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How to Clean a Camera Lens – 5 Tips & Tricks

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Camera Cleaner

Having a dirty camera lens can take a potentially amazing photo and destroy its quality. To avoid this, we’ll go over a step-by-step guide for getting your lens squeaky clean. There are some basic principles that you may not know, so it is important that you read this over several times to ensure that you don’t damage your pricey lenses. Here are our five tips that will do the job safely.

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How To Clean a Camera Lens – 5 Tips & Tricks

1. Use Air to Your Advantage

When it comes to most optical glass, it is better to blow away the larger pieces of dust before you get the pesky particles. However, you should not use your own breath to fog up the lens, as it will condense the glass and potentially harm the coating.

This is especially the case in low temperatures where the glass could actually frost over from the moisture freezing up. Instead, the best way is to use an air blower made specifically for cleaning a camera lens. For example, the rocket-shaped air blasters will do an amazing job, as they will be strong enough to clear out all the dust. This is the least likely way to harm your gear if you want to clean it properly, and possibly the most effective.

Image Credit: SAMRAN MGR, Shuttertock


2. Don’t Touch the Glass

If you frequently find yourself wiping the glass or trying to clean it with physical objects several times a day, this isn’t good. Doing this might ruin the protective film that is used to help with glare or UV rays. This is especially true if you use something abrasive, like your t-shirt.

3. Brush the Lens

Using a lens brush is a good way to remove any of the grime that you missed after blowing it with an air tool. Just keep in mind that you should only use delicate, anti-static brushes that will keep your glass safe from damage.

If you are using a lens pen, you can also use the other side to eliminate smudges or oils that are left behind. Do this in moderation, as it should only be done when absolutely necessary.

Image Credit: Jakob Berg, Shutterstock

4. Carefully Use a Microfiber Cloth

One of the most common ways to damage the preventative layers on a lens is to overuse a cloth or wipe. When you do this, you’re essentially wiping the dirt all over the glass element, potentially scratching it and removing the coating.

You should only wipe off your lens with a microfiber cloth or included material that came with your gear after you’ve already used a dust blower to remove the sand or dirt. If you don’t, you could end up scraping the particles around and permanently damaging the lens. Use cloths as little as possible and you’ll get the best results in the long term.

Image Credit: ephst, Shutterstock


5. Have It Professionally Cleaned

If you’re on the edge about cleaning a camera lens yourself and don’t want to take any risks, it could be a good idea to bring your lens to a local camera or optics store to see if they offer cleaning services. In this case, they already know what to expect and can handle it with care. We only recommend this if you have stubborn dust that is compromising your imagery to the extreme. This isn’t something you should be doing frequently unless you’re willing to buy new lenses often.

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Cameras are expensive and maintaining them is crucial if you want to keep them working properly and get the most out of your investment. If you’ve never cleaned a lens before, use the five tips above to safely clean your camera lens and avoid damaging it and ruining the pictures you take in the future.

Featured Image Credit: Johnnys_pic, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.