How to Clean Your Digital SLR Camera and Lens

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It is very important to maintain your digital SLR camera which involves cleaning it along with its related components. This article will assist you and provide some information on how to carefully clean the most important items. The cleaning process may sound simple but you really have to be careful. A clean camera is a happy camera. You’ll take better photos with a clean camera so plan to clean it regularly.

how to clean your camera and lens

"Lens Baby, Plate 3" captured by Thomas Hawk (Click Image to See More From Thomas Hawk)

The Lens

There are generally three parts you need to clean in a lens. The three parts are: the front-side lens, the back-side lens, and the filter (if you have one).

  1. Place your lens on a stable platform (i.e. table) in an isolated area: preferably the bathroom or somewhere that has very little dust.
  2. Use a blower on the front-side of the lens to blow some of the larger dust away
  3. Drop about 5-6 drops of lens solution onto the front-side of the lens
  4. Using a micro-fiber cloth, gently wipe the lens in a spiral movement starting from the center.
  5. Using the same micro-fiber cloth, repeat the spiral motion from the center a couple of times.
  6. Use the blower to give it a final blow on the lens.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 to clean the filter as well.
  8. For the back-side of the lens, use a blower to blow the dust away and use a soft brush to brush the dust away. I do not recommend you to use the lens solution on the back-side of the lens as it may damage the lens.

The Sensor

Before reading through this here is a disclaimer:

“I am not and will not be responsible for any damage occur to your camera. All camera damages are under the responsibility of the owner. The following information provided will assist you in cleaning the sensor of the camera. All physical activities done upon the camera are of the owner’s choice and judgment.”

I write this disclaimer because the sensor is the most expensive, delicate, fragile, and important component in your camera. Therefore YOU have to take care of it properly. The bad news is that your sensor WILL eventually become dirty and you will eventually have to clean it. The choice is yours.

To check whether or not your sensor is dirty you can run a simple test. Set your camera into aperture-priority mode and select the maximum F-number (smallest aperture). Set your focusing to manual-focus and focus to infinity. Point towards a bright, and plain source and take the photo. Preview the photo to detect any apparent black spots. The spots are dust in your sensor. To clean the sensor read the following steps.

  1. Lock your mirror up (Refer to your owner’s manual for this feature)
  2. Place the camera on a stable platform (i.e. table) in an isolated area: preferably the bathroom or somewhere that has very little dust.
  3. Remove the lens from the camera body
  4. Use a blower initially to blow the larger dust particle away.
  5. Use a sensor cleaner to gently wipe the sensor.
  6. Wipe the sensor either in a linear pattern, a star pattern or a spiral pattern starting from the center. (The aim is to remove all the dust by wiping away from the center).
  7. Attach the lens back into the body and check if all the dust is gone.
  8. If not, repeat steps 1 to 6

Cleaning Camera Do Nots:

  • Do not use the same brush for the lens and for the reflex-mirror
  • Do not use a lens cleaner to clean the sensor
  • Do not use any cleaner to clean your sensor unless it says ‘Sensor-Cleaner’
  • Do not press on your sensor too hard while cleaning (Be patient!)
  • Do not use too much lens solution for your lenses (All lens are coated with a fine digital film to protect the lens. You might “cleaned” this away!)
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner for your sensor (Although I’ve seen people done it, the risk is just too high!)

About the Author
Joe Chin is a passionate photographer who constantly gives advices to those who just begun their journey in photography. Click the following link to get all the comprehensive information of Joe’s tips and strategies which may help you to capture fantastic and breath-taking photographs. Visit his website here:

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  1. Katie says:

    Great tips there. Glad you mentioned vacuum cleaners in your “don’t” section. I’ve seen a few people do it and it’s not a good idea!

  2. Shane says:

    Nice concise article. I messed up the coating of a filter using lens fluid. Maybe I used too much? I think it’s better to avoid using lens fluid on some kinds of filters, e.g. fluorescent filters.

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