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How to remove scratches from glasses

person wearing scratched glasses

Having scratches on your glasses lenses can pose a handful of problems. Scratched lenses can affect both the appearance and functionality of your prescription and non-prescription specs.

There are many home remedies that claim to quickly repair scratched glasses lenses. Unfortunately, these methods often do more harm than good. So is there a reliable way to remove scratches from your lenses?

To give you the best information possible, our experts reveal some popular DIY scratch removal methods, explain why they appear to work and, ultimately, why we don’t recommend trying them. You'll also find some helpful tips on how to prevent scratches in the future.

Scratched glasses coatings

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the basics of glasses lenses. Sunglasses and glasses lenses can be made of different materials. They're typically finished with lens coatings to polarise them, reduce glare and reflections, block UV rays, prevent small scratches, and more. Over time and without proper care, these coatings are susceptible to damage.

Most scratch removal methods wear away at lens coatings until scratches seem to disappear. The scratches might be gone but, in reality, the critical parts of the lenses have been worn away. Uneven removal of coatings can also reflect light and impact sight.

Want to know how to clean your glasses to prevent scratches?

Read our guide to learn how to properly clean glasses and sunglasses at home.

How to clean glasses

What to clean scratches on glasses with

two images of glasses and sunglasses with scratched lenses

Although we don’t recommend attempting them, it’s important to be aware of several home remedies that appear to fix scratched lenses. Remember: these methods might provide temporary relief but ultimately cause more damage in the long run.

Anything that strips lenses of their coatings may reduce the appearance of scratches but can lead to other problems. Read on for more information about toothpaste, baking soda, wax, glass etching, and suncream scratch removal methods.

white tube of toothpaste and wire frame glasses on neutral background

Can toothpaste remove scratches from your glasses?

Toothpaste is easily accessible and inexpensive. Unfortunately, it often has a gritty texture or contains ingredients that scratch lenses and strip them of their protective coatings. When you use toothpaste on your lenses, scratches might seem to disappear because the scratched layer is buffed away, revealing a smoother layer underneath.

baking soda and glasses on neutral background

Will baking soda fix scratches on glasses or sunglasses?

Baking soda is another product many believe is suitable for polishing glasses and removing scratches. Like many toothpastes, baking soda has an abrasive texture that can lead to further damage. It can trap and move dust, dirt, and other particles over the lens which results in more scratches. Some also believe the chemical reaction can also warp lenses in some cases.

tin of white wax on neutral background

Does using wax to remove glasses scratches work?

Wax makes it more difficult to see through lenses because of its opaque or milky qualities. Wax is thick and not a specialised glasses coating. Because of its appearance, filling scratches with wax can make it difficult to see and make scratches stand out even more.

scratched wire rimmed glasses on neutral background

Do glass etching products polish scratched glasses?

Never use glass etching products on plastic or glass lenses to remove scratches. Glass etching creams are designed to create micro-scratches on glass products, creating a cloudy or frosted look. With plastic lenses, glass etching products quickly and unevenly remove lens coatings to expose the untreated lens beneath.

white tube of suncream with orange cap on neutral background

Can you use suncream to remove scratches from sunglasses?

Suncream and other DIY hacks may damage the dark tint and coatings on sunglasses that protect against UV rays. When these treatments are damaged, lenses may appear cloudy, smudged or out of focus, regardless of how well you clean them.

How to remove scratches from glasses

Unfortunately, any scratch removal methods run the risk of ruining delicate lens coatings or making scratches worse. The only way to properly remove scratches from glasses is to replace the lenses or get new glasses entirely. This ensures you can reap all the benefits of your spectacles or sunglasses. 

Why it’s important to repair scratched lenses on glasses

Remember that it’s important to replace scratched lenses when your vision is affected. Generally, a small scratch won’t do any harm. Multiple or larger scratches can, however, restrict your field of vision and lead to eye strain or headaches. Scratches scatter light which can lead to unwanted reflections and eye irritation. This is particularly dangerous when driving at night.

Our tip: lenses made of glass are more scratch-resistant than plastic lenses (polycarbonate). They’re harder and not as prone to scratches. However, glass lenses are heavier than modern polycarbonate lenses. Your eyecare professional can help you choose the right lens for you.

Tips for preventing scratched glasses

  • Make sure your glasses fit properly and don’t slip off of your face. This will prevent any unnecessary breaks or impacts.
  • Use a hard, protective glasses case with a soft inner lining whenever you aren't wearing your glasses.
  • Grip your glasses by the temples and not the rims to reduce the risk of accidental scratching.
  • Establish a basic cleaning regime and use a soft microfiber cloth and gentle soap or specialised lens cleaning solution.
  • Wear contact lenses when playing sports or participating in activities where your glasses might fall off.

Use extra care when cleaning glasses frames. Some cleaning solutions or tools may cause damage to lenses if not used properly.

Frequently asked questions about scratched lenses

Does polishing glasses remove scratches?

No. Polishing glasses with a cloth or glasses repair kit does not remove scratches. Lenses can be cleaned but scratches won’t be fixed.

Can you grind down scratches on glasses?

No. Grinding or sanding down scratches on glasses only removes the lens coatings which can lead to other issues.

Should you buy new glasses if your lenses are scratched?

It depends. If your lenses cause visual disturbances, obstruct your vision or cause headaches, consider buying new glasses.

Closing thoughts from Lentiamo

As you’ve learned, it's almost possible to remove scratches from lenses but not without damaging other features of your glasses. Keep in mind the risks of attempting at-home scratch removal methods. Our experts at Lentiamo recommend considering new lenses if scratches interfere with your vision.

And of course, you can always reach out to your eye care professional if you have any questions about lens options specific to your eyes.