How to clean camera lens

Camera lenses are highly sensitive (and expensive) objects. The quality of the images you capture depends entirely on the type of camera lenses you have. What is the point of investing tons of money on cameras and lenses that have dust and smudges on their surface? You have to set aside time and effort to carefully and meticulously clean your lens to make photography worth it. There are different ways in which lens cleaning can be done. However, it goes without saying that one must be extremely careful while they clean camera lenses.

Do you have camera lenses at home that need to be cleaned?

Are you wondering how to clean camera lens safely without causing damage to the camera and lens?

Do you want to know how to use a lens blower?

This article will speak in length on how to keep camera lens clean and which is the best-recommended way to clean camera lenses, lens cap, and every other lens element. Let us get started on the best tips and tools available for lens cleaning.

How do you know if camera lens is not clean?

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One of the obvious signs that a camera lens is not clean is visible dirt on the lens surface. You may notice fingerprints, smudges, dirt particles, grime, oil, etc., on the lens surface. Getting a camera lens dirty cannot be avoided. Especially if your camera is often used for photography.

Every type of camera lens, be it a simple digital camera or a good DSLR camera, its lens is bound to get dirty. Sometimes, the cause of making the lens dirty could even be the lens cap, camera bag, rear lens, other lens gear used in photography.

When you begin to notice that the image or photo quality or the quality of the video is diminishing, that is when you have to pay special attention to the lens. When the video and image quality are not as expected, it could mean that your camera lens needs professional inference. Some lens element, sensor or optics might be affected. You cannot get rid of this like just dirt on the surface, but they might need a technical process to fix the issue.

However, if it is just visible dirt on the lens surface, this can be taken care of at home using a lens cleaning cloth, lens cleaning solution or cleaning fluid, lens cleaning tissues, brush, or blower. You can use these to clean your camera lens and keep them free from dirt. These products cannot be used to simply wipe off the surface, but involve a simple process and techniques. Let us discuss further how to clean camera lens without causing damage.

Why you should clean camera lens?

Having a dirty camera lens is going to cost you a lot of money to replace, apart from affecting the image quality. When you have dirt left on the lens surface, the video and image you shoot using your camera will have dust specks in them. If you are into professional photography where the image quality cannot be compromised, then keeping the lens and sensor free from dirt is primordial.

When you clean your lens and other lens gear as and when required, you will save time on post-production. By proper lens cleaning, you can avoid the necessity to edit out the dust specks from the final HDR images, which kills the quality of the photos.

Unclean camera lenses can also lead to scratches and other damage that cannot be mended but will require a lens replacement. This is why you should clean your lens to avoid such situations.

What can you use to clean your camera lens

After the question, ‘How to clean camera lens at home?’, the question that gets asked next is ‘What to use to clean camera lenses?’. Lens cleaning is a delicate task and it is important to follow the right way to clean using the right products. Here are some of the most common tools used to clean a camera lens.

✧ Camera lens blower
✧ Camera lens brush
✧ Lens cleaning cloth
✧ Lens cleaning tissues
✧ Pre-moistened wipes
✧ Lens cleaning fluid or cleaning solution with tissue or lens cloth

All of these products can be used to keep the lens clean and free from dust.

How to take apart a camera lens for cleaning?

If you are unsure of how to take apart your camera lens for cleaning, you can always refer to the manual. Here is how you can disassemble the camera lens for cleaning.

⇒ Clean your hand to get rid of any dust, dirt, or oil from your fingers and palms. Dry your hands thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.

⇒ Now, hold the lens to view the rear portion of the lens and the mounting ring that connects to the camera.

⇒ Locate the small screws in the rear of the lens. Some lenses might have four screws in them. Unscrew the screws with the help of a small jeweler’s screwdriver. Keep the screws safe aside.

⇒ Now, lift off the mounting ring from the lens carefully. Does the camera and lens model that you own have an autofocus feature? If yes, they could have a wiring harness that is connected with the mounting ring. Disconnect the harness using a pair of tweezers, remove the mounting ring, and keep it aside.

⇒ Remove the screws on the side of the lens barrel. If they have two of them, one set will be towards the front and the other towards the rear of the lens.

⇒ Now hold the lens in both hands and gently pull it apart. If there is an external ring in the front of the lens, that can also be removed gently.

⇒ You can remove the internal lens and any other electronic element from inside the lens by taking off the screws.

Follow these 4 steps to clean your camera lens?

Until a few years ago, not everyone had the access to clean camera lenses themselves with the kits and equipment that are available for us now. Here are some quick tips on cleaning your camera lens making the best use of some equipment readily available in the market. Check on the reviews of the products or kits before you purchase them.

1. Use a blower

Using Lens blower

When you seek advice on the right way to clean lenses, it is always recommended that you use a blower first. This is the best tool that can get rid of any dust or dirt from the surface of your lenses with a simple quick puff. It is not capable of making things worse, and that is why it is loved.

When you think of a blower being the best resort, it is natural for our first response to be to blow over the camera lens ourselves. This is the instinctive response when we see the dust on the lens surface.

Blowing over the lens yourself will lead to condensation on the surface of the lens. Introducing saliva and other harmful microscopic particles is not a good idea. NEVER blow over the camera lens with your mouth.

You could follow these tips before you use a blower to clean your lens.

– Ensure that the blower is clean and free from dust particles. Squeeze a few puffs into the air, away from the lens. This will get rid of dust particles for you.

– Now hold the blower very close to the lens and blow a few puffs across the lens surface. Holding it very close to the lens will prevent air-borne particles from being blown onto the glass.

– A small lens blower is of little help. Invest in the right size blower, preferably a large size.

– Avoid using air compressors (these will drip oil) and freon-powdered air cans (these will cause condensation).

2. Using a lens brush

Using lens brush

The next option after a blower is a lens brush. These are riskier when compared to a blower, but can still be used to clean lenses with caution. The reason why experts suggest avoid using a lens brush as much as possible is that they can easily pick up dirt and dust in their bristles.

If you are using a brush to clean camera lenses, make sure you pick out a brush with excellent bristle quality. Lens brush made with camel hair is a famous recommendation. Camel’s hair is soft, light, and fine. It prevents causing damage or scratches on the glass.

Before you use the brush to clean the lens, remember not to touch it using your fingers or dust it on any other object. The bristles of the brush (even if it is a camel hair brush) will easily pick up small particles which can scratch the glass. Do not jam the brush on the lens, rather be gentle. Cap the brush immediately after you clean the lens. This will keep the bristles clean and safe from damage.

3. Using a lens cleaning liquid

Using Camera lens cleaning liquid

Lens cleaning fluid or lens cleaning solution is also a popular choice to keep the camera lens clean. These are typically alcohol-based, which work readily to clean camera lenses. They evaporate quickly and do not damage the gear.

Use a clean dust-free tissue or microfiber cloth to use the lens cleaning fluid. Spray the cleaning fluid, onto the microfiber lens cloth or tissue and then wipe the lens. Do not spray directly onto the lens. The microfiber lens cloth or tissue must be clean because any dust particles on them will cause scratches on the glass. Using a cleaning fluid that is made with denatured alcohol is safe for the glass and the gear. Never use cleaning fluid that is mostly water and detergent.

4. Using lens cleaning wipes

Cleaning with lens wipes

You have lens cleaning tissues available, which is a widely preferred cost-effective option for most people. After you use a lens cleaning tissue, you will discard it. Hence it is considered to be a safe way to clean any gear. Be it lens caps, camera bag, lenses- any discardable material is the cleanest process.
If you choose to use a lens microfiber cloth, you must remember to maintain some precautionary methods that will help you avoid scratches on the lens glass. Like, not using the microfiber cloth to clean anything else apart from the lens, keeping it sealed inside a plastic bag to avoid dust piling up on it, staying away from fabric softeners while washing the cloth (since they leave chemical residue that can cause streaks).

Although microfiber cloth removes oil, grime, fingerprints, and smudges, better than tissues; the oil and smudges that you wipe off from lenses will still remain on the cloth. You also cannot wash the cloth too often, because that will alter the texture of the material. Adding to the tips on using cloth for lens cleaning, always wipe lenses in a circular motion. Start from the center and then go to the corners in a circular motion.

How to maintain your camera lens?

It is inevitable that camera lenses will get dirty. However, it is not good for the lens to be cleaned often. It is recommended that you maintain camera lenses properly so that you can extend the time period between your cleaning sessions. This is how you can maintain camera lenses.

‣ Use a lens filter to minimize damage.
‣ Store the lenses with care.
‣ Switch out your lenses as and when necessary and sort them properly.
‣ Do not touch the optics with your hands, even if you are confident that they are clean.
‣ Use only quality products to clean your camera lens like; tissues, blower, cloth, wipes, brush, cleaning liquid.
‣ If there is any stubborn dust, dirt, or smudges; send it to a professional.
‣ If you identify that the dust isn’t on the camera lens, rather on the sensor, hand it over to a professional at the earliest since a sensor is a dust magnet.

1. How can you clean your camera lens without scratching it?

To clean the camera lens without scratching it, you can follow the list of products aforementioned in the order. You first use a blower to blow away dust or dirt particles, on the lens and the filters. If you wipe the lens directly with the dust on them, they will end up scratching the lens. Then you use a lens brush to dust off the remaining dirt (if any). Next, you make use of an alcohol-free lens cleaning solution, sprayed on a lens cloth or tissue, and use a circular motion to wipe the lens from the center to the sides.

Following this method and other safety lens care tips will ensure that you do not scratch the lens.

2. Can you clean camera lens with glasses cleaner?

Lens cleaning should not be done with the glass cleaner solution. Eyeglasses and camera lenses are not made of the same material, hence they should not be cleaned using the same cleaning solution either. Use only a cleaning fluid designed to clean your lens.

3. Can you use alcohol wipes on camera lens?

No. Alcohol is a strong agent that can easily degrade the quality of the lens. You should remember to never use any random alcohol-based wipes or cleaner for your camera’s lens. There are special wipes and cleaners made using denatured alcohol for this purpose. They will not just be gentle on the lens material, but will also guarantee you with a clean lens.

4. How to get rid of fungus in my lens?

Fungus on the camera lens must be acted upon at the earliest. Any delay will have to involve professional intervention which is safe, but expensive. To treat fungus in the camera lens, you can use hydrogen peroxide with ammonia or vinegar with water. Before you try this method, consult with a professional to access how far the fungus has spread and if home treatment will help.

5. What is the best camera lens cleaning solution?

There are plentiful professional lens cleaning kits available in the market to have your DSLR clean and tidy. These kits typically encompass all the tools required to clean camera lenses and gear. One of the kits most recommended and with the highest rating is the Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit Best for APS-C Sensor. It comes with a blower, brush, solution, and tissues. Enjoy excellent image and photo clarity by cleaning the lens of your camera with professional-grade quality in the comfort of your home.

Always remember, if you think the process needs more than home cleaning, take it to a professional to have the job done safely without causing any further damage.

6. What is lens fungus cleaning cost in India?

The exact cost to clean fungus from the camera lens will differ based on the service center, the model of the lens, and the extent of the damage. But, one can point out that the tentative cost for lens fungus cleaning in India could be between Rs 500 to Rs 1000. It can definitely be under or above this, depending on the parameters mentioned above.

Wrapping Up

Hope you found this post on ‘How to clean camera lens’ helpful and extensive. Learn how to clean the camera lens carefully, without causing any damage to the lens and other gear. Improve the image quality of the photos you take using your DSLR with the tips and cleaning guide given in the article.

Please give us your feedback on this article and what products you use to keep the camera lenses clean? Which cleaning kit you use and which are your favorite gear to clean lenses? Share with us your thoughts and experiences.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at Homezilla.in

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.