How to Clean Your Camera Lens (With Example Photos)

How to clean camera lens

How to Clean Your Camera Lens

I will be the first to admit that I’m a camera gear junkie. I love my camera gear, old and new, and I totally treat it like a baby.

Just like your monitor, TV,  or glasses, sometimes, you need to clean your camera lenses. Unless you have a filter on your lens, the glass IS going to get dusty, and eventually it may even get some filmy grime on it (yuck, but pretty normal, too).

This is a short tutorial on how to clean your camera lens!

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Step 1: Buy a Lens Cleaning Kit

There are a variety of lens cleaning kits, but I love this kit (listed on B&H Giottos Lens Cleaning Kit with Small Rocket Air Blower) because it has a small amount of everything I need and is reasonably priced. I am pretty careful with my gear, and do not find myself shooting in areas with a lot of dust/sand/dirt, so I don’t need a lot of cleaning products.

when i read “small rocket air blower” I was sold. 

Here is what you will find inside:

  • Retractable Goat’s Hair Brush
  • White Microfiber Cloth
  • Spray Bottle of Cleaning Solution
  • Pointed and Blunt End Swabs

camera lens cleaner

Step 2: Prepare Your Lens!

If there is a filter on your lens, remove it so that the lens is bare.

Try to do this in as dust-free of an environment as possible. Also, make sure not to use any paper towels – they have loose fibers that will stick to your lens. Only use the lens cloth!

how to clean lens

Step 3. Dip the Swab in the Cleaning Solution

Dip the pointed end of the swab in the solution (Tip: I’ve also used this solution to clean my glasses and didn’t regret it) then dab it on the back of your hand to remove the excess solution. You want the swab to be barely damp:

best way to clean camera lens

Step 4. Swab the Lens

Gently swab the lens, especially near the edges of the glass where dust and dirt tend to build up:

how to clean your camera lens

Step 5. Use Microfiber Cloth

After swabbing the lens, I like to use the microfiber cloth to remove any leftover dirt – this cloth is what gets the lens super clean, and it is a good thing to carry in your camera bag if you don’t already have a lens cloth. I also use it to wipe the dust off my scanner:

how to clean dslr lens

Step 6. Use the Brush

Use the brush for one last sweep to catch any remaining dust. You can also use the rocket air blower, but I have found that I can be more precise with the brush than I am with the rocket:

how to clean camera lens at home

Step 7. Check & Clean the Back of Lens If Needed

You can also remove your lens to see if the back/bottom needs to be cleaned, but it really shouldn’t need cleaning if you are taking good care of your camera and lens. If, for some reason, there is a bit of dust on the back of the lens, gently remove it with the brush.

I can’t stress enough how important it is when you remove your lens to either a) put a body cap on your camera (preferred) or b) put another lens on your camera so that it isn’t sitting open and getting dust in it. Even if you can’t see them, there are dust particles floating in the air, and they will magically find their way to your camera’s sensor.

how do you clean a camera lens

Note: I would not advise using any of these items to clean the inside of your camera. EVER. The sensors on DSLRs are extremely sensitive, and one misstep can cost you your camera. I would err on the side of caution and have your camera professionally cleaned.


A lens cleaning kit is a nice little accessory to have, and cleaning your lenses when they need it (I do this at least once a year) will not only help ensure your images are sharp and clear, but your gear will also last much, much longer.

To finish off, here are some additional tips to help you keep your camera and lenses clean. Follow these extra steps to avoid headaches later down the road:

  • Always keep your camera in a camera bag when you aren’t using it – don’t leave your gear out on a shelf or on your desk.
  • Put a lens cap on your lens when you aren’t shooting.
  • If you remove your lens from your camera, make sure to either put a different lens on the camera, or put the body cap on the camera.

Do you have any questions or comments about How to Clean Your Camera Lens?  Leave us a comment below – we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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