How To Clean Your Binoculars: 5 Quick Steps

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cleaning binoculars

It’s a fact of life, binoculars get dirty.  You’re going to take them outside, you’re going to have them in the sun and rain, and dust is going to settle on the lenses.  But a good pair of binos can be a big investment. And keeping them properly clean will extend their life and performance.

The Dos and Don’ts

A layer of dust contains hard particulates that can gouge the fine coating on your binocular lenses.  If you try to wipe them clean with the corner of your shirt, you’re going to grind those particulates against the glass and ruin that irreplaceable coating.  This will destroy your image quality over time.  Before engaging in any cleaning, be sure to read the owner’s manual for your device.  This will ensure you have all the proper information you need to clean your specific model.  Then remember not to clean them too often, as the less you rub the lenses, the longer they’ll last.  Finally, when they’re not in use, keep your lenses capped, your eyecups and focus knobs retracted, and your binos safely tucked away in their carrying case.  If you follow these simple tips, your binoculars will thank you.

5 Steps for Proper Cleaning

So, what’s the right way to clean binoculars to avoid damaging them?  Follow these simple steps to ensure you are protecting your binoculars while you clean them.

  1. Remove loose dirt. Use a blower or soft camel hair brush against the lenses to lift particulates before you do any rubbing.  Don’t use your breath to fog the lenses before wiping them, as the moisture will trap dust particles on the glass.  You’ll probably want to avoid using compressed air canisters, as well, as the chemicals inside can damage your lens coating.  For best results, buy a lens cleaning kit.  Zeiss makes a great, affordable kit that comes with a blower, brush, and lens-safe cleaning solution.
  2. Dip a cotton swab in a lens-safe solution and gently moisten the lens, cleaning in a circular motion. Do not use window cleaner or eyeglass cleaners.  They are too harsh for the lens coating and will cause damage.
  3. Dry your lens with a soft, microfiber lens cloth, like the kind you would use to clean your eyeglass lenses. Make sure you use this cloth only for the binocular lenses, then store it in a plastic zipper bag to keep it dust-free between cleanings.  Never use fibrous cloth such as paper towels, toilet paper, or facial tissue, as they will leave scratch-inducing fibers behind.
  4. Clean the body. Use your blower to loosen dust across the binocular body.  Then wipe it gently with a damp cloth, using care not to touch your already-clean lenses.  Do not use the same cloth you used on your lenses.  Your lenses are delicate and need their own cloth to avoid damage.
  5. Store them in their case. Most quality binoculars come with a carrying case that will keep them protected and dust-free while they’re not in use.  Remember to cap those lenses and store them in a clean, dry place.

binoculars on a table

Protecting Your Investment

Whatever you do, do not attempt to disassemble your binoculars to clean them inside.  You can ruin their waterproofing and fog proofing, but you’ll also will nullify any warranty.  If you think something inside needs attention, contact the manufacturer.  Chances are, they’ll be able to help you with your problem without major surgery.  The most important thing to remember is, if you treat your binoculars with care, they can last you a lifetime.

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