How to Clean a Camera Lens

A camera lens.

Regardless of the situation, any photographer wants to see a clear and untainted shot once the pictures are developed. Even photographers experimenting with color, light, shutter, and whatnot do not wish to find unwanted spots on their finished product. A dirty camera lens could be the culprit of the perfect shot gone shoddy (not shotty, ha! wordplay). It could just be dust or lint, but sometimes water spots or fingerprints get on your lens. All of these can be fixed if you clean the camera lens with care. However, keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, keep your lens cap on while your camera is not in use. Listed below are steps to clean a camera lens using readily available supplies.

Steps to Cleaning a Camera Lens

  1. cameralens-1Check your camera manual. For most cameras, the following will work well. There are some cameras that claim their own tried and true method for lens care. It would be prudent to take this into consideration, so take a look at the manual before proceeding.
  2. cameralens-2Only clean a camera lens when necessary. Every time you clean a camera lens, you run the risk of scratching the lens. Furthermore, excessive cleaning will take off the lens coating, ruining your camera forever.
  3. cameralens-3Use an air blower when cleaning a camera lens. This will remove loose dust or lint and abrasive particles. An ear syringe, also called a bulb or infant syringe, will work well in this case, as well as anything that blows a direct stream of air. Some people suggest breathing on the lens prior to wiping, but save this until after brushing the lens.
  4. cameralens-4Lightly brush the camera lens. Even with the abrasive particles gone, do this delicately with a lens brush to make sure no scratching is done by the actual brush. Be sure to get the edge near the rim to get any buildup there. The best lens brushes are made from Camel hair.
  5. cameralens-5Wipe the camera lens with a microfiber cloth. These can remove smudges without leaving fibers that other cloths would. This should be sufficient for most lens cleanings. As previously noted above, some people prefer breathing on the lens and wiping rather than using harsher cleaners. When washing and drying your microfiber cloth in the laundry, make sure you don’t use a dryer sheet as it can cause a build up on the cloth. This would only transfer when cleaning a camera lens. If there are still smudges on the lens, follow the next step.
  6. cameralens-6For persistent smudges on a camera lens, use a lens cleaner. Apply a conservative amount of the lens cleaner to a lens cloth. Never apply the cleaner directly to the lens. This keeps the liquid from seeping into the lens. Wipe the affected area, and then wipe the area again with a fresh lens cloth.

Other Lens Cleaning Tips

For most modest camera lens cleanings, the above steps should suffice just fine. However, if you still have concerns, take it to a professional for cleaning. The cost would be a small percentage of your total current investment in the camera anyway. Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure you have a decent lens cap and that you always use it. As mentioned earlier, you do not want to do multiple cleanings and risk doing damage. Lens caps protect the lens from the elements and dust. There is no good reason to have the lens cap off while the camera is not about to be in use.

Camera Lens Accessories

cameralens-7UV filter. This is an additional lens that fits right on top of the camera lens. This will protect your lens while the lens cap is off.

These fit nicely into any camera bag or pants pocket. On one end is a camel-hair lens brush, while the other has a non-liquid cleaning element for smudges. This lens pen is perfect for any camera user on the go.

cameralens-9Blower Brush. Is this just an air blower with a brush attachment? Yes, and it’s very handy. The brush is made out of camel hair and easily connects to the blower. Its functional. You can find the Kalt Blower Brush on Amazon.