Cleaning Your Camera

Below are a few tips you can use to get your digital camera squeaky clean. Let’s check them out!


Basic lens cleaning tools are a blower, a microfiber cloth and lens cleaning fluid (such as Zeiss). Try to blast dust off the lens with the blower or canned air. Finger prints can be removed with a circular wipe of the microfiber cloth. Persistent dirt should be removed with lens cleaning fluid as well. Always drip the fluid onto the cloth and then wipe the lens. Don’t ever put the fluid directly on the lens.

SLR Mirrors

Don’t even think about cleaning the mirror on your SLR camera. You could use a handheld blower to remove any dust particles, but canned air is too powerful. Technicians clean mirrors with some kind of special fluid and they often do it for free at camera clinics run by shops or conventions. Mirrors have very fragile surfaces and you shouldn’t even think about cleaning them with a standard lens cleaning solution or cloth.

Flash Contacts

Modern TTL flash systems have numerous contacts and if you don’t clean them every now and then with a pencil eraser or something similar, you may end up with several intermittent failures.

Camera Body Sensor

One of the great things about digital SLRs is you can change the lenses as necessary for different projects. However, during those lens changes, there is a risk of dust falling “onto the sensor.” In fact, the CMOS or CCD sensor is covered by a color filter or a clear glass plate, so the dust actually falls on the sensor’s covering. Nonetheless, you want to be careful and non-aggressive, because if anything near the sensor is scratched, the camera will have to go in for professional service.

Now’s the time to get out the owner’s manual for your camera. Make sure the battery is fully charged and then follow the instructions to flip up the mirror for the “sensor cleaning mode.” If you can’t dislodge dust using a simple hand-squeezed blower, consider visiting a camera repair shop.

Camera Body Exterior

Camera and lens bodies are fairly well sealed against dust and moisture, so you don’t really ever have to clean the exteriors of your equipment. On the other hand, if you don’t want the dirt on the camera body to work its way into your camera bag and onto an optical surface, it’s probably worth wiping off the body with a soft cloth.

Just a few things to think about. Happy cleaning!

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami