How to clean camera lens? Whether it’s for photography, videography or any other type of imaging, having a lens clean solution at the ready can mean the difference between being able to capture your best work or losing precious images due to a dirty lens.
Your camera lens will inevitably get dusty regardless of whatever you do. Similarly, other substances such as oils and foods will also accumulate on the lens with time considerably reducing the camera’s image quality. You can easily clean it using a lens cleaning kit. Sometimes, however, you have to clean the lens without your cleaning supplies. So, you must know how to clean camera lens without a cleaning kit.
The Best Way to Clean a Camera Lens
You need to keep a few things in mind before you start rubbing the lens like a maniac. A little dust on the front of the lens will not compromise your image quality at all. What causes problems are oil on the both ends and the dust on the back. Similarly, regularly cleaning the lens will also affect its performance. Therefore, you should only clean it when absolutely necessary.
The following are the most common and easiest methods to clean a camera lens. The first cleaning method to use is to remove dust using a lens blower.
1. Remove Dust Using a Lens Blower
The first thing you should always use to clean the lens if it has dust on it is the lens blower. A quick and powerful gust of air will instantly remove all the dust. Most often, it is the only thing you need to make your lens shine like a new one again.
Some people tend to use their breath to clear the dust. It is a natural reaction but you should avoid it at all costs. It will always introduce condensation and saliva on the lens regardless of how careful you are.
Potentially, the blower itself will have some dust if it hasn’t been used for days. You can clear the blower by throwing a few puffs in the air. Similarly, try to hold the blower as close to the lens as possible without touching to minimize the chances of aerial particles entering onto the lens. Finally, blow some puffs across the lens surface to ensure it is fully clean.
Things you should avoid using are air compressors and freon-powered air cans because they can drip oil and cause condensation respectively.
2. How to Clean a Lens Using e a Lens Brush?
The second option to consider is to use a lens brush. They come in various sizes and shapes and are made of various elements. However, the most popular choice is the camel hair because it prevents damage thanks to its fine and soft texture.
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This method can be highly effective only if you know how to clean a camera lens using a lens brush. You must be very careful otherwise the brush will pick up the substance that can end up on the lens. For instance, a simple touch of your fingers can transfer oil to the brush. Keep in mind that removing oil from the brushes is even more difficult than removing them from lenses. Therefore, it is a more dangerous method than the blower.
What you can do to ensure the brush is clean is to keep it bagged or capped. Secondly, you should only use a brush with camel hair or at least with fine and soft bristles to avoid scratches. Thirdly, brush the lens surface ever so gently to remove the dust. Finally, cover the brush once you are done to prevent contamination.
3. Cleaning Camera Lens with Fluids
The most effective but also the most chaotic method to clean a lens is using cleaning fluid. The best thing about this method is that the fluid evaporates rapidly after cleaning without any scratches or streaking.
The cleaning fluid bottles usually cost $6-8. They are also available in different sizes such as 1 oz., 2 oz., or 8 oz. bottles. You can pair the cleaning fluid with a microfiber cloth or cleaning tissues to better clean the lens. However, never use common clothes or facial tissues because they can cause scratches as well as lens contamination respectively.
Some people hate this method because you must use a cloth for cleaning. Similarly, it can leave streaking on the lens. However, you can reapply the fluid and wipe the lens again to deal with the streaking.
Two things deserve special mentioning here. Always use cleaning fluid consisting of denatured alcohol. Secondly, only use a lens tissue or a clean microfiber cloth and spray the fluid on them instead of the lens.
4. How to Clean Camera lens with Lens Cleaning Paper Tissue?
Optic cleaning paper tissues is also a great method to consider. They are not only inexpensive but very safe as well. They are disposal tissues where each sheet will cost you approximately $0.05 on average.
It is also the best way to clean a camera lens. Tissues don’t have any dust or contamination that may be the case with brushes or cloths. On the other hand, microfiber cleaning cloths are best for removing smudges. Their price ranges from $2 to $8 depending on the brand. Therefore, they are more costly then cleaning tissues. However, you can use them for a long time before discarding them.
The longer life also means they are more difficult to maintain compared to tissues. For example, the cloth will keep any grime or oil you remove from the lens. It can also gather harmful substances and drag them across the surface. Just like lens brushes, you can keep them covered when not in use to avoid contamination. Similarly, don’t use fabric softeners to wash microfiber cloths. Never use paper towels, tissue papers, and t-shirts to clean the lens as well.
Last but not least; you can also use pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes. They are not as potent as the aforementioned methods but still very effective, especially for stubborn stains. They break down and clean off smudges with the help of alcohol. They are also more convenient and safer to use than microfiber cloths because they are disposable just like lens cleaning tissues.
How to Keep the Lens Clean for a Long Period?
Nothing can stop a lens from getting dirty. However, camera lens cleaning doesn’t have to be frequent. You can take many steps and precautions to increase the time between two cleaning sessions. For example, you should properly switch and store the lens besides using a lens filter. Similarly, you should never touch the lens or any other optics with your hands.
Some other methods to keep your lens in pristine condition are as below.
- Always place the lens cap before storing your lens.
- Don’t put the lenses in dusty places. Always place them in the camera bag.
- Put the camera cap on as soon as you remove the lens. If you want to switch the lenses, attach the other lens instantly.
- Don’t forget to put on the lens cap when the camera is not in use.
Do You Need a Camera Cleaning Kit?
A lens cleaning kit is an integral part of any photographer’s kit. But – do you really need it considering you have learned how to clean camera lens with household items.
You don’t always need cleaning supplies, especially when you are shooting on the location. It will only increase the weight of your kit, making it difficult for you to carry. Moreover, you hardly get any time to thoroughly clean the lens when you are moving from one place to another place. These methods will help you instantly clean the lens and get rid of all the dust and blemishes.
A proper cleaning kit does offer a lot of benefits though. It enables you to deeply and thoroughly clean all the camera gear, not only your lens. It will also be more useful when you need to clean your gear after a long time.
Whether you want to use the above tricks or a cleaning kit depends on your requirements. All of them can clean your lens and that is what matters most.
Cameras are expensive equipment and you need to take proper care of them. The lens is the most sensitive part of the camera, requiring special treatment as well. That is why we have created this guide, helping you to clean your camera lenses without any hassle. You can use these tricks to not only clean the lenses thoroughly and quickly but also avoid problems like scratching and streaking.