How to Clean Camera Lenses: The Dos and Don’ts

How to clean camera lens like a professional? A tidy lens is essential for sharp and clear pictures. Whether you own a DSLR or mirrorless camera, the following sections will enlighten you about some tips along with a foolproof cleaning practice.

Here we go.

The Required Materials to Clean Your Camera Lens

1. Cleaning Liquid

The first on the list, this material will erase watermarks caused by rain and oil caused by finger smudges. A cleaning liquid consists of alcohol, but many liquids are devoid of it too. It is advised to opt for alcohol-free liquids as alcohol ones harm the lens coating on vintage lenses.

2. Microfiber Cloth

A good quality microfiber cloth is another valuable component of a lens cleaning kit. It is recommended to bring it with you on all shooting locations in your camera bag.

3. Dust Blower

This is a great tool to eradicate debris and big specks of dust.

4. Lens Tissue

The traditional tissues leave fibers everywhere. But the cleaning tissue especially made for lenses has a tight weave of fibers.

5. Soft Lens Brush

Dislike the blower? Then a gentle lens brush is a perfect replacement.

6. Cleaning Spray

Although not particularly for lenses, an alcohol-free and antistatic camera cleaning spray is a great tool to have.

7. Cleaning Kit Pouch

Get a sealable and clean plastic pouch or container to accommodate the above-mentioned equipment. This will prevent the important materials from rattling around. And of course, you need to keep the kit pouch clean as well.

How to Professionally Clean A Camera Lens

Do you want a sneak peek at how seasoned photographers manage to keep their lenses in a tidy condition? Consider the following lens cleaning routine. Here are the instructions:

Take Preventive Measures

You know what they say – prevention is better than cure. This also applies to caring for your lens! And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just adopt some caring habits for your investment.

We all invest heavily in camera lenses, which is why it wouldn’t hurt to splurge some more money on a protective UV filter. Their variety is diverse to accommodate different types of lenses. Purchase an affordable protective filter and position it on the lens front right after pulling it out of the box.

Keeping the lens filter tidy is the same as keeping the fixed front lens clean. What will you get out of the filter? In case you harm the lens or scratch it beyond fixing, the filter can be easily replaced but your lens will be unaffected.

Don’t forget to replace the protective UV filter immediately because if you have previously harmed a lens in the past, you might do it again. Here is another good caring habit – keep the front and back lens caps on the lens always. These act as ideal protectors against oil, dust, smudgy fingers, and debris.

Blow Away the Dust

Get your hands on a blower before even touching the lens tissue or cleaning cloth. What will the blower do? It will erase the loose debris or dust from the lens glass. This step is practiced first due to a reason. If you opt for a cleaning cloth as the first step, the vulnerable glass can be scratched.

So what should you do? In a bright space, blow across the lens at a 45° angle with the lens facing completely upwards. Repeat this motion from one side of the lens to the other. It is better to use a lens blower, because if you blow with your mouth, you might mistakenly blow saliva on the lens. Moreover, quick repetitive puffs of air can be possible with a blower.

Brush Away the Lingering Particles

Gain the same result of erasing dust with a soft bristled brush. Some users unfortunately get sticky specks of dirt or dust on their lenses, which are too stubborn for a blower to remove. These notorious specks are the most common if you have been working out in the rain.

A superior lens brush will also clean the tight grooves around the corners of the lens glass. So again, position the lens upwards and employ mild sweeping actions. Do this from one side of the lens to the other. Try not to push down hard on the lens because doing so will scratch the lens.

Employ a Cleaning Liquid

After brushing and blowing away the bigger particles of grime and dust, get ready to do the serious cleaning. This step demands either lens cleaning tissue, paper, or lens cleaning solution.

Buying an appropriate lens cleaning solution guarantees that you do not harm the protective layer or coating which the lens brand applied to its glass. Whichever fluid you end up buying, do not invest in Glen20, Windex, or similar chemical cleaning liquids as these are harsh on the sensitive lens.

Follow these instructions:

  • Get a folded lens tissue or lens cleaning paper.
  • Apply a few drops of the lens cleaning solution on it.
  • Hold it strongly with one hand and force the lens upwards.
  • Take a wet lens cleaning tissue in the spare hand and slowly wipe it on the lens surface.
  • Follow side to side motion instead of a spiraling motion.
  • After wiping the lens surface, get a dry and tidy lens cleaning tissue to mildly wipe away the remaining dampness.
  • Allow your lens to dry off.

See the lens surface to guarantee that you have erased fingertips, finger smudges, notorious grime, and oil. As per your requirement, repeat the action to guarantee that your lens glass is sparkling. It is suitable to utilize a microfiber lens cloth in case you don’t have access to lens cleaning tissue.

Employ a Microfiber Cloth

Your lens is finally tidy. Now it is time to deliver a final polish to the lens. After following the steps till far, it is now possible to utilize a finely weaved and gentle microfiber cloth to ensure a neat finish.

Again, if you do this step earlier in the process, you will definitely drag dirt around the lens surface. This will cause scratches. Based on the lens cleaning cloth, fold it in a padded triangle or square.

Direct the lens surface upwards and hold it strongly in one hand. Take the folded microfiber cloth in your other hand. Slowly wipe the lens glass to erase any remaining streaks from the earlier step. After removing all the grime, the microfiber cloth should be utilized in a circular or left to right motion.

Clean the Back Element

During the process of attaining a perfect polish for the lens front glass part, do not ignore the back of the lens. Some back elements are a breeze to clean, whereas others recess in the lens area.

Follow the steps from 1 to 4. Take a corner of a microfiber cloth or a lens cleaning tissue for this purpose. A Q-tip will work too because the back element is smaller.

Focus On the Barrel

Congratulations! You have successfully cleaned both the front and back of the lens. The job here is almost done. Hear us out – if your lens demands a tidy cleaning, so will the lens barrel. Zoom lenses accumulate dirt or grime in the gap so make a habit of cleaning this regularly. This action will avoid dust from being pushed in the lens.

Since not all lenses are resistant to weather, be cautious about applying liquids during the barrel cleaning. Follow these steps:

  • Fit the front and back cap of the lens.
  • Employ the brush and blower to clean everything in the lens.
  • Liquid solutions exist to clean the exterior of cameras and lenses. So if you own one, use it.
  • And if you lack access to this material, wet a corner of the microfiber cloth and cautiously clean the lens.
  • Afterwards, place the lens in a tidy camera pouch, cupboard, or a lens pouch instead of an open shelf where dust will attack it.

How Regularly Should You Clean Your Lens?

The answer to this question is based on how regularly you use your lens. For instance, if you shoot on weekends, tidy up your lens on Friday nights. Or whenever you feel like it needs care, don’t hesitate to clean the lens. The sticky stubborn residue should not be left on the lens for a long time.

How to Eradicate Moisture In Your Lens?

Is there moisture or condensation in your camera lens? Worry not as there are solutions:

  • Put the lens under direct sunlight. This will dry out the inner moisture.
  • Put the lens inside an airtight container packed with uncooked rice. The rice will effectively absorb the moisture.
  • Employ silica gel in the same way as above. Buy silica gel from any hardware store or supermarket.
  • If the above tips did not work out, have your lens fixed at a camera repair store.

Last Words

Whether photography is your passion or a hobby, it’s a must to take care of your expensive investment. And after reading this guide on how to clean camera lens, your lens will be looking new even after a decade.

This is entirely possible as brands create lenses to last a lifetime. So combine a frequent cleaning routine with some preventive measures mentioned in the above sections.

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