Keeping your camera lens and filters clean are crucial for crisp photos and footage. In this post, you’ll learn how to clean camera lens and filters. No need to hire someone else to do this. The tips and gear in this post will have you safely cleaning your camera lenses in minutes.
There are certain tools that will help you to effectively clean your camera’s lens and filters. Some of the main tools are Air Blowers, Lens Brushes, Lens Cleaner, and Microfiber Lens Cloths.
Here’s more about each of these lens cleaning tools.
Camera Lens Cleaning Gear: 4 Things
- Air Blowers: I like the Giottos Rocket Blaster and it’s what I have in my gear bag. For most cases, the small size will do everything you need. This uses a focus blast of air to safely remove dust and dirt.
- LensPen: Combines a cleaning tip with natural chamois and retractable brush to gently remove dust and fingerprints. Lots of brands carry the LensPen and they seem to all be basically the same. This LensPen by Nikon is well reviewed and economical.
- Lens Cleaner: If you can’t just blow away the dust or wipe off a minor print, you might need some help. This lens cleaner by Carl Zeiss is safe to use on all cameras, cell phones, and even laptops.
- Microfiber Lens Cloths: This is important for cleaning and maintaining your camera lens. These come in many sizes and brands. This one by Nikon comes in a clip carry case – to keep your cloth clean for when you need it. Or you can save a little money with this MagicFiber 6-pack.
Cleaning your camera filters and lens isn’t as hard as it sounds and can very easily be done at home.
However, it is important to use the correct techniques to do so, to prevent any unnecessary damage to your camera. The last thing you want is a scratch or two. And using the right technique will quickly clean your lens for crisp photos and footage every time.
14 Tips for Cleaning Camera Lens and Filters
Cleaning your camera lens isn’t hard but there are a few things to know before getting started.
Check out this list of things to do and to avoid when cleaning a camera’s lens and filters:
5 Things to Do: Cleaning Your Camera Lens
To ensure your camera is handled correctly and to avoid damage, try to:
- Use light, circular motions to remove stubborn smudges
- Clean your microfiber cloth regularly
- Use a soft-bristled lens brush or cleaning tip
- Only use liquid lens cleaner or alcohol wipes if necessary
- Keep your lens cap on your camera when not in use to avoid dust from entering delicate parts
9 Things to Avoid When Lens Cleaning
To ensure you don’t cause any unnecessary damage to your lens and filters, here are nine things to avoid.
You should avoid the following:
- Touch the glass surfaces with your bare fingers
- Blow on the surfaces using your mouth
- Touch the bristles on your lens brush
- Use a lens brush with harsh bristles
- Use household cleaners or acetone to clean your lens or filters
- Press too hard when cleaning your lens or filters
- Spray liquid lens cleaner directly onto the lens or filters – spray onto a microfiber cloth
- Use tissues or paper towels – these may seem soft but are quite rough and abrasive
- Clean your lens and filters too often – only when necessary
If you’re planning on cleaning your phone camera lens, this guide will help.
Prefer video? This video will walk you though step by step.
Now, on to the four steps to clean your camera lens.
How to Clean a Camera Lens in 4 Steps
Here are four steps to follow to remove dirt, dust, and smudges from your camera lens.
Start with the first step and move through them until you have successfully cleaned your lens and filter.
1. Use an Air Blower to Remove Dust
An air blower is a cheap and efficient tool to use when you want to remove small amounts of dust from your lens or filters.
The air blower uses a focused blast of clean air to safely remove dust and dirt.
While it might be tempting to just use your mouth to blow away away dust, it isn’t the best solution.
This is because your breath is humid and can increase condensation on the glass, which can cause the dust to stick to the surface. You can also end up with some accidental saliva on there too, which can cause smudges, which results in more work.
And your breath is hard to focus the same as an air blower created for this purpose.
Best Air Blower? We recommend Giottos Rocket Air. They come in 3 sizes (small, medium, large) and two colors (black and red). I have the small black one in my gear bag, as pictured above.
Air blowers are quick and simple to use. Simply remove the caps from your lens and filters, identify where the dust is and squeeze the blower to expel air, which blows the dust away.
If this action does not remove all of the dust and residue, you may need to move on to step two.
Need a tutorial? Check out this video by Digital Goja:
2. Try a Lens Brush / LensPen to Remove Lens Dust
A lens brush essentially does the same job as an air blower. However, it touches the surface, which makes it a great tool for removing thicker or more stubborn dust and residue.
There are many different types of lens brushes on the market with different material bristles, both synthetic and real hair.
Make sure to use a material made for lens, otherwise you might cause a scratch and harm your lens.
LensPen makes a lens brush that also has a cleaning tip on the other end. The lens cleaning tip uses a very soft material – often a natural chamois – to remove debris.
Best Lens Brush? My favorite is the LensPen – the bristle brush retracts and also includes a cleaning tip on the other side.
The most recommended type of bristle for cameras is camel hair – sounds strange, but it works. This is because the dust and debris doesn’t cling to camel hair – but is quickly shed.
If you have a clean, soft makeup brush lying around the house, this could also be a good option for keeping your camera glass clean. However, keep in mind that it must be clean. The last thing you want is to add extra dust and residue to the glass in your camera’s parts.
Ensure that whatever brush you choose is kept in a clean and dry environment and try not to touch the bristles. Oils and dirt from your hands can soak into the bristles and be transferred to your camera’s glass surfaces, which can cause smears that are much harder to remove.
3. Microfiber Cloth for Lens Cleaning
You may have these lying around your house for all that household dusting and cleaning. Microfiber cloths are amazing at gripping onto dust and dirt and removing it from your belongings.
They are also very easy to clean – just chuck them on a warm wash in the washing machine!
They are also great at removing smudges, such as oils and fingerprints, when used in circular motions.
It’s great to have a few of these on hand if an air blower or lens brush didn’t finish the job.
The video tutorial will help see the best way to clean your lens with a microfiber cloth.
Best Microfiber Lens Cloth? I like this set by MagicFiber. They absorb and remove dust, oil, fingerprints, and dirt. And if used correctly, it will leave no scratches or lint.
Make sure you use your microfiber cloth only to clean your camera.
The last thing you want is to transfer dust, dirt, and residue from the darkest corners of your home directly onto your camera’s sensitive glass surfaces.
This can cause more damage and have you moving on to step 4!
4. Camera Lens Cleaner
If the first three steps weren’t enough to get your camera lens sparkling clean, it might be time to bring out the big guns.
Camera lens cleaner is something you want to try to avoid using when it comes to polishing your lens and filters. However, sometimes it’s the only thing that will get the job done to your satisfaction.
When choosing a lens cleaner, it’s essential to look for something without acetone. Acetone is known to be amazing for cleaning; however, it will not go down well with the glass and plastic on your camera lens
Best Camera Lens Cleaner? You want a cleaner that won’t be too harsh and damage any coating on your camera lens. This lens cleaner by Carl Zeiss is safe and will remove any fingerprints or smudges from your lenses.
Acetone can cause corrosion of plastic on cameras and can react with the glass on your camera lens and filters, which can cause permanent damage in the future. Look for a lens cleaner designed specifically for cameras, just to be on the safe side.
You can also purchase packs of alcohol wipes, which are amazing for cleaning smudges from your lens and filters, leaving them smudge-free.
All household cleaners are a big no-no when it comes to cleaning the lens of your camera.
The basic rule of thumb is: if it wasn’t designed for a camera, don’t use it on your camera.
More reading: How to Turn Off Your Camera Sound (All Cameras & Phones)
How to Clean Camera Filters: 6 Tips
The process of cleaning your camera filters is the same as your main camera lens.
- Start with the lens blower.
- Try the cleaning tip or lens brush if the dust remains.
- Avoid using dirty cloths and brushes.
- Avoid spraying cleaner directly on the camera filter.
- Clean the outer surface of the filter first. Unless you recently added the filter to your lens, the dust or smudge is likely on the outer filter surface.
- Be careful not to apply too much pressure. Camera filters are are more fragile than lens and lack the same structure and thickness.
Cleaning a camera is pretty easy to do at home once you know the correct steps and have the essential tools.
It’s extremely important you handle your camera with care when removing and cleaning the delicate glass parts, as they can be easily damaged. But once you’ve mastered the steps, there’s no need for professional help!
That being said, if you are having trouble cleaning your camera’s lens or filters, ensure you consult the knowledge of a pro to avoid any permanent damage that could be costly in the future.
Have a tip to share? Or favorite piece of lens cleaning gear? Let me know in the comments.
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is co-founder and blogger on ClickLikeThis. We cover action cameras and outdoor photography with a focus on GoPro cameras.
He is a travel blogger at Storyteller.Travel and co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with his wife, Dena.