Sunglasses are some of those accessories that can add interest and a sophisticated touch to an outfit. And that’s why we love them so much. But if you’re like most people, you probably damage your sunglasses one way or another at least once every summer or two.
The damage can be minor or major, but still, it’s damage that can cause inconvenience and lead to further deterioration of your sunglasses. And if you’re anything like me, you probably have a favourite pair that you just can’t let go of. But did you know that you can perform most types of repairs on your sunglasses by yourself?
Whether it’s crooked frames, slightly scratched lenses or missing nose pads, these are all easy sunglass repairs you can do with the right tools. They might not end up looking as pristine as they were when you bought them, but they’ll be fully functional and comfortable, which is what matters at the end of the day, or should I say, at the start of the day. That being said, here’s how to perform some basic sunglass repairs, and fix scratched lenses and damaged frames.
Fixing Lens Scratches
Your sunglasses can break or bend if you don’t carry them inside a case. Scratches, especially, are inevitable down the line, and everyone knows that there’s nothing more annoying than looking through scratched lenses. They’re uncomfortable, impair your vision, and can damage your eyes if you don’t deal with them.
Sometimes, the spots on the sunglass lenses can be just smudged or dust, but other times, it’s actual scratches. Most quality sunglass manufacturers coat their lenses with an anti-scratch coating to prevent this. However, it’s important to differentiate scratches from cracks.
A lot of people think that their sunglasses are scratched when they’re actually cracked. And the only way to deal with cracks is to get replacement lenses and prolong the life of your sunnies. Scratches, on the other hand, are easy sunglass repairs, and they can be dealt with using some cleaning product that you probably already have in your home.
The first thing you should do before attempting any type of sunglass lens repair is to clean the first layer of dust using a microfiber cloth. Apply sunglass cleaner and keep wiping your lenses to remove any smudge. Make sure the lens are crystal clear on both sides. Next, you’ll either need some toothpaste or baking soda to fix the scratches.
If you’ve decided to use toothpaste, apply it on the scratched areas of the lenses, then use a wool or cotton cloth to buff the scratches away by rubbing the lenses firmly for about half a minute. Once you’ve done this, rinse the lenses with cold water and dry them using a soft cloth. The scratches should be gone, but if they aren’t – repeat the process.
If you’ve decided to go the baking soda route, all you need is a tablespoon or two of baking soda mixed with water. Stir the mixture until it achieves a thick, pasty texture. Then, apply it onto the scratched lenses and use a cotton or wool cloth to buff the scratches away by rubbing the baking soda firmly around the scratched spots for about half a minute. Once done, rinse with cold water and dry them using a soft cloth.
Fixing Damaged Frames
The frames of your sunglasses can be damaged in a variety of ways, and depending on the material they’re made from, the way you repair them will vary. Most sunglass frames are either some type of metal or plastic.
Fixing Metal Frames
Metal is stronger and more reliable, but it’s still susceptible to breaking and bending. The metal frames can bend when you drop them, forget them in a backpack, sit on them, etc. Luckily, bent frames can easily be dealt with. All you need to fix bent frames is nylon jaw chain pliers or soft pliers that have their ends covered with plastic.
Start off by applying some pressure to straighten the frames out. Do this gently to ensure you don’t completely break the frames. If the problem is in the sunglass arms, warm up the metal slightly using a hairdryer.
If the problem is in the nose piece, apply pressure on the nose piece. If the frame is broken at the frame front, temple or hinges, you’re best off visiting an optical store. Repairing broken metal frames requires welding that moulds the metal back into its original shape. This process requires extreme precision and is best left to experts.
Fixing Plastic Frames
Plastic frames are more susceptible to breaking and bending, but luckily, they’re also easier to fix. To straighten plastic frames, you can use the same principles as with metal frames. However, using some heat is necessary with plastic frames if you want to change their shape.
The best way to heat them is to expose them to hot steam. After you heat them up, dry them off and then bend them using your hands. Avoid using sources of fire, otherwise, you might damage them permanently. Also, avoid overheating them, as that may discolour or melt them. Experts use heated sandboxes.
Plastic can vary in quality, but even the highest-quality plastic frames can break. The most common breaking points are the arms, temples and bridge. You can fix broken frames using superglue, which is a cheap, efficient and accessible method. Before you apply superglue, make sure you clean the parts that you want to glue together. There shouldn’t be any impurities on the surface you apply the glue on. You can use sandpaper to flatten the surface.
After thoroughly cleaning the surface, rinse it with water and dry it with soft cloth. Apply glue on both sides of the parts that you need to glue, fit them together and clamp them. You’ll need to keep the frames steady for about a minute until the glue sets. Lastly, place the sunglasses on a flat surface and wait for the glue to dry.
If you’ve broken your sunglasses in half, you can use two needles and some heat to put them back together. First, heat up the plastic frames using boiled water and holding them over the hot steam.
Once the plastic is soft and flexible enough, push the metal needles through both sides of the glasses. Unite the two needles by pushing their edges toward one another. Since the plastic will be soft, the metal needles will go through the plastic easily. Lastly, let the glasses sit until the plastic hardens again.