How to clean camera lenses

How to clean camera lenses?

Fine-quality photographs require a clean camera lens. That’s an obvious point every photographer knows. But what they don’t know is how to clean camera lenses? Or how to keep their camera lenses clean? Or what to avoid when cleaning camera lenses. I have been doing photography for a while now so I had to master the procedure of cleaning lenses.

You can clean your camera lens by simply using an air blower or a soft-bristled brush. Once you remove all the dust and dirt from the lens, add two drops of lens cleaning fluid on micro cloth fabric and clean as gently as possible. Rub the cloth softly, starting from the outer part in a circular motion. Moving inwards and rubbing the cloth will remove all kinds of dirt, debris, oil, figure prints, and other materials from the surface. 

If you want an in-depth guide on how to start the cleaning process, give read my article.  

 I will tell you what to avoid so you do not ruin camera lenses like I did when I first cleaned my lens using complicated methods. So let’s begin without any delay! 

Things you need to clean camera lenses:

You can’t just blow on your lens, run tissue paper over it and make it clean. Here are a few things you will need to thoroughly clean camera lenses. I will also tell you why you need these so you can decide if they are worth getting or not. 

Air blower

Air blowers will be used to get rid of dust particles, you can get a motor air blower or a manual air blower. 

Lens cleaner brushes 

The next thing is a goat lens cleaner brush that has a soft small blistered brush surface. Many people have used camel hair brushes as well and that is also safe. Any other type of brush might scratch the surface of the lens. 

Camera lens wipes 

Camera lens wipes don’t cost that much but they need to be disposed of so that’s not eco-friendly. For a more eco-friendly duster, get a microfibre lens cloth, although they are expensive they can be washed. 

Lens cleaning solution or spray 

There are many ready-made lens cleaning solutions or sprays. Having fingerprints or smudges or the rear part of lenses ruins the quality of the photo. Alternative options instead of this cleaning solution are reagent-grade isopropyl alcohol and Deionized water.


It is mostly used to clean mirrors but can clean the lens nicely. This has one end of carbon for cleaning smudges or fingerprints and the other end has a brush. 

A step-by-step guide to clean camera lenses: 

After having all the needed things, let’s get to cleaning, 

  1. Find a good lighting spot so you clean while having maximum visibility. 
  2. Get the air blower and use it to get rid of all the dust particles. 
  3. Next, you have to use the lens cleaning brush to make it overall ready for cleaning. 
  4. Dip the lens cleaning solution or spray some of it on a folded lens cleaning tissue. Use that tissue on the lens. Just make sure the cloth or issue you use does not smudge the lens surface. 
  5. Dry it by using a microfibre cloth or lens cleaning tissue. 
  6. Do steps 4 and 5 in a circular option, starting from the middle to the edges for simple yet effective cleanup without putting pressure. 
  7. For further cleaning, get cotton swabs and use them to clean the rear part of the lens
  8. Your camera lens will be cleaned by these easy steps. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes if you have multiple lenses. 

Run a test! 

Fun fact, you can run a test to check if your camera lens is clean. Just follow these steps if you have a DSLR camera lens:

  1. Put your camera on manual mode, and turn the focus ring till it gets to infinity. 
  2. You will be able to look at dust particles if there are any. 
  3. If you have a clear view then it means your lens is clean. 
  4. If you experience any moisture after cleaning then place it under sunlight or use silica gel to absorb it all out. 

Or you can take a plain photo, if you can observe any light or dark-colored spots then it means that your camera lens is dirty. To ensure you get the best picture quality, follow the above-mentioned steps. 

Tips to ensure clean camera lenses:

Clean the lens moderately, not often.

Do not clean it too often; a lens is quite sensitive. As much as glass is durable but I can not say the same for the chemicals on the surface of the lens. Getting a few fingerprints while using your camera lens is a common occurrence so do not fret too much. Just clean it before shooting or when you start to see spots in pictures.

The rear stains 

Due to the light being concentrated narrowly via the back,  the rear part stains of the lens will cause the greatest impact on photo quality. But it’s rare for grease and dirt to get to the rear part of the lens so just check before cleaning. 

Having a UV filter coating 

Inside the lens, the part that is more prone to get dirty is the lens. Plus, lenses are costly so it is wise to invest in a lens filter for protection. I recommend getting a basic UV filter right after you get a lens. 

Maintaining caps and cases

Keep caps and cases on your lens when they are not in use. Also making sure your camera lens is in a dry clean place helps keep it clean. Furthermore, keep your camera lens caps and cases clean. 

Avoid canned air and water 

The camera sensor and the optics of your camera lens can be damaged by canned air. I recommend using a manual air blower because the air from that isn’t as pressured so it’s better. Do not wash your lens in the sink with water, like dishes, even if it is weather-sealed.

Be cautious! 

Aside from tips, never follow tips given by anybody if it involves the following items: 

  • Caustic cleaners (like Ammonia, bleaching products, anti-bacterial disinfectants, or fragrant cleaners containing oil )
  • Firm-bristled cleaning brushes 
  • Wet wipes that aren’t compatible with electronics
  • Cloths and tissues that are already used
  • Towels made of paper
  • Lint-prone materials 
  • Swabs of cotton (just use it for the rear part of the lens that does not have a glass part) 
  • Soap

DIY methods to clean camera lenses: 

As you know what stuff you can not use, here are DIY methods that are safe and tested. So feel free to try these methods as it’s never recommended to do photography with a dirty lens. 

Isopropyl alcohol 

Get a small bottle that can be sprayed and fill it with 99% Isopropyl alcohol. Make sure it’s half full and fill the half bottle with water. Shake it and it can be used with a microfibre cloth to clean the lens without damaging it. 

Eyeglass cleaner 

For getting rid of stubborn smudges, eyeglass cleaner can work perfectly. Do not use it too much; only two sprays are more than enough. 

Turkey baster 

You can use a good old turkey baster in place of an air blower. It gets the job of getting rid of dust and debris done effortlessly.  

Large eye-dropper

Or for an even more budget-friendly option, you can use a large eye-dropper to clean the lens, using any of these will make your lens free from dust and somewhat clean. 


As you know lenses are expensive items of the camera, therefore, you should make sure you get the most of them. By cleaning a lens, you can keep it anew for a longer period. In addition to that, it helps in making your photographs more professional. I have given you ideal options as well as cost-effective DIY options, so choose as you please and get your camera lenses shining! You can even sell your camera lenses to the second-hand camera lenses market by cleaning them. Lastly, getting a UV filter is highly recommended. 


1. Do scratches on camera lenses affect picture quality?

Minor scratches do not impact image quality however deep scratches will show an effect in images. 

2. Is Windex alright to use for cleaning camera lenses?

No, Windex is a caustic chemical cleaning agent so avoid it at all costs. Using it will only ruin the lens. 

3. What to do if my camera is taking blurry or foggy photographs?

It might be due to dust particles, use an air blower and soft brushes to get rid of them. Take a plain photo, if it is still blurry, clean the lens thoroughly. After doing this you will get a sharp picture out of the same camera! 

4. What might go wrong when cleaning camera lenses?

Well, if things go wrong it would ruin the lens completely. Here are a few things that could go wrong: 

  • Make sure you’re not using the wrong cleaning solution as they may contain substances that are hazardous to the lens coating. 
  • The lens coating can be scratched with a coarse brush. 
  • Also, avoid contacting the bristles with your fingertips because this might leave greasy residues. 
  • The last thing that could go wrong is making the lens dirtier than before by using paper towels, tissue paper, or your clothing. These can leave fibers on your lens, making it dirtier than before. 

5. Can I use this method to clean my phone’s camera lens?

Yes, you can use the above-mentioned method to get rid of stains on a phone’s camera lens. 

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