Cleaning your photographic equipment is essential, especially when it comes to lenses. In this photography tutorial we’ll show you in just four simple steps how to clean a camera lens so you can enjoy blemish-free photos.
A lens is the one piece of gear that can cost you more than your camera, so it’s worth keeping it well-maintained so that it continues to create fine images for a lifetime. Learning how to clean a camera lens properly will ensure that you get the best optical quality, and help to avoid spots and smears on your images.
You’ll need a blower brush, a microfibre cloth and some lens-cleaning fluid, all of which you can buy from camera shops. While the exposed glass elements are the most important parts of the lens when it comes to optical quality, it’s also worth giving the casing a good clean.
Some lenses are weather-sealed, but avoid using your cloth dampened with water. If there’s dirt that’s hard to remove, be careful if you’re using liquid-based cleaners, as the electronics inside your lens are extremely sensitive.
- For more on camera care, see our Perfectly safe guide to sensor cleaning
Step-by-step how to clean a camera lens
01 Remove the filter
A good way to protect the front element of your lens is with a standard UV filter such as the Hoya UV(0). Before cleaning, remove any filter you’ve been using. If you haven’t removed the filter for a while you may find this difficult, in which case use a cloth to get a better grip.
02 Blast away dust
Dust on the lens can be a real issue, so use a blower brush to remove any loose dust or grit around the front element. Repeat the process for the rear element. You’ll need to extend a zoom lens to either its narrowest or widest focal length to make the glass accessible.
03 Get rid of moisture with a microfibre cloth
As residue left by rain or general moisture may still remain, rub both the front and rear elements in a circular motion with a microfibre cloth. Dry cleaning will shift most dirt, but oil and grease left by fingers can leave a thin film across the glass.
04 Lens-cleaning fluid
To help remove greasy stains, use lens-cleaning fluid. Tip a small amount on to a microfibre cloth, then rub in a circular motion to remove the last of the dirt. When you’ve finished, repeat the cleaning process for your filters, then reconnect your filters and lens caps.