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How To Clean and Maintain Camera Lens

Last Updated on September 22, 2021 by PixelPluck

A lens is a writing tool for a Photographer. It gathers the light and focuses it on the sensor. The glass elements in the lens must be properly aligned and spotlessly clean. Keeping the lens clean and safe is most important in photography. A photographer must respect his tools. If you understand the basics of cleaning your lens then it will be easy to do at home. In this article, you will find the best practices to follow to clean and maintain your camera lenses at home.

Expensive professional lenses often come with weather sealing which means humidity can not enter inside the lens. Pro Lenses have better build quality compared to the entry-level kit lenses. The toughness doesn’t guarantee safety when dropped. Lenses are full of fragile miniature parts. Any significant impact will cause damage to the lens elements. During the rainy season, the humidity levels are high and moisture may enter inside the lens elements of cheaper lenses. This develops into fungus if attention is not paid to dry it out. Also, read how to get rid of fungus inside the lens.

how to remove fungus on the lens?
Fungus growing inside a Lens

Step by Step Guide on How To Clean and Maintain Camera Lenses

Avoid Humidity and Moisture

Never let water get inside the lens. Minimize the exposure to rain and humid locations. A hot and humid environment builds up moisture around the lens. When the lens is kept inside the bag which is cooler than its surroundings, it forms condensation vapors inside it. This may lead to the growth of fungus inside the lens. This happens particularly around beaches where the salt and moisture concentration is high in the air. All of these things are hazardous to the health of your camera lens. Lenses are rather impervious to dry snow (wet snow should be avoided) because it bounces off the lens. The growth of fungus inside the lens may deteriorate the lens surface.

Use Lens Pouch

Keep the glass in your lens perfectly clean. Preventing dirt from finding its way on the lens in the first place is much better than cleaning it off. Cheaper pouches have a poor closing mechanism. A good-quality lens pouch will also keep your lens safe from occasional bumps when traveling. Check for the best Lens Pouches here.

Use Lens Caps

Always use lens caps on both the front and rear when the lens isn’t mounted on the camera body. Leaving the optical elements exposed may lead to scratches on the glass part of the lens. Immediately screw the lens caps on both ends after use.

Keep Lens facing downwards

Never let an uncovered lens point straight up for any length of time so dust can’t settle on it. When in idle mode, always point the camera lens downwards. This ensures minimal accumulation of dust particles on the lens elements.

Avoid touching Lens glass

Never touch the glass part of the lens with your fingers. It leaves oil stains and smudges which are difficult to remove without a microfiber cloth. Always carry several clean microfiber cloths along with the camera and lens. Every time you use a lens, always check the glass surface for any dust, smudges, or dirt. Most of the time you will find something on the glass that shouldn’t be there so always clean it off.

Use Lens brush to remove sand or grit

Sand and grit particles are abrasive. They may damage the lens by forming a scratch on the surface when you try to wipe it off. Use a soft lens-cleaning brush to remove loose grit from the surface of the lens. Point the lens down while gently brushing the lens to let gravity help you remove the dirt. Carefully check the lens again to make sure all of the grit is gone. If not, repeat the process. A plastic bag or its case works well to keep the brush clean. If all of the dust and dirt is removed from the lens, go ahead and mount the lens hood and you are ready to shoot.

Guide to Clean and Maintain Camera Lens
Use Lens Brush to remove Gritty Particles before using Microfiber Cloth

Use Microfiber Cloth

If you notice any smudges on the glass surfaces then brushing the lens won’t be helpful. You’ll need to use a microfiber cloth to gently rub the lens beginning in the middle and work your way out to the edges of the lens. Use spiral galaxy-like motion to start in the center of the lens and finish off at the edge. Move the cloth in a circular motion. A microfiber cloth is specially made to clean optical glass surfaces and does a great job of it. It doesn’t leave lint on the surface. If the smudge is still present, try using a lens cleaner solution applied directly to the microfiber cloth (not the lens surface) and rub again. This certainly cleans off the lens.
Get microfiber cloth here.

Note: A word of warning. Never use the microfiber cloth first to clean the lens. Always use the lens cleaning brush first because the last thing you want to do is use the cloth to grind the lens with a bit of grit. Use a Rocket blower to blow off any visible sand particle.

Use Lens Pen

Lens pen is one of the most popular products to keep your camera lens clean. It acts as a pen with a wiper. The lens pen comes with a self-cleaning tip. Make sure to replace your lens pen once it dries out. Get a Lens Pen here.

Tools Required for Lens Maintenance and Cleaning

It would be a better idea to get entire lens cleaning and maintenance kit than to get individual items. One of the popular lens cleaning kits is Altura Professional Cleaning Kit for DSLR Cameras and Lenses. The Lens Cleaning Kit consists of the following items:

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Lens Brush
  • Lens Pouch
  • Liquid Cleaner
  • Rocket Blower
  • Sensor swab

Do not try to polish your lens to get better results. Polishing your photography skills will certainly be more helpful. Only add clean accessories and filters to the lens. Filters and teleconverters come in the optical path between sensor the subject so they must be clean. Many people use UV protection filters to keep dirt away from the lens as well as to protect it. These filters must be kept clean. The UV filter/Polarizer does add some physical protection. A poor quality glass filter degrades the image quality as it will obstruct the amount of light falling onto the sensor. It may also distort the path of light which normally shows up as a slight loss of sharpness and contrast.

These steps will be helpful in cleaning and maintaining your camera lens. To clean your camera sensor read How to Clean dust from your camera sensor. This concludes our detailed guide on How To Clean and Maintain Camera Lenses.


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Let us know in the comments below if you have got any additional tips.

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