Skip to Content

Tech maintenance how-to: Safely clean your camera gear

If you’ve ever been into photography, you know how expensive it can be for all the gear you need. Even if you’re just a weekend warrior shutterbug snapping pictures for fun, it can cost a pretty penny.

That’s why you really need to take good care of the equipment you have. You want it to last as long as possible. Keeping your gear shiny and clean can help extend its life longer than you might imagine.

But the cleaning process needs to be done the right way so you don’t damage the equipment. Here are some tips to teach you how to safely clean your camera gear:

Fingerprints and smudges are the enemies

Camera lenses and filters are very sensitive and easily pick up fingerprints and smudges — especially if you’re frequently changing the lens.

The easiest way to keep a lens clean is to have the lens cap on at all times when it’s not in use. This protects it from getting dirty and will help prevent accidental damage to the glass element.

Another great practice is to keep all lenses not in use put away in your camera bag or backpack. Also, make sure the bag is closed up tight so no dirt, dust or water can get inside and cause damage.

Cleaning camera lenses

Let’s face it, no matter how careful you are in handling camera lenses, they inevitably get dirty. It’s just the nature of the game, especially if you like taking pictures near water or out on the hiking trail.

If some dirt does make its way onto your lens, don’t make the mistake of trying to blow it off with air from your mouth. That can create more problems by accidentally spraying saliva on the lens.

Instead, make sure you have an air blower on hand to remove any dirt or dust. Always have one in your camera bag so you’re ready to clean your gear no matter where you are. Just make sure to stay away from compressed air because it’s much more powerful and can end up damaging your equipment.

Once the dust has been removed, it’s time to take care of those smudges. You have a couple of really good options for this.

The first is an item called a LensPen cleaner. It looks like a pen and has two functioning sides. One side is a fine cleaning brush, which is retractable, and the other side is a special non-liquid cleaning element designed to never dry out.

The second option for cleaning fingerprints and smudges is a standard microfiber cloth with a little lens cleaning fluid. Just put a small dab of cleaning fluid on the cloth and remove the smudges by wiping the lens in a circular motion. This should do the trick nicely and quickly.

There are a lot of options out, including this basic kit on Amazon that comes with a blower, lens brush and microfiber cleaning cloths.

Looking for more photography tips and examples of pro-quality shots? Visit Dreamstime for inspiration and pro photography advice.

Cleaning the more sensitive areas

Your camera sensor is the most sensitive part of your gear. Keeping this clean is essential. That’s why when you’re changing lenses it’s important to put the new one on as soon as you remove the old. Also, when changing lenses, make sure to have the camera’s sensor pointing down so dust doesn’t accidentally fall on it.

If dust happens to get on the sensor, use the air blower we talked about earlier to remove it. If this doesn’t get the job done you can try wiping the sensor clean with lens cleaning swabs.

But be careful, you don’t want to damage the sensor. If you’re having trouble getting it clean, it’s best to take it to a service center that will clean it for you. As we said, this is a sensitive part of the camera and you don’t want to permanently damage it.

Finally, don’t just focus on the camera when it comes to cleanliness. Make sure to keep your other equipment clean as well, like your tripod and camera bag.

For the tripod, just wipe it down with a microfiber cloth every now and then so it’s not full of dirt that could end up getting onto the camera. As for the camera bag, make sure all the equipment is out and give it a good cleaning with a vacuum or even a wet rag. The cleaner your bag is, the less chance there is to transfer dirt into the sensitive areas of the camera.

As an Amazon Association, may earn a commission from qualifying purchases made on

Refer friends, earn rewards

Share your source of digital lifestyle news, tips and advice with friends and family, and you'll be on your way to earning awesome rewards!

Get started