How to keep your camera lenses clean

The best ways to keep your DSLR or camera lens clean

How to keep your camera lenses clean

It’s often said that a clean home is a happy home, and that’s definitely the case with camera lenses, too. When you’ve spent a small fortune on the best glass you can afford (or a flagship smartphone), there’s no point in falling at the first hurdle by allowing your lens elements to become dirty.

Whatever subjects you shoot, it’s always best to carry cleaning equipment in your camera bag, because you never know when you’ll need it; a lens blower, Lenspen, microfibre lens cloth and lens cleaning solution will allow you to effectively clean all types of dirt from your lenses wherever you are.

Rain spots, fingerprints, smears and dust will all negatively impact image quality, so keeping your lenses dust and dirt free is an absolute must. So, here are six ways that you can protect and clean your lenses to help you to maintain the best image quality possible. And one final note: while these tips are largely tailored towards cameras and DSLRs, steps three, four and five are suitable for smartphone lenses, too.

1. Use UV filters

Prevention is the best cure when it comes to lens cleaning, so attaching UV filters to the front of your lenses is the perfect way to keep dust at bay as well as adding an extra layer of protection.

Filters are very much an accessory where you don’t want to go for the cheapest option available, because the quality of the optical glass used varies drastically according to cost and brand.

Stick with well-known filter companies such as B+W, Hoya and Tiffen to ensure the highest optical quality. When UV filters do get dusty and dirty, the cleaning options below are aimed at both filters and lenses.

2. Use a blower to remove dust

The first port of call for cleaning is to use a blower to remove dust and other loose particles from the lens front and rear elements. Lens blowers like the Giottos Rocket Air Blower come in different sizes, with the larger versions providing more power to blow dust away while the smaller options are less powerful yet more portable.

Whether you opt for a smaller or larger blower will often depend on how much room you have in your camera bag to store one, but for many photographers carrying a smaller blower in their camera bag and having a larger more powerful blower at home is the perfect combination.

T he cleanliness of your camera lens affects the quality of your images. It’s as simple as that. But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because if you clean your lenses too much, or too often, you run the risk of scratching your lens. This post will briefly summarize how to clean camera lenses, with suggestions on where to purchase some of the materials. Let’s jump in.

Best Way to Clean Camera Lens

Step 1: Use a blower to remove dust

If you want to clean your lens, avoid blowing on it. Your saliva or breath could increase condensation. The safest way is to use a blower to get rid of any dust and residue.

They look like this:

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Blowers are the safest way to clean your lens

How to Clean Camera Lens

Step 2: Use a lens brush

If a blower isn’t enough, and you still have some specs on the lens, no worries! You can use a lens brush, but we recommend a lens brush with camel hair. Camel hair is thin and will be less harmful to the lens.

Keep in mind brushes can pick up a lot of unnecessary substances. Try not to touch the brush with your hands. It may seem insignificant but if the oils on your hand get to the lens, it could really do some damage.

They sometimes look like actual brushes, other models are made a bit slimmer like a pen.

You can buy these everywhere, including here.

If you want to how to use the brush check out the video below.

Learn more about using a lens brush

Camera Lens Cleaner

Step 3: Use camera lens cleaner

Using camera lens cleaner is a last resort because you really don’t want to risk streaks. Most solutions are alcohol-based and if you just use one or two drops, you probably won’t leave any streaks.

If you’re interested, you can purchase here.

Don’t spray the cleaner directly on the lens, instead use a lens cleaning cloth or tissue. See the next step.

How to Clean Camera Lens

Step 4: Use a cloth or tissue

When you use liquid camera lens cleaner, make sure you wipe it off with either a microfiber lens cloth or specific lens cleaning tissues. Do not use regular tissues as they could scratch your lens.

There are some newer tissues available that work really well.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

How to keep your camera lenses clean[email protected]

How to Keep Your Camera and Lens Clean?

Have you ever wondered what causes those mysterious spots that appear in your photos? For photographers, particularly those who use interchangeable lens cameras, this is a common problem. But there’s a way to solve it.

These mysterious spots are caused by dust or dirt on your sensor, which is completely normal and virtually unavoidable. To combat this problem, most camera makers have included a sensor cleaning function in newer camera models. However, sometimes this handy little feature just isn’t enough, which is why cleaning the camera sensor is a chore that every photographer has to deal with every so often.

What is Sensor Dust?

The term “sensor dust” is used to describe the particles or elements that enter a camera and stick to its sensor. This usually happens when the camera user exposes the sensor by removing the body cap or switching lenses. Camera sensors are dust magnets, prone to dust. If you’re not careful enough, you’ll inevitably have to clean your camera’s sensor quite often.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

How Does Dust Get into Camera Sensor in Mirrorless and DSLR cameras?

It’s rather easy to sustain sensor dust on a mirrorless camera, such as Sony Alpha A7 III, Nikon Z7, or Canon EOS R as the sensor becomes exposed during any lens changes. With regular DSLR cameras, the mirror provides some form of protection, though you can still end up getting dust on the sensor. However, one of the main causes of dust is actually the camera itself, which explains why photographers who rarely change their lenses still struggle with dust getting on the sensor.

Apart from getting dust and other dirt from the surrounding environment blown onto your sensor during lens changes, there are two other significant ways that dust may be generated:

  1. Every time that you take a photo, the shutter fires. When it does, the friction between the components of the shutter can create dust.
  2. The other way that dust is generated is during the moments that you attach or remove the plastic body cap. When you do so, friction between the metal mounts and the plastic cap may generate dust. This is also true for when you change your lens.

Let’s summarise some facts:

  • Dirty optics and dirty sensors can and will affect your image quality.
  • There are correct methods and tools to clean lens and filter optics.
  • There are incorrect methods and tools to clean lens and filter optics.
  • There’s a great deal of information available on the topic of lens cleaning—some of it conflicting.

So, let’s try to keep things simple, and find the best and safest way to get your lenses and sensors clean so that you can spend more time making photographs, and less time on cleaning.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

The condition of your camera lenses is one of the major factors that affect image quality. Clean lenses help produce sharp and crisp photos. Also, they tend to last longer than dirty lenses, for obvious reasons. Thus, to protect your DSLR lenses and make sure they can continuously help you take good quality pictures, you need to clean them regularly.

But first, you need to learn how to clean camera lenses properly!

Here are some of the common questions from camera owners about cleaning their DSLR camera lenses safely:

How do I perform a dirt test on a DSLR lens?

Checking your lenses for signs of dirt will let you know if they’re due for a routine cleaning. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set the focus to infinity.

To be able to adjust the focus, set your camera to Manual mode. Then turn the focus ring to infinity. Doing so will allow you to see specks of dust in the viewfinder.

2. Take a photo of a plain surface.

Look for a plain surface and take a photo of it. For more accurate results, do a two-shot approach. Take a photo of both light-colored and dark-colored surfaces, so you can easily spot dust particles on the photos.

3. Examine the photos you’ve taken recently.

Put your camera in Playback mode and zoom in each image. Carefully inspect the images for any hazy spots or dust particles. If you find dirt, it’s time to clean your DSLR lens.

4. Check for other signs of a dirty DSLR lens.

Inspect the rear element of your lens for dust and smudge. Check for molds inside the lens as well. If there are molds, it’s safer to have your lens cleaned by an authorized camera cleaning personnel than to remove the molds by yourself.

What tools do I need for cleaning my DSLR camera lens?

Cleaning camera lenses should be an easy and straightforward task as long as you use the right lens cleaning kit. Invest in high-quality camera cleaning tools to maintain your DSLR lenses’ excellent condition.

Here are the four must-have supplies in your lens cleaning kit:

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Breathing on the lens to blow dirt away is harmful to your lens, as acids in your breath can damage lens coatings. A safer way to get rid of dust on a lens is to use a manual air blower that easily removes specks of dust.

When you’re traveling a lot or when shooting outdoors, a blower should always be in your camera bag so that it’s ready to use when your lens gets dusty.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Get a soft-bristled brush made of camel or goat hair to keep your sensitive camera lens from getting scratched while you’re cleaning it. Also, avoid touching the bristles of the brush if your fingers are oily to keep your lens from getting smudged after you brush it.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Lens cleaning wipes should be disposed of right away after use. Reusing a cleaning wipe will only put the dirt back on your lens.

As for the microfiber cloth, make sure the one you’re using is clean. When you wash the cloth, never use a fabric softener because the chemicals in it may leave streaks on your lens and may damage the lens coating.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

A lens cleaning solution removes fingerprints and smudges without leaving any streaks. Use just the right amount of fluid—a drop or two is enough. Putting more fluid than necessary on the cleaning cloth may damage your camera’s optics, as excess fluid can flow inside it.

How do I clean a DSLR camera lens?

Here’s a simple step-by-step instruction that you can follow to clean your DSLR lenses and keep them in good condition:

  1. Using an air blower and a soft-bristled brush, remove as much dirt as you can.
  2. Add a drop or two of lens cleaning fluid to a microfiber cloth or a cleaning wipe.
  3. Starting from the outer part, wipe the lens in a circular motion going to the center and gently remove fingerprints, oil, smudges, dirt, and dust.

How do I keep my camera lens clean?

Now that you know how to clean your camera lens, here are some tips on how to keep it clean.

  • Don’t forget to attach the lens cap before placing your camera in a bag.
  • Store the lenses in your camera bag. Avoid placing them in dusty areas.
  • When you remove the lens from the camera body, make sure to attach another lens right away or put the camera cap on.
  • Always attach the lens cap when you’re not using your camera.

How do I avoid getting dust on my camera lens?

Prevention is always better than a cure. Aside from taking steps to keep your lens clean, you should also make sure to minimize dust build up on it.

1. Tilt the DSLR camera down when changing lenses.

The camera and the lenses you’re switching should be facing down. This will prevent dust particles from landing on the DSLR sensor and lens optics.

2. Never use canned air.

Canned or compressed air can blast and destroy the camera sensor and the optics of your DSLR lens. If you feel the need to blow out dust from your lens, use a manual air blower instead. It’s much safer that way because the air from a manual blower isn’t as pressurized as canned air.

3. Wipe dirt and dust off your lens mount.

Don’t let dirt and dust particles sit on your lens mount for a long time. Wipe it clean before it sticks to the rear of your DSLR lens. Quick dirt and dust removal will decrease the chances of these particles to reach the optics of your camera lens.

Your DSLR lenses are an expensive investment. To make your every penny count, you must take good care of them. Maintain your DSLR lenses’ excellent condition, so you can take high-quality photos for a long time.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Photographers have different cleaning methods for SLR camera lenses. This article will explain how to clean DSLR camera lens lenses. Many of our readers send me emails and comments asking for more information. I have included a detailed article with a video that explains the process. It is very easy to clean lenses. If you’re impatient and would like to see the complete process of cleaning a lens in action, scroll down. I hope you find this article and the video helpful.

1) What is the point of a clean camera lens?

Apart from the obvious answer, “because it’s dirty”, cleaning your lenses will help you achieve the best quality results when using your equipment. A novice approached me years ago with a question about the camera. I asked him why his images looked cloudy. I asked him if I could have a look at his camera and see if there was anything wrong. The problem was obvious as soon as I removed the front lens cap. The lens’ front element was extremely dirty with oily fingerprints all over it. I showed the lens to him and asked if it was a problem. He said that his toddler liked his camera so much that it was causing the lens to get all the dust. He didn’t know how to properly clean the lens and was afraid to do it himself after spending so much on the gear. I was glad to have my cleaning kit on hand so that I could take a photo before and after cleaning the lens. The images were compared and the results were as expected. The first image looked cloudy while the second was sharp and clear. This is just one example of how dirt, oil and dust can affect images.

You should also clean your lens to prevent particles from appearing in the background highlights or other areas of your image. Check out my previous post about “the effect dust on lens bokeh”. You will notice that dust from the rear of your lens can show up in your images, particularly if it is large.

Dust is an inevitable part of the life of a photographer. It is good to keep dust off your equipment, but you will still end up in dusty conditions one day. It is not about how but when you do it. Are you going to snap a photo of a stunning sunset on a dusty, windy day? Photographers often say “Don’t get your gear dirty first”, which I find absurd. I wouldn’t miss a chance to take a great picture just to keep my gear clean. I always know that the Great Sand Dunes NP will be windy before I travel to them. This is a shot of the Great Sand Dunes NP.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

It was very cold and windy when I took it. It was all over the place, and ended up getting into every hole on my lens and camera. It took me many hours to clean everything and the lens still made a loud noise when I moved the zoom or focus rings. The above image wouldn’t have been possible if I had worried about dust and sand.

2) The dangers of improper lens cleaning

People end up with poor equipment due to their ingenious cleaning methods. Camera lenses can easily be scratched, as they are similar to the lenses in eyeglasses. Although lenses are made of optical glass, they can be scratched easily with a cloth that has sand particles. Because sand is more durable than glass, The lens coating could be damaged if you use the wrong chemical liquid. You might have problems if you use too much liquid on your lens. This list could go on.

It is important to choose the right tools and properly use them if you plan on cleaning your lenses by yourself.

3) Protective filters

A high-quality protective filter is included with every lens I own or use. Protect expensive lenses is also a recommendation in my article on buying camera gear and other gear-related articles that I publish on this blog. Why? Filters make it easy to not only protect your lens but also clean it. There are threads (or “steps”) on some lenses that run along the front of the lens. These threads can attract dust and even be used to cut microfiber cloth. It becomes difficult to maintain the front of your lens clean over time due to all the stuff attached to them. You will be able to spend less time cleaning your lenses if you have a protective filter. Don’t worry about image quality – check out my gallery and Lola’s weddings page. Each picture was taken using a protected filter lens. Are you seeing any issues with image quality? Use professional multi-coated filters made by companies such as B+W or Hoya. Because they are made from high-quality glass, these filters will have minimal impact on image quality. These filters are costly, but well worth the investment. Filters are a great investment. When you think about how much time you’ll be spending cleaning lenses, and all the potential problems like scratching the lens, you’ll quickly see the benefits. You can simply buy a new filter if your filter is damaged or scratched.

4) Tools to clean your lenses

There are many tools on the market to take care of your eyes. I’ve tried many solutions and found that some are more effective than others. Here’s a list of tools I recommend and use for cleaning lenses.

  1. Zeiss Liquid Lens Cleaner and Eclipse Optic Lens Cleaner are the liquids that I recommend for cleaning lenses
  2. Visible Dust Magic Cleaner is large microfiber cloth that can be used to clean lenses. These are great for cleaning lenses.
  3. Tiffen Lens Cleaning Paper is used to clean the elements of the optical lenses.
  4. Giotto’s Rocket Blower is used to remove dust from lenses.
  5. Use a hard toothbrush or another hard brush to clean the rubber zoom/focus rings.

You can also find other liquids and tools online, or at your local camera shop. They all work well. Giotto’s Lens Cleaning Kit is a great option if you don’t have the budget for a lot. However, if you do want to spend a lot of money you won’t need the smaller blower.

You can have the very best camera equipment in the world, and tons of experience capturing amazing photographs, but if you don’t keep your equipment well maintained, you won’t be able to create the kind of brilliant, clear photographs that impress the folks who view your photos. Part of maintaining your equipment is keeping your camera lenses nice and clean. A spotty, dusty or smeared lens can spell disaster for your next photo shoot. So it’s very important to know the right way to clean a camera lens.

Today’s video post by CamCrunch is dedicated to showing you the exact steps you need to take to keep your lens spotless and ready for action. Pay close attention to the details that are shared in this post, as cleaning your camera lens is quite a bit more involved than simply wiping it off from time to time. If you’ve always wanted to know how to clean your camera lenses like the pros, simply take a look at this tutorial…

Not everyone takes the same approach to cleaning their camera lenses. Some people have their own, unique steps that they take in order to keep their camera lenses clean. The important thing is that you have a basic understanding of the different steps that you should take, and that you make it a priority to clean your lenses on a regular basis. The more frequently you clean your lenses, the better they’ll perform and the better you’ll get at keeping your expensive camera equipment well maintained.

We know that cleaning your gear isn’t the most exciting topic in the world, but it’s important for all photographers to be familiar with the basic steps involved in cleaning a camera lens. We hope that you learned a bit from this post, and that it keeps you inspired to take some time on a regular basis to keep your lenses clean, and all of your photography equipment in good working order. And if you would, please take a minute to click on the Share button to pass this crucial information along to your friends and family.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

No matter what you shoot or where you do it, it’s inevitable your camera lens will, at some point, become dirty enough to warrant a cleaning. To ensure your lenses stay in tip-top shape, we’re going to run through how to clean your camera lens with the attention to detail it deserves. After all, a well-maintained lens could last a lifetime.

Cleaning the front and rear elements

First, you want to clean the front and rear elements of the lenses. For obvious reasons, these two optical elements are the most likely to get dirty when shooting day-to-day, the front element in particular. Before opting for a traditional cleaning cloth, however, what you’ll want to do is use a blower bulb. We suggest the Giotto Rocket Blaster, as it’s an age-old tool used by photographers around the world for decades. Using a blower bulb helps to gently remove any dust or dirt on your lens that would otherwise be ground into the glass when wiping it with a cloth.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Once you’ve finished blowing off the element, you’re going to want to obtain a microfiber cloth and cleaning solution. Microfiber cloths vary in terms of texture and quality, so be sure to find one that doesn’t leave behind any unwanted fuzzies. Also, when using the cleaning solution in conjunction with the cloth, avoid spraying the solution directly on the optical elements. Instead, spray the solution on the cloth and wipe accordingly. If there are streaks left behind, use a dry section of the microfiber cloth to ensure a clean surface.

Cleaning the outside of lens

You might not find yourself cleaning the outside of your lens often, but when you do, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it right. A microfiber cloth works wonders for getting dust and dirt off the outside of the lens, and for those times when you want to give your lens a deeper cleaning, a toothbrush is your best friend.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Specifically, get a soft-bristled toothbrush and, without any sort of liquid cleaner, brush across the surfaces and inside the crevices of your lens. The bristles on the brush should dislodge any dirt that might’ve built up between the focus and zoom rings.

Although many lenses claim to be “waterproof” or “weatherproof,” the truth is, no lens is completely protected from liquids. Because of this, we suggest you avoid using liquid cleaners on the barrel of your lens. If you do find it absolutely necessary to do so, remember to place the cleaning solution on the microfiber cloth — not on the lens directly.

Lens contacts

Newer lenses have electronic contacts on the lens mount that drive the focusing motor, the image stabilization setup (if present), and help transfer information about the image and lens to the camera body. For the most part, you should never have to worry about these contacts. In fact, it’s best to avoid cleaning them as much as possible, since they’re often made of sensitive metals.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

But, in the event you’re getting a constant error code regarding the connection between the lens and the camera, your safest bet is to clean the camera with a standard pencil eraser. Make sure the eraser you’re using is made of a soft rubber, as certain erasers may contain abrasives that could scratch the contacts. Furthermore, ensure the lens is facing down so that shavings don’t find their way into the internal components of the lens. Again, only do this as a last-ditch effort.

Leave it to the pros

If you aren’t much of a do-it-yourselfer or you aren’t comfortable doing the steps mentioned above, then it’s possible you could accidentally damage a lens. In this instance, you should leave it to the professionals. Yes, it will cost you out of pocket, but if lens cleaning is something you do once in a while, then the money spent could be a sound investment.

Many specialty camera retailers will offer in-store lens cleaning. Even Best Buy offers such a service through its Geek Squad division. You can also check with your camera manufacturer’s customer service, which could direct you to the appropriate place for lens cleaning. If you live near one of Canon’s service centers, such as the one in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, you could even drop off a lens and have a Canon technician not only clean it, but diagnose it for possible problems.

Wrapping it up

Overall, keeping your lens working like a well-oiled machine shouldn’t take too much work once you have the required tools on hand. This is especially if you properly attach and remove it from your camera, adding both the front and rear lens caps.

If your lens has more profound problems than those mentioned in this article, or has a build up of dirt on the internal optical elements, your best bet is to contact your camera manufacturer about getting it professionally cleaned. Whether talking a manufacturer’s in-house service or that of a third party, taking care of gear is what these people do. And, trust us, it’s better to spend a couple hundred dollars having your shooter professionally cleaned than to try and do it yourself only to ruin an expensive lens.

C leaning camera sensors isn’t challenging, it just requires meticulousness and the know-how to do it safely, so you don’t damage your camera. And it’s easy to damage your camera when the sensor is wide open. Dust and other particles are flying around you all day, everyday, and the last thing you want to do is leave your sensor open for too long or too often. This article will show you how to clean camera sensors in a simple and safe way. Let’s get into it.

Camera Sensor Cleaning

Determine how dirty the sensor is

Before we get into how to clean camera sensors, how can you check if your sensor is dirty? Well number one, if you take a picture and see spots on your image, chances are, your sensor is dirty.

But keep in mind, your sensor won’t need a cleaning that often. So when does it really need it?

There’s a couple ways to tell.

Camera Sensor Cleaning

Testing for a dirty camera sensor

  1. Take a picture of a white piece of paper
  2. Set lens to the smallest aperture (f/22 or so)
  3. Check for dirt in photo- spots or specs may become apparent
  4. Put image in Photoshop, Lightroom, etc. to discover more dirt
  5. Depending on how much dirt is present, will determine which cleaning method you use

Definitely check out PhotoRec TV’s video on how to clean camera sensors for some visual, hands-on guidance. He will be going through what we’ll be describing below.

Step by step cleaning

You will most likely notice these specs before you even test your sensor, especially if you’re shooting landscape photography.

However, if you’re someone who takes portraits, or uses small aperture settings, it’s likely you won’t notice the specs at all. But once you take the steps outlined above, and determine how much dirt is present, it’s time to start cleaning. And there are a couple of ways to do that.

How to Clean Camera Sensors

Auto vs manual sensor cleaning

Your sensor is the brain of your camera, and it’s completely possible to cause irreparable damage. which is why these steps are so important. Avoid touching the sensor or cleaning it too much – because, realistically, it probably won’t need it that often.

So to be as safe as possible, it’s best to start with the auto DSLR sensor cleaning. Most cameras have one and this way you don’t need to touch or really do anything.

Indie photographer, Peter McKinnon, reminds us of critical it is to know how and when to clean your sensor. Sparingly.

Peter McKinnon makes this boring process more enjoyable

Automatic Sensor Cleaning

Most DSLRs have automatic camera sensor cleaning that occurs every time you turn the device on or off. Others make it possible for you to activate the auto sensor cleaning whenever you choose.

The mechanism violently shakes to remove the dust or other particles dirtying your sensor.

But is this sufficient? It really depends on how much dirt is present.

To test this, do exactly what we just did above. Take another picture to determine if the auto cleaning removed the dirt.

Sometimes it does a good job, sometimes it does nothing. If your sensor is filthy, it’s time to move on to manual mode.

Cleaning Your Sensor Manually

Depending on what camera you have, depends on the first step. But usually, cameras have an option or some variation to select “clean camera manually.” This flips the mirror up and allows you to access the sensor. Many cameras require you to shut off the camera immediately following the cleaning, in order to bring the mirror back down, to safely close off the sensor.

Both videos above, show how simple this process is.

Next, you’ll need to remove your camera’s lens.

Tools to Clean a Camera’s Sensor

What You’ll Need

  • Rocket Blower – Air blower to blow the dust away
  • Lens Cleaning Solution with Lens Swabs or Cloths
  • Sensor Scope or Loupe – magnifying glass with lights to further inspect dust and tiny particles on sensor

1. Now with the lens removed, simply point the camera down and used a rocket blower to blow the dust away.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Using the rocket blower

Air blowers are inexpensive and easily available for purchase almost anywhere that sells photo equipment, or online meccas like Amazon.

2. Use a lens cleaning solution and spray it onto the cloth or swab, and simply wipe the lens. Try to avoid spraying directly on the sensor.

3. If particles are still on the sensor, it’s time for the Loupe, a magnifying glass with ring lights that goes over your sensor to see everything you might have missed. The LED lights on the ring change color. The red lights on the Loupe are best for low-light situations and are best for seeing the tiniest of particles.

Pro Tip

Before you clean your sensor make sure you have a full battery. If it runs out while you’re cleaning the sensor, the mirror will slap down and you’ll have a pretty expensive repair on your hands.

Here are the links to purchase some of the equipment McKinnon used in his video to clean camera sensors.

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How to Clean a Camera Lens

Cleaning your equipment, especially the highly sensitive hardware like sensors or lenses, should obviously be done sparingly. But once you know how to clean sensors, cleaning lenses is a piece of cake. It relies on the same basic equipment, and isn’t as terrifying to the fate of your camera. But again, there are some things to avoid so your lenses remain scratch-free. Read more below.

As winter approaches, it’s not too early to start thinking about seasonal maintenance tips for keeping your vehicle clean from road salt and slush… and that includes the backup camera on the rear of your car. Here are some simple ways to keep the lens clean and how to troubleshoot some common problems that these systems have.

Clean the lens

Many rear backup cameras have lenses that are treated with different chemicals that help protect the lens from scratches and help ensure that the camera’s image quality stays sharp. According to Camera Source, it’s usually safe to use isopropyl alcohol on most camera system lenses. Apply it to a soft cloth then wipe away any grime, dirt, and debris from the lens.

A safer alternative is to use water and a cloth to wipe the lens, as many automakers recommend. Though, you can also use a non-abrasive cleaner, as’s Rick Popely suggests.

How to keep your camera lenses clean Use a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol, lens cleaner, or water to clean a backup camera lens
Photo: Marco Verch Professional Photographer and Speaker via CC

How often you clean the lens depends partly on how often you drive as well as what road conditions you encounter this winter. When the roads are messy, it’s a good idea to wipe the lens after each drive to ensure that the rear backup camera is functioning at its best.

Troubleshooting tips

A blurry camera display doesn’t always indicate a dirty lens. Sometimes a foggy display stems from an issue with the system’s wires and connections. Camera Source recommends inspecting the wires for signs of damage. Look for wires that are split or disconnected. These are often simple to fix with a splicing tool and electrical tape. If the wires look fine, check your vehicle’s fuse box to rule out the possibility of a blown fuse.

If your vehicle is newer, you likely have a wireless backup camera system. In this case, consult the owner’s manual to see how to do a factory reset, advises Camera Source. It’s a simple fix, but an effective one that can easily remedy a foggy display.

Read up on how to install a rearview camera system on an older vehicle model. Then get the scoop on how GM backup cameras use HD technology.

How to keep your camera lenses clean

Whitney Russell resides in Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming in Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not crafting car-related content, she can be found chasing after the most amazing toddler in the world, watching her “beaver” of a husband build amazing woodworking projects, hanging out with two crazy dogs, and visiting family and friends. She also enjoys traveling, crafting, and binge-watching period dramas when time allows. See more articles by Whitney.