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HomeGearLensesHow to Clean a Camera Lens: Everything You Need to Know

How to Clean a Camera Lens: Everything You Need to Know

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Learning how to clean a camera lens is just as important as learning how to shoot! Having a dirty lens can easily ruin the entire photo session. Even worse you may have to spend hours more in post-processing editing out smears and dirt particles. So save yourself time and sanity by learning the essentials of lens cleaning.

You can easily destroy your glass if you don’t know what you are doing. Once you know how, cleaning a lens is fairly easy and straightforward. But having the right gear and techniques will put you ahead of the game when it comes to cleaning lenses. This article is a complete guide to cleaning your lens. Including info on tools, how to, mistakes, and the top cleaning materials to invest in today.

tools you need to clean a camera lens.

Tools for Cleaning a DSLR Camera Lens

There are many options when it comes to the tools you will need to clean your camera lenses. If you want to save money, check out the household materials you can use for free. Or if you want to invest in pro materials, have a look at the professional column.

Household Materials:

These are everyday items that you may not even realize can help clean your camera lenses.

Turkey Baster

Using a turkey baster should be your first step when cleaning your lens. Simply squeeze and allow the air from the baster to hit your lens and push away dirt and dust. It’s important you clear these elements first so they don’t scratch your glass when you apply a cleaning cloth after. Using a turkey baster is basically a giant version of a puffer that may come with other camera cleaning kits.

Eyeglass Cleaning Solution

use eyeglass cleaning material to clean your camera lenses.

If you are someone who wears glasses, you may already have an eyeglass cleaning solution laying around your house. The best approach is to spray the solution onto a microfiber cloth and then use it to clean your lens. Remember to not add too much spray, one or two squirts is perfect. Also, by spraying the microfiber cloth you avoid smudges on your lens.

Breathing on your lens

This is an easy and free way to clean your lens. Simply blow on the lens so that the surface becomes damp and wet and you can then use your microfiber cloths in a circular motion to help with further cleaning. The condensation from your breath will break up dirt and fingerprints making it easier for you to clean away.

Microfiber Cloth

household materials to clean your camera.

Using a lens microfiber cloth is an easy way to wipe away pesky fingerprints on your camera lens. You may already have a microfiber cloth laying around your home. They are used for many things including cleaning your computer screen, eyeglasses and even drying dishes. They help with lens cleaning because they are made up of 1000s of tiny fibers stitched together that create a soft and safe material. You should always have one in your camera bag.

Professional Tools:

These are what most pros use to clean their camera lenses and are the safest bet to protect your camera optics and make better photography.

Camera Lens Cleaning Kit

the best kit to clean your camera lens.

If you want a clean camera and lens it’s probably best to invest in a lens cleaning kit. These are generally inexpensive and contain an assortment of tools including lens cleaning solution, cleaning tissues, spray, microfiber cloth, and a blower. Each kit varies but most carry almost everything you need to clean a dirty camera lens.

Lenspen

the best lenspen for your camera.

A lenspen is one of our favorite tools to use. It looks like a pen but has a brush at one end and a cloth-like attachment at the opposite end. Simply use the brush first to blow away any unwanted dust and get rid of dirt. Sometimes the brushes are made of camel hair which works well with glass. After, flip the pen over and use the microfiber cloth attachment to remove smudges and fingerprints from your lenses.

Cleaning Tissues

cloth to use for cleaning your camera.

Clean your lens ever better by using a camera-made tissue. They are little pieces of tissue that get rid of smudges and other dirty elements on your glass. Most tissues are in the form of an alcohol-based wipe which is perfect for breaking up dirt and fingerprints. Clean a lens with this after using a blower to avoid streaks on your lens.

Brushes and Lens Blower

a lens blower.

If you don’t want to carry around a large turkey baster in your camera bag then use a blower to remove dust particles from your lens. A lens blower should always be the first step to cleaning your camera glass. You can easily get your lens clean with this because it pushes away dust without having to touch it.

Things you should NOT do to Clean your Camera Lens

When cleaning a camera lens there are also certain things you should avoid doing. As mentioned above, you can destroy your expensive materials if you don’t know what you are doing. Let’s have a look at a few major things to avoid when cleaning your lens.

The first thing is you should never use canned air. This may come in handy when cleaning your computer keyboard. But, for cleaning your camera’s lens the air is too strong and could damage the glass.


Next, keep in mind that your microfiber cloth should only be used a few times. It becomes worn down after that and essentially sandpaper. So do not keep using the same microfiber over and over. This goes for lens tissue as well. Do not reuse it, use it once, and then throw it away.

Also, as stated above, do not spray cleaning solutions directly onto your lens. Instead, spray the fluid onto a cloth or wipes and apply it to your glass. Even more, never use your shirt or other materials to clean a lens.

Lastly, if you are ever in doubt, bring your lens and camera to a professional. Many camera stores offer cheap or free cleaning if you are a regular client. A clean camera sensor is just as important as a clean lens. Make sure every lens element is in good form.

Perform a Dirty Lens Test

how to test the dirtiness of your lens.

Lens cleaning should be a top priority for you once you test how dirty your lenses are. However, just like anything you don’t want to overdo it. Cleaning your lens too much can cause damage to the glass and remove its protective coating. There are few steps you can take to get a real feel over how dirty your gear is.

  1. Set your camera lens to infinity and watch for any specs of dust, fingerprints, or smudges.
  2. Take a photo of a plain light and dark surface. If any specs appear on the plain background, you will know how dirty your camera lens is.
  3. Take a closer look at other photographs you have taken. Especially look in the sky region of each image to search for specs of dust and surface smudges.
  4. Make sure to check the front element meaning the front of the lens as well as the rear element in the lens. Photographers often forget that dirt can get trapped in the rear optics as well.

How to Clean your DSLR Camera Lens?

Now that you know all the materials and things not to do when cleaning your lens we can dive into how to do it! This is a step-by-step guide on everything you need to know as you clean that beautiful glass of yours. Also, if you are still confused or more of a visual person, have a look at the video on cleaning your lenses.

  1. Wipe or Blow the Dust

    Tilt your camera downwards and use a blower or brush to blow and wipe away as much dirt and dust as possible from your DSLR lens. Additionally, a lenspen works well here too. The air and your brush should push away the big easy to move particles before the next steps.

  2. Apply the Lens Cleaning Fluid

    Add a few drops of lens cleaning fluid to a wipe, cleaning cloth, or tissue. Apply a medium amount of pressure to the glass as you begin in the center of the lens and move in a gentle circular motion towards the edges of the glass. If needed use more new tissues and wipes and continue the process.

  3. Clean the Lens Thoroughly

    Finally, use a microfiber cloth to give one last rub down of your lens. You should clean away any streaks and fingerprints that the above step was unable to remove. Remember to put your microfiber inside a plastic bag after to protect it while in your camera bag.

How to Avoid Dust on your lenses?

There are some precautionary measures one can take to protect their glass. From filters to lens caps, let’s explore the ways you can go that extra mile to protect your camera lens.

Filters

protecting your lens with filters.

Putting a polarizing filter on your lens adds an additional layer of protection. Not only are they useful for shooting but they also protect your lens and are cheaper than the lens itself. Help your image quality and protect your glass by using a filter.

Front and Rear Lens Cap

If you are placing your lenses in your closet or camera bag, it’s important to always attach the front and rear lens caps before doing so. Dust and debris can easily circulate and be so small you may not even notice at first.

Tilt the Camera Lens Down

how to put a lens on a camera.

Tilting your camera down before attaching a lens cap allows for any loose particles on the front element of your camera to fall to the ground before attaching your lens caps.

Wipe Dirt from Camera Mount

how to wipe dirt from camera mount.

Use a lens cleaner or cloth to wipe the edge of your camera mount. If you do not do this, dust can easily get trapped inside your camera sensor or in the rear end of your lens.

Benefits of Cleaning your Camera Lenses

There are several benefits that come along with knowing how to clean a camera lens. The most obvious being prettier photography. Something as simple as dust and dirt shouldn’t need to ruin the overall quality of your photo.

With the simple stroke of a brush, tissue, or wipes your gear will last longer and work better. Even more, keeping a clean camera is a sure way to make your gear last longer. After investing thousands in a DSLR and its lenses you wouldn’t want to destroy it by not taking care of it. Also, having a dirty lens can affect your bokeh. A piece of dirt can detract from the beauty of blurred background.

If your photos are looking cloudy or you see specs in your images, there’s a good chance it’s time to take care of your camera with a simple lens cleaner.

Best Products for Cleaning your Lenses

camera lens cleaners.

We searched the internet high and low to find the best products to use while cleaning your lens. Including microfiber cloth, lens cleaning fluid, and much more. These products all have the best reviews and top the lists of Amazon products that will save you time and money when caring for your gear.

MagicFiber Microfiber Cloths

These microfiber cleaning cloths are made of extremely high-quality materials that absorb dust, oil, smudges, and fingerprints. They leave no scratches and come in their own protected polybag so that they are always like new. They are small and lightweight, making them an excellent addition to your bag.

Care Touch Lens Cleaning Wipes

Care touch lens cleaning wipes are a best seller because of their streak-free formula. They dry quickly and clean everything from your eyeglasses to camera lenses. They are gentle on coated lenses and convenient to carry with you. They also have excellent customer service in case you need to return or ask a question.

Nikon 7072 Lens Pen Cleaning System

A lenspen that works on any lens, and it is made by Nikon. It’s cost-effective, durable, and long-lasting. The brush is extra soft and retracts inside the pen to keep it clean. Even more, it works with all types of cameras, binoculars, telescopes, and other optical products. Buyers have given it over 3,000 five-star reviews!

UES Air Blower Dust Blaster 

This dust blaster is powerful and safe for your lens, sensor, and camera. The soft nozzle prevents accidental damage in case of contact with the camera sensor and other delicate pieces of your DSLR. It’s made of premium rubber and the right size to fit comfortably in your hand.

Zeiss Cleaning Spray 

Keep every image clearer with this cleaning spray from Zeiss. The kit includes two 8oz bottles and microfiber cleaning cloths to safely clean your glass. As a top seller on Amazon, buyers love that it works on all glass coatings and is quick to use.

cleaning tips and tricks.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we hope this article taught you everything you needed to know about cleaning camera lenses! Remember to keep cleaning to a minimum and instead use preventive techniques like lens caps and filters. Make sure to use the correct tissues and lens cloth cleaning materials for the best results. Lastly, using these techniques is sure to give you the best photography results and help you create that photo you have been dreaming of without ruining it with a dirty lens.

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Krystal Kenney
Krystal Kenney is an award-winning photographer residing in Paris, France. She has been photographing for over 10 years and enjoys teaching others about the craft. She spends most days shooting events, portraits, and weddings around Paris and working on writing new books.
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Did you learn anything? Maybe consider giving a small donation 🙂
We’ll get straight to the point. To keep quality high, we work together with the best photographers in the world. As a company, we are spending a lot of money to give our writers a fair compensation. 

To stay online and become better in what we do, we depend on contributions and some products we sell. If everyone who enjoyed reading the above article gave just a little, we could keep Photographycourse.net thriving for years to come. The price of a cup of coffee is all we ask.

We know that most people will ignore this message. But if photographycourse.net is useful to you, please consider donating $2, $5, $10 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Photographycourse.net. 

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