipate the fog. Just don’t hold too close!

How to Prevent Sunglasses From Fogging Up

Here are tips to stop sunglasses from fogging up in the future:

1. Use Anti-Fog Coated Lenses

Invest in sunglasses with quality anti-fog lens coatings which prevent moisture buildup. Reapply coatings as needed.

2. Choose Wrap-Around Frames

Curved wrap-around frames block airflow to the lenses which reduces fogging. Close-fitting designs also prevent fog.

2. Adjust Nose Pads

Make sure nose pads rest snugly against your nose to close airflow gaps. Adjust or replace ill-fitting pads.

3. Clean Lenses Regularly

Dirt, oil residue, and scratches make lenses more prone to fogging up. Keep them clean using proper methods.

4. Use a Neck Strap or Band

Straps keep your sunglasses firmly against your face preventing airflow that causes fog.

5. Carry Anti-Fog Products

Keep anti-fog wipes, sprays, or cloths handy in your car, bag or pocket for anytime fog relief.

6. Avoid Temperature Extremes

Try not to go straight from an air conditioned space into hot, humid outdoor air which causes lenses to fog up. Allow time to adjust.

Watch Your Breathing

Try to breathe downward when doing strenuous exercise to prevent exhaled breath from fogging up the lenses.

What is Best Way To Clean Foggy Sunglasses?

If I had to choose just one method for cleaning foggy sunglasses, I would recommend using a high-quality anti-fog spray. An anti-fog spray is the best way to both clean foggy lenses and prevent future fogging.

Look for a spray made specifically for eyeglasses, such as Optx 20/20 or Hilco Optyl. The alcohol-based formula will cut through grease and grime while depositing an invisible anti-fog coating.

To use, simply spray a light mist onto clean, dry lenses. Then use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe the lenses clean. Buff lightly to evenly distribute the coating. Let the lenses dry fully before wearing to prevent streaks.

The anti-fog spray will leave a transparent coating that prevents water vapor from building up and fogging the lenses. Reapply after cleaning or as needed when lenses start fogging up again.

An effective anti-fog spray cleans, defogs, and prevents lenses from fogging up in the future. For clean, clear sunglasses, it’s the one method I’d recommend above all others.

FAQs About Cleaning Foggy Sunglasses

Still have some lingering questions about keeping your shades fog-free? Here are answers to common FAQs:

Is spit really effective for defogging sunglasses?

Though spit contains anti-fog properties, it’s not the most hygienic method. Breathing on lenses and wiping down with a clean cloth works better. Or use a commercial anti-fog spray.

Can I use Windex or window cleaner on my sunglasses?

Avoid household cleaners like Windex which can damage lens coatings. Use a proper eyeglass cleaning solution designed for lenses.

How do I clean polarized or mirrored lens sunglasses?

Use a microfiber cloth with warm water or eyeglass cleaning solution. Gently wipe lenses using minimal pressure to avoid scratching delicate coatings.

How often should I clean my sunglasses?

Clean lenses regularly before and after each use. Frequent cleaning prevents buildup of dirt, oil, and grime that causes fogging.

What’s the best way to dry lenses after cleaning?

Air drying is best to prevent scratching from friction. Or use a clean microfiber cloth and gently pat lenses instead of rubbing to dry.

Can I use hand sanitizer on my sunglasses?

Avoid hand sanitizers which can degrade anti-reflective and other specialty lens coatings. Use a proper eyeglass cleaning solution.

Will washing sunglasses in the dishwasher damage them?

Never put sunglasses in the dishwasher! The heat, detergent, and water pressure will likely ruin them. Always hand wash using gentle cleaning methods.

How do I stop sunglasses from fogging up when wearing a face mask?

Use an anti-fog spray or wipe on the lenses. Position your mask under the nose pads to close airflow gaps. Buy a mask with a nose wire for a tighter seal.


Hopefully this guide provided you with extensive knowledge on how to clean foggy sunglasses using proper techniques for all lens types. The key takeaways are:

  • Use mild soap and water, alcohol, vinegar or specialized sprays when cleaning lenses. Avoid abrasives.
  • Gently wipe lenses with microfiber cloths using minimal pressure to prevent scratches.
  • Apply anti-fog sprays or wipes before wearing to prevent moisture from building up and clouding vision.
  • Defog lenses on the go by breathing on them, using wipes or sprays, or dissipating fog with cold air.
  • Keep lenses clean and buy sunglasses with anti-fog lens coatings to minimize fogging.

With the right methods and products, you can banish annoying foggy sunglasses for good. Have a clear outlook!

Also Read: 

4 Ways to Do DIY Anti Fog Glasses
Robert Perry

Robert Perry is a leading expert in the world of eyewear. His wealth of experience and unique insight in the realm of gaming glasses, swimming goggles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, and computer glasses has set him apart in the industry.

A keen observer of daily fashion styles and the utility of glasses in various lifestyles, Perry is passionate about empowering individuals with knowledge on eyewear selection. He is known for his thorough, clear, and relatable analysis, making it easier for readers to find the perfect glasses for their specific needs.

Perry’s writings consistently reflect his understanding of both function and fashion, affirming his position as an influential figure in the eyewear community.