Sunday Classic / How to Keep Your Polarized Sunglasses Like Brand New

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Looking to find a better way to keep your sunglasses functioning like new? Photo By: Louis Cahill

Look out micro-fiber cloths, there’s a new player in town

My polarized sunglasses are a critical piece of equipment in my fly fishing and guiding. I depend on them for keeping my vision clear and crisp, so I can untangle knots quickly, spot fish effectively and make precise presentations on the water. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m constantly having to clean the lens on my sunglasses on and off the water to keep them functioning at their highest level. In the past, I’ve depended primarily on using micro-fiber cloths to clean my polarized sunglasses. These micro-fiber cloths work pretty well, but after a while, they get packed full of dirt and grime or get saturated on those wet days, and start losing their effectiveness. I’ve got some micro-fiber cloths now that really don’t clean all that well, even after I’ve taken the time to wash them. Plus, I’m always trying to find a place to stow them in a safe place that’s free of dirt and dust, like a zip-lock bag.

Recently, my parents turned me onto Zeiss Lens Cleaning Wipes. You can purchase them at your local Walmart or Pharmacy (Rite-Aid or CVS), from $3-10 depending on the size of the box. I’ve fallen in love with these individually wrapped pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes, that are safe to use on your sunglasses, camera lens and electronics. It takes just a few seconds to unwrap one of these pre-moistened wipes, and do a quick once over on the gear you need cleaned. Almost instantly, it dries 100%, leaving you with a super clean surface that looks brand new. These days, before I head out for a day on the water, I quickly clean my polarized sunglasses with them, and then throw three or four more in my shirt or jacket pocket in case I need them. If you fish in saltwater, you’ve probably noticed that when you get water on your sunglasses and they dry, there’s a salty residue left behind on the lens. This situation can be a real pain in the butt to deal with on the water, but you’ll no longer have to worry about it with these cleaning wipes. Give these affordable wipes a try and I’m confident you’ll be adding them to your packing list of must-haves for your next fly fishing or outdoor adventure. Furthermore, they’ll extend the life of your micro-fiber cloths.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline
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24 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / How to Keep Your Polarized Sunglasses Like Brand New

  1. I would check with the manufacture of the sun glasses before using the prepackaged moist lens wipes. Although they are meant to be used for camera lenses, they may not be safe to use on polarized lenses because the chemicals in the wipes may harm the polarized coating on the lens.

    • Agree, anytime you get something that dries almost instantly I’d use care…Chances are you using some type of alcohol.

      Here’s a tip from NASA…Joy soap and de-mineralized water removes dirt and oils and leaves no reside behind. It’s used on various spacecraft parts that need a residue free surface.

  2. I use something that’s a little cheaper and always available under your sink. A Cappy showed me this years ago in Key West. Just get a Kleenex or paper towel, take a spray bottle of Windex, spray both sides, it dries pretty quick. Put it in your pocket, and it’ll work all day even if offshore and the glasses get soaked with salt. Been using this for decades, and tell my clients ahead of time, everyone always has clean glasses.

  3. Not sure I want windex fumes in my eyes but I use a similar thing. The liquid that keeps the Zeiss wipes wet is alcohol. Regular old rubbing alcohol. So I have a small spray bottle I use along with my micro cloth and they work great. Run the micro cloth through the laundry every so often and they’re clean.

  4. Cheaper is definitely not better here. Paper products, especially paper towels, are not good for your precision lenses or glasses. The manufacturers say you should not use them, and for good reason. Kent’s solution is OK as a back-up, but involves trash to be carried to the off the water and disposed-of. Micro fiber cloth is still the best, even with the disadvantages that Kent points out. They weigh nothing, so you can carry 3 or 4 in a sandwich sized baggy or smaller or just keep an extra in your fly box. I have been collecting small cloths when available as giveaways and when I get new glasses or other devices. They last forever and can be washed with your clothes or easily in a sink at the end of the day. When on the road, I wash out my fleece gloves and fishing gloves every night. Hit the micro fiber cloths then and it will dry in minutes. Someone gave me a micro-fiber cloth that is attached to a leather holder on my vest. It works OK, but stays wet after use and is a pain to clean. I think carrying small micro cloths in a baggie works best in my experience.

    • I use Smith Optics Techlite which are scratch resistant and never had a scratch on them in years of use, and I clean 3-4 times a day guiding in heavy sultry, humid weather. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, however, if you have a study showing how tissue scratches lenses, I’d be happy to see it. I know one thing from my photography years, microfiber cloth requires cleaning as dust and other stuff gets trapped in the fibers. I scratched a cheap camera lens on microfiber years ago, then again, I wasn’t cleaning the cloth.

      • A scientific study on tissue use on polarized lenses? C’mon CPT Frank. Tissue may not be an issue, but it falls apart in my vest and is just as capable of getting gritty in my pocket as anything else. Paper towels are all over the place in composition. I used to use paper towels when I lived on salt water, but moved away from them more because of the availability and durability of micro-fiber cloth. However, I was specifically told by the optometry tech when I bought my latest pair of expensive, prescription, graduated lens polarized sunglasses last year to not ever use paper towels. They provided me with their own specific lens cleaner and told me to use only clean micro-fiber cloth. I assumed she was right but would be willing to listen to dissenting views. Micro-fiber cloth has become a frequent give-away at shows and with glasses, etc. For me it is the cheapest alternative and does not create litter to carry out. But everyone should do what works for them. I am just suggesting an alternative. If your paper towel method works for you why listen to me?

        • I try to offer suggestions on here that work for me as a guide in the salt, I do however try to keep the trash in my pocket. Use whatever works for you. If I did everything the manufacturers told me to do on my boat, I’d have to raise my rates, lol.

  5. I’ve used the Zeiss packages, and always have a few in my bag or pockets for those big cleaning jobs. Having said that, I too prefer the small microfiber cloths for regular lens cleaning. I purchased the Zeiss packets for optics as I always used Zeiss microscopes at work; they definately know lenses! Last time I checked, they produced all lenses for Panosonic cameras.

    I probably would have no problem using those packets on any optical glass, but I’d be tempted to check with several opticians before using them on optical plastics like many of the cheaper lenses out there; might be OK, or might not. If concerned about fumes, check with an optician. I get cleaning fluid from them all the time. Freshwater is usually not a huge deal – use the cloths, but the salt etc. in salt spray can be very abrasive, so be careful.

  6. I would avoid these on certain style of polarized glasses. Any polycarbonate or plastic lenses will scratch if their is grime on the lens and the wipe will just catch it the same as a cloth and scratch the lenses. I know, have a pair of prescription Costas that I scratched with the rag that comes with the glasses. Best thing is running water and dawn to clean your glasses, gets the oils and dirt off and the dawn will make a slick surface so water and dirt will just slide off on its own.

  7. Been using them for years on my Hassy lenses, Fit-overs, glasses and the magnifiers I clip on to my glasses. I especially like them for my clip-on magnifiers. It seems in the past I could never get the smudges off of them until now.
    I was always worried those micro fiber clothes were picking up grit from other sources and would scratch my lenses.

  8. Maybe this is helpful:

    Use lens cleaner only as recommended and needed. Polarized glasses are often expensive, so you may be tempted to skip paying for the lens cleaner. After all, can’t you just use dish soap or window cleaner? Especially when dealing with polarized lenses, the answer is no. •Commercial soaps, household cleaners, and especially window cleaners can contain chemicals that will slowly but surely dissolve the coating on your glasses. This will leave them cloudy and less effective at reducing glare.
    •Manufacturers of several popular brands of polarized glasses have specific recommendations for the use of lens cleaners.

    These include:

    •Buying their own branded cleaner or choosing one with a pH level between 5.5 and 8.

    •Buying a (different company’s) branded cleaner or using another with less than five percent alcohol content.

    •Avoiding the use of cleaners entirely in favor of plain old warm water.

    • This is an extremely informative and important string typical of G & G. Thanks for starting the ball rolling Kent and for the input from readers.

  9. Best way I found to do in a pair of polaroids is to forget the wipes and reach for a handkerchief containing just one grain of sand….

  10. Best way I found to do in a pair of polaroids is to forget the wipes and reach for a handkerchief containing just one grain of sand. Probably can destroy the coating by using sodden T-shirt, also. It only takes one grain of grit.

  11. You can get the same chemical make up type wipes as the Zeiss but at the dollar store here in Canada. About a buck at dollarama. Mainly designed for cell phones.

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