How to Care for Mirrored Lenses in Salt Water


If you’ve ever been out on the boat, been fishing, or just at the beach with your mirrored lenses, chances are, at some point they got ruined if they weren’t taken care of properly. When near salty water, there are a lot of risks involved with your sunglasses and their viability. If you want to know how to keep your sunglasses safe when you’re at the beach or near salt water, check out these tips. 

Will Salt Water Damage Your Lenses?

Salt water can cause serious damage to any sunglass lens, especially mirrored ones. Most mirror coatings on lenses are made of metal so this makes the lenses more susceptible to damage when met with salt water. The ions in salt water can accelerate the decomposition time of many metals, finishes and varnishes. The combination of moisture, oxygen and salt from the water is actually even more dangerous than rust, as it can corrode and weaken metal 5 times faster than regular water, causing the lenses to fall apart. It is important to keep in mind that different models and coatings react differently to salt water. Coatings, like anti-reflective coatings, need extra special care when it comes to salt water as they are deeply affected by the decomposition characteristics of the water.

Aside from the ions in salt water causing the coatings to peel, the salt and sand found in water could also cause small scratches and cracks in your lenses. You know that feeling when you’ve been at the beach all day and you can feel the dried salt on your skin from the water? Well, this can be the case for your lenses too. If salt gets on your lenses and dries down, it could scratch the lenses, causing irreversible damage. 


blue salt water with light beige sand
Salt water can seriously damage your lenses by leaving scratches or wearing down lens coatings.

What Can You Do To Prevent Damage?

While proper care may vary from lens to lens, your top priority is making sure you run the lenses under clean water to remove salt, dirt, and debris. Most sunglasses and lenses will have manufacturer care guidelines for your eyewear and these should always take top priority when cleaning your lenses. Before wiping your lenses you should blow on them to make sure you’re removing any surface debris or dirt. After this, you should run them under clean water. There are three ways you can prevent damage to your lenses.

Clean With Water 

Water is the best and easiest way to remove dirt, oil and smudges from your lenses. Always make sure you’re rinsing your lenses before doing any rubbing, in case there’s salt, sand or dirt on the surface. 

Lens Cleaners

You should also be cautious when buying lens cleaners that are alcohol based. These cleaners contain chemicals that will slowly wear down the coatings on your lenses. It is recommended that you only buy cleaners endorsed or made by the manufacturer of your lenses. 

Lens Cases

Finally, one of the best ways to keep your sunglasses and lenses protected from damage is to keep them in a protective case when not using them. This is the simplest way to avoid accumulating dirt and scratches on your lenses. You should also note that sunglasses should be kept out of extreme heat or cold, as this can warp and deform the lens coatings. 

black sunglasses sitting on a table with a case
Sunglasses cases are the best and easiest way to keep your sunglasses safe when not using them.


Overall, the simplest way to keep your lens coatings protected is to properly wash and care for them after you have left the site of the salt water. Rinsing your lenses with clean water prior to wiping them down is going to be the best way to rid your lenses of the salt water and therefore preventing damage to the lens coatings. Also, if you're headed out on the water, don't forget your polarized lenses!

If you are still worried about your days on the boat, here at Fuse Lenses, our Fuse +Plus lenses feature extra coatings to help extend the life of your lenses, even when introduced to salt water! Plus, we include a lifetime, one-time replacement warranty with all purchases, so you can get out on the water, worry-free. We are dedicated to making the highest quality lenses for our customers, which means being able to wear your shades wherever you want!



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