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How To Clean Dust from DSLR Sensor

Last Updated on November 3, 2016 by PixelPluck

How To Clean Dust from DSLR Sensor

A lot of photographers face the issue of random soft or dark spots appearing on their photographs. This may be anything on your front or rear lens element and in worst case on the sensor itself. Here is a step by step guide to diagnose the issue of random spots or soft spots appearing in each of your photographs. Read Tips on How To Clean Dust from DSLR Sensor.

Usually they appear at the same location in each photograph. This confirms that the dust particles are stationary. First you should try blowing air on the front and rear glass elements of your lens. Never blow air with you mouth as you will be spraying fine water droplets on the glass element which will later become smudge. It may also corrode inner parts of your lens part due to high moisture content. sensor-cleaning-before-and-after

Always use a Rocket blower to blow air on the lens or the camera itself. Rocket Blower ejects high speed air through it’s nozzle on a specific part and mostly blows away all small dust particles. If the dust particle is sticky then it may not be of any help and you will have to use a micro fiber cloth to wipe the dust from lens.

Once you are done cleaning the front and back glass element on the lens, check again for the soft spots by taking a photograph of white paper or wall. If the issue still persists then the problem may be presence of dust particle on your sensor.

Most DSLRs have inbuilt electronic mechanism which cleans the sensor automatically. Check your camera manual or leave a comment below for additional help.

Use MENU to clean your sensor
Use MENU to clean your sensor

Cleaning sensor is very tricky as it is one of the most sophisticated part of camera. Use maximum precautions while cleaning the inner parts of the camera.

Here is a step by step guide to clean sensor of the camera.

  • Remove the lens from the DSLR.
  • Switch on the camera and use lock mirror-up option in the menu.
  • Check your camera manual on how to use lock mirror-up option. When the mirror is up the sensor of the camera is exposed.
  • Hold your camera in such a way that the exposed part is facing downwards.
  • Use rocket blower to blow air on the sensor. blowing air on the sensor will not damage your sensor in anyway and is highly recommended while fixing dust issue.
  • Ensure that the tip of your rocket blower do not touch any of the physical elements present inside the DSLR.
  • Blow air all over the sensor area.
  • Do not touch the sensor with hand or anything.
  • Never clean the sensor with the micro fiber cloth as the wiping pressure may damage the sensor.
  • After blowing air release the mirror to it’s normal position and switch off the DSLR.
  • mount the lens and take a photo of white surface.
  • In most cases the issue should be resolved but if it still persists then it may be a sticky dust particle or oil.

Check All-in-one DSLR Cleaning Kit here. It contains everything you will need to keep your camera clean and healthy.

If these steps do not help you to resolve the issue then additional steps need to be taken. At this stage it is highly recommended to take your DSLR to nearest authorized service center to get the sensor cleaned. It will only cost your a few dollars.

However if you are do-it-yourself type of person then read on to find out how to clean your sensor using Sensor Swabs. It is fairly simple process but requires precision and practice.

Sensor cleaning swabs are non-alcoholic water based which ensures minimum friction and static build up. Micrometer level fiber cloth absorbs and sweeps invisible particles while super thin and flexible cleaning-tongue spread pressure evenly for safe and complete cleaning.

How To Clean Dust from DSLR Sensor
Sensor Cleaning Swabs
  • Set camera to sensor clean mode (make sure your camera’s battery is fully charged).
  • Remove the lens.
  • Use professional air blower to blast the dust from sensor.
  • Remove the sensor cleaning swab form its vacuumed package and drip 1-2 drops of Cleaning Liquid on the head of the swab.
  • Gently drag the swab from the left of the sensor to the right. Turn the swap around and drag the clean side from the right of the sensor to the left.
  • Exit clean mode when cleaning finished. Turn off power and install lens.


Note: You will need different size swabs for crop sensor and full frame DSLR.

Read about Crop sensor vs Full frame DSLR here.

Check Sensor swab For crop sensor DSLR: UES for standard APS-C
Check Sensor swab For full frame DSLR:  UES for Full Frame

Avoid changing lens is dusty environments. Get yourself a good DSLR backpack and use it as a cover to change lens when you have to.

Let us know in comments if you have any specific issue or query. We will try our level best to help you. Feel free to share the post if your found it useful.

Also read Tips on How to maintain DSLR Lens.

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