Camera lenses are delicate and get scratched easily, so it’s essential to know how to clean them correctly. Otherwise, you risk damaging them beyond repair.

Here’s the essential guide on how to clean a camera lens:

  1. Gather all the necessary cleaning equipment.
  2. Use a blower to remove excess dirt.
  3. Use a brush to remove any remaining excess dirt.
  4. Use a small amount of camera lens cleaner with a cloth.
  5. Only repeat this process when necessary.

The rest of this article will discuss how to clean a camera lens in greater detail. It will also discuss the stuff you’ll need, so be sure to read on if you want to learn more.

Cleaning a Camera Lens

It’s best to clean your camera lens indoors if you can. This way, there won’t be any wind to disturb the cleaning. If you do it outside, the wind may blow dirt and debris onto your lens, making the process more difficult.

Without further ado, let’s get into the process!

1. Gather All the Necessary Cleaning Equipment

Before starting, you’ll need to gather all your equipment. We’ll dive into equipment in the next section, but here’s a quick rundown of what you need:

  • Air blower
  • Lens brush
  • Camera lens cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth

Make sure to leave everything close to you. This way, you won’t have to search for something in the middle of the process.

2. Use a Blower To Remove Excess Dirt

Before wiping your lens with anything, you want to remove as much excess dirt and dust as possible. To do this, you should use a blower. If you skip this step and go straight into wiping, you’ll risk damaging the lens.

How will it damage the lens? Well, let’s say there are some sand particles on your camera lens. As you may know, sand particles are pretty rough and abrasive, and they’re certainly not good news for your lens.

If you wipe the lens right away without using a blower first, you’ll be rubbing the sand around the glass, which can cause scratches. You might not notice the scratches at first, but you’ll eventually see the damage if you continue to use this method.

That’s why using a blower is vital if you want to keep your lens as scratch-free as possible. It only takes a few seconds to use a blower, so there’s no need to skip it!

3. Use a Brush To Remove Any Remaining Excess Dirt

After using the blower on your camera lens, you may be thinking you can go right ahead and wipe it, but there’s one more step you should take to ensure no abrasive particles are left in the lens.

Use a brush to get any remaining dirt off. Make sure you use a gentle brush made for camera lenses. If you use a brush that’s too rough, you may scratch the glass.

Again, this step only takes a few seconds. There’s no need to skip this one either.

Camera Lens Cleaning Materials 2

4. Use a Small Amount of Camera Lens Cleaner With a Cloth

The next step is to use some camera lens cleaner. Before doing this, you must have removed as much dirt as possible with your blower and lens brush.

To use the cleaning solution, take a microfiber cloth and spray the solution onto it. It’s not a good idea to spray the solution directly onto the lens. One of the reasons is that the liquid could get in behind the lens, damaging the internal components of the camera.

Simply leaving lens cleaner—or any liquid—on the lens for a long time can be a risk. It could cause a corrosive reaction on the optical coating. Droplets could even concentrate sun rays and cause concentrated heating, which could damage the lens.

Once you’ve sprayed the solution onto a microfiber cloth, all you need to do is wipe the camera lens gently until there are no streaks left. Try not to spray too much solution onto the cloth—this could cause streaks, making it harder for the cloth to soak it all up.

A streaky lens is something you want to avoid, as it can affect the performance of your camera.

Although using a camera lens cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth is an excellent option, you could also use a special lens wipe.

A good example would be these disposable wipes that are entirely safe to use on your lens, and won’t leave any streaks:

ZEISS Pre-Moistened Lens Cleaning Wipes
$12.95

200 Count Lens Wipe Pack.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
07/03/2022 10:15 am GMT

What makes these wipes so handy is that you don’t need any solution. All you need to do is remove the wipe from the packet, wipe your lens, and throw it away. The process is easy and works just as well as an alcohol cleaning solution.

5. Only Repeat the Process When Necessary

You should only clean your camera lens if it’s entirely necessary. You may think it’s better to keep it completely clean all the time, but this isn’t actually true. If you clean your camera lens too frequently, you’ll risk damaging the surface of the glass.

Besides causing scratches, frequent exposure to cleaning chemicals can also wear down the glass. If you notice a tiny bit of dust on your lens, there’s no need to clean it. But of course, if it’s dirty to the point where it’s affecting your photos, you should do something about it.

As long as you keep your camera lens covered in a clean, safe place, you shouldn’t need to clean it too often.

Camera Lens Cleaning Materials 3

What Do You Need To Clean a Camera Lens?

You’ll need a blower, lens brush, camera lens cleaner, and a microfiber cloth to clean a camera lens. Do not use your breath—it can dampen the lens. Don’t use tissues either, as they can be harsh and scratch the lens.

Now you know what you need to clean a camera lens, but you may still be at a loss about which products you should buy. After all, the well-being of your camera is on the line. To make your life easier, we’ve made a list of essential cleaning products you should consider buying.

  1. JJC Soft & Elastic Nozzle Air Blower Blaster Cleaner for DSLR Camera
  2. JJC Soft & Elastic Nozzle Air Blower Blaster Cleaner for DSLR Camera
    $7.99

    This air blower is perfect for camera lenses, and it’s very cheap. All you need to do is press the body of the device and it will expel air onto your camera lens. The air will blow dirt and dust off your lens, giving you a cleaner surface. It’s made of premium silicone material, which means it will last a long time.

    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    07/03/2022 10:51 am GMT
  3. Matin Camera Lens Cleaner Brush
  4. Matin Camera Lens Cleaner Brush
    $10.00

    This camera lens brush is made of goat hair, which is one of the safest brush materials for a camera lens. It’s 9cm long, which is compact enough for traveling or even to bring to a photoshoot.

    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    07/03/2022 11:02 am GMT
  5. Zeiss Lens Care Pack
  6. Zeiss Lens Care Pack

    This lens care pack comes with two bottles of lens cleaner and two microfiber cloths. The bottles come with an easy-to-use spray nozzle and contain alcohol. This stuff will safely and quickly clean your camera lens, and it’s a much better solution than using your breath!

    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

  7. Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras and Sensitive Electronics
  8. Altura Photo Professional Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras and Sensitive Electronics

    If you don’t want to buy everything separately, you can opt for a camera lens cleaning kit. This Altura kit includes everything you need: lens brush, blower, microfiber cloth, and cleaning spray.

    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Can You Use Glasses Wipes On Camera Lenses?

You can use glasses wipes on camera lenses, but you should refrain from doing it too often. Since most glasses wipes contain alcohol, they can cause some damage to the top layers of the lens glass.

If you’re interested in pre-moistened wipes for your camera lens, you should check out the ZEISS Pre-Moistened Cleaning Wipes we mentioned earlier.

Glasses Wipes 1

Can You Use Glass Cleaner on Camera Lens?

You can use glass cleaner on your camera lens, but it’s better to use a cleaner specifically made for lenses. Most standard household glass cleaners contain more ingredients than what you need, including perfumes, which could damage the optical coating.

If you use household glass cleaner on your camera lens, be sure to wipe it in with a microfiber cloth. If you use normal tissue or a towel, you could scratch the glass and leave streaks.

Avoid using glass cleaner regularly—it could end up doing more harm than good. Sometimes you’ll be away from your cleaning kit and won’t have much of a choice, but even then, try to use as little as possible.

Can You Use Windex on Camera Lens?

You shouldn’t use Windex on your camera lens. It contains added chemicals that can damage the optical coating. Some of the harsher ingredients in Windex may also cause damage to the top layer of the glass. Use a lens cleaner that’s proven to work well with camera lenses instead.

And this doesn’t just apply to Windex: it applies to all household glass cleaners. Ideally, you should only use what you know won’t damage your camera lens.

Can You Use Isopropyl To Clean Camera Lens?

You can use isopropyl to clean your camera lens but only if it’s necessary. Although it works well at cleaning the glass, it can damage the optical coating. If you need to get rid of light smudges, it might be better to use a dry microfiber cloth.

If you decide to use isopropyl alcohol to clean your camera lens, you should use it very sparingly. Apply it directly to a microfiber cloth, and rub the lens until it’s streak-free. It’s always best to use camera lens-approved solutions.

Isoprophyl 1

Avoid Using Your Breath and Shirt to Clean Your Camera Lens

Many people like to blow on glass and wipe it with their shirts, and this method does work. However, it’s not the best way to clean your camera lens.

All human breath contains moisture. When you breathe onto your camera lens, you’re putting that moisture in it. And unfortunately, the moisture in our breath can damage the glass.

Plus, there are other things that can come out of your mouth without you even realizing it, such as mucus and saliva.

Using your shirt is also not a good idea. In theory, if it’s %100 cotton, cleaning a lens with your shirt shouldn’t cause damage. However, some fabrics can be slightly rough or abrasive.

Besides, you can’t be certain that nothing else has gotten into the fabric. You definitely don’t want to wipe your camera lens with a shirt that attracts dust and lint. If you do, that dirt and lint will pass to your camera lens and only make it dirtier.

How Often Should You Clean a Camera Lens?

You should clean a camera lens as seldom as possible, only when it needs to be cleaned. If there only are a few dust particles on the lens, you don’t need to clean it. If it’s dirty enough to affect the quality of your pictures, clean it gently using a blower, brush, and microfiber cloth.

Most camera lenses have coatings, which reduce light reflection and help get as much light as possible into your sensor. If you clean your camera lens too often, this coating could break down, particularly if you use isopropyl alcohol.

Isopropyl is a solvent, which makes it break down the coating over time. If you use it sparingly, you shouldn’t notice any issues.

You want to prevent the camera lens coating from dissolving, as there’s no replacing it once it’s gone. A damaged or dissolved coating will make your photos look dull, and the lighting may look odd.

Conclusion

When cleaning your camera lens, you must have all the necessary equipment at hand. That includes:

  • Lens blower and brush
  • Lens cleaning solution
  • Microfiber cloth

If you use a spray, make sure to apply it to a microfiber cloth rather than onto the lens directly. This reduces the chance of damaging the camera lens.

There’s no need to clean your camera lens frequently. In fact, this may end up causing damage. Only clean it when it’s visibly dirty or the picture quality is suffering. Try to clean your lens indoors to avoid the wind.