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How To Properly Clean Cycling Sunglasses

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Cycling glasses are exposed to sweat, sunscreen and dirt which can make them very dirty. Cleaning your sunglasses is not just about making sure they’re pretty; it’s also about making sure they’re safe to wear.

You should store the lenses in their case when not being used so that dust doesn’t build up inside of each frame. Use dishwashing detergent or even a baby wipe for better results than soap and water alone because this will leave streaks behind. Clean with microfiber cloth before using soap and water as well.

How To Clean Your Cycling Glasses

Choosing the right cleaning solution is essential to keeping your cycling glasses clean and in good condition, as well as prolonging their lifespan.

  1. Clean your hands and the area you’ll be cleaning the glasses. Clean hands are less likely to have something on them to scratch the glasses as you clean them.
  2. Rinse your glasses under warm water to wash off the worst of the dirt. Let the tap water remove dirt as much as possible in this stage.
  3. Apply a small amount of the liquid cleaner (even dish soap) onto a soft cloth or paper towel. A microfiber is the best if you have it.
  4. Rub the cleaner over the lenses of your cycling glasses using circular motions, being careful not to press too hard on the frame or lens. There can be enough dirt at times that pressing hard could scratch the lenses.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry with another soft cloth or paper towel.

It really is that simple.

You may wondering why you can’t just use any old rag or even your t-shirt to clean them off. In a pinch it’ll work but it could potentially scratch your glasses.

There are one big reason why you want to use a clean soft towel and not an old rag or your shirt:

Clean towels won’t have any grit on them. It’s the grit that is the real issue since it could scratch up your lenses. That’s the same reason why you don’t want to use your shirt that you have been riding in. You get a lot of dirt and grit kicked up while riding so your shirt won’t be nearly as clean as you think, and that is using your shirt could scratch the lenses.

There are tons of eyeglass cleaning solutions and detergent you can use and a vast majority are perfectly fine to use.  I use the Koala Spray Kit from Amazon myself but as long as it’s made for lenses of any kind it should be fine.

So keeping a little bottle of solution and a towel in your backpack is the easiest way to be prepared.

A little icing on the cake, but at this point I use my anti-fog wipes on the clean glasses to prevent fog from happening while I’m out riding. You’ll need to re-treat them after a good cleaning and this is probably the easiest time.

How Often Should You Clean Your Cycling Glasses?

It is recommended to clean your cycling glasses at least once every week or when they seem dirty. Cleaning them with dirty is what it often is in the real world.

I personally clean them after every ride that are in dirty conditions such as on trails. If I’m cycling on the road I clean them as necessary.

As with most things, you’ll learn the frequency according to your riding. If you’re riding and you can see smears or grit on your cycling glasses you’re just going to clean them. Most times you’ll really end up cleaning them just before riding.

Quite often if you get mud splashed up on you, you’ll want to clean your glasses while it’s still wet as it becomes more difficult once it dries.

If you tend to bike more in the evening or when the sun is going down, you’ll notice it’s even harder to see with dirty glasses. Even the best clear cycling glasses need to be clean when you start riding at night or it’s going to be harder to see where you are going.

How Long Does It Take To Clean Cycling Glasses?

If you’re a cyclist, you need to clean your glasses on a regular basis. The question I get sometimes is how long does it take to clean cycling glasses.

The process of cleaning cycling glasses is not difficult. If you follow my clean steps above, it takes perhaps 2-3 minutes on average for a normal cleaning, and up to 10 minutes if they are really cake in dirt and mud.

Of course, those numbers are not in just cleaning the lenses, but also in cleaning the frames and in the hinges. How clean glasses are when you are done really depends on how much time you want to put in. At the least I could clean the lenses and the basic frame after every ride.

How To Prevent The Buildup Of Grime On Your Cycling Sunglasses

One of the most common complaints among cyclists is that their glasses get dirty easily and need to be cleaned often.

The dirt and grime can build up on your cycling glasses, making them hard to see through and generally more difficult to use.

Unfortunately (and I hate to say this) there is nothing you can really do to keep dirt and grime from getting on your sunglasses. However, the cleaner your cycling sunglasses are, the harder it is for dirt to build up.

By that, I mean that new dirt will stick to dirt and grime already on your glasses easier than it will sticking to clean lenses. It’s not much, but sunglasses just have to be cleaned when they are dirty.

Do Cycling Glasses Have Scratch Resistance So You Can Clean Them Without Causing Damage?

Scratch resistance is the ability of a material to resist damage from scratching. The most common way this can happen is when something rubs against the material and leaves a mark by scoring either the lenses or the coating on the lenses.

The scratch resistance of cycling glasses depends on the lens material, coating and how much pressure is applied.

Cycling glasses are made for outdoor sports so they need to be durable. Scratch resistant lenses are essential in this case as they help protect the lenses from scratches and keep them looking new for longer.

Luckily, when you pick the best cycling glasses they often come with these scratch resistant lenses so this isn’t really an issue.

In fact, many of the most recommended ones come with at least a decent level of scratch resistance that works very well as long as you clean your glasses as needed. Most of these same things apply if you wear your regular eyeglasses and you need to clean the eyewear after a dirty ride.

About the Author

Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed