Photography equipment can be very expensive and they tend to get dirty when used. Our equipment needs to be in tip top shape in order to perform their best and that includes them being thoroughly cleaned every now and then. What are the proper tools and equipment to use on sensitive electronics? Here's a list of cleaning materials we recommend to use when cleaning your gear (use them in an orderly manner)
Lens/ Filter Cleaning:
Air blower - A simple but effective tool. A small one lives in the bag where a larger one sits at home for my thorough cleaning sessions. You would want to use this first to get most of the dust away, when dust is wiped with a dry cloth or towel it makes some tiny scratches on the glass that we want to avoid, so having air to blow most of it helps a lot. Don't forget to use the blower on the front cap and rear cap of the lens as most dust would accumulate there.
Lens pen - Is a pen like tool that has soft bristles on one side and one tiny soft cleaning point at the other end. The soft cleaning point side is rarely used, however, the brush side helps with removing the remaining dust spots on the lens/filter and is my go to. There's no need to apply pressure when using the brush as we don't want to damage the glass on the front element or on the filter.
Lens Wipes / Microfiber cloth with Lens cleaning solution - Lens wipes are pre-moistened cleaning towelette that are safe for camera equipment. Lens wipes are very useful and it's always good to have it in a camera bag just for emergency cleaning. When at home and doing thorough cleaning, A bigger microfiber cloth is used and could be sprayed with a lens cleaning solution to the cloth first before wiping the lens/ filters. Please note that it's very important to spray it on the cloth and not directly on the lens as the solution might enter your lens and you might end up having bigger problems. This method should help you get rid of stubborn streaks or marks especially on filters. After the marks are gone, use a different area of the microfiber to wipe the lens/filter clean.
For the Camera Body:
Air Blower - Same as from the previous subject, an Air blower is a good tool to get rid of most dust in our camera body, You could use a bigger blower when cleaning the camera body as we get more dust on smaller crevices like on the view finder, the dials and hot shoe. On some cameras you can also take off the viewfinder for easier cleaning.You can also use the blower to blow some dust off from the inside of the camera body. Just make sure to do it when the camera is up and the lens mount facing downward so dust won’t get inside.
A separate lens pen - Use a different lens pen from the body and from the lens, the softer bristles you can use on the glasses and the harder bristles you use on the camera body, its very important to label the brushes as you don't want to interchange the brushes as you might damage or scratch the glasses. You can actually use a paint brush for this if you like but make sure that you only use this for the body.
microfiber - Please use a different microfiber when cleaning the camera body as well for the same reason mentioned above, you don't necessarily have to put some cleaning solution for this one unless you're cleaning the screen but for the body itself just a quick wipe and that should do it.
Sensor cleaning swab - this is the most sensitive cleaning that you can do to your camera. It's a very delicate procedure at first and you can watch multiple YouTube videos about it and practice a lot. You might want to do this indoors with almost a lab-like environment so no unwanted dust or debris can go into your sensor. **If you’re not comfortable cleaning the sensor its best to not touch it and have a professional do it for you**
A Big No-no to cleaning photography gear:
- Blowing into the camera or sensor with your mouth – a lot of new camera users make this mistake, the air we breathe has some unseen particles that would damage the coating of the glasses, worse we might accidentally damage the sensor with saliva.
- Using cotton buds/ cotton balls – for reasons that they would leave unwanted fibers onto the camera or lens.
- Using windex to clean the front element of the lens or filters – Windex is a good solution for cleaning windows and glasses….not so much for sensitive glass like the front element of a lens or a filter.
- Cleaning in a wrong environment – as mentioned above, only clean in a lab-like atmosphere to avoid unnecessary debris or unwanted particles and dust.
Cleaning the gear after every shoot is a good practice and you can schedule your thorough cleaning at least once a year including sensor cleaning. There's a lot to it but keep in mind that the gear is expensive and would require some TLC for them to perform at their full potential as well. Please keep in mind that this is one way of cleaning your gear, there's a lot more different ways or procedures online and it's up to you to decide and have your "own" method. Hopefully this article helps you to get your gear cleaned and ready for another shoot.
For links on some cleaning materials:Cleaning Goods
For my recommendations:
Lens Pen Kit (Different sizes pen):
Cleaning Solution Kit:
Sensor Cleaning Kits: 2 sizes for APS-C and for Full Frame Cameras make sure you get the correct size.
- For APS-C (Crop censored camera): VisibleDust Thin Lite-X Light Cleaning Kit 1.6x
- For Full Frame Camera: VisibleDust Thin Lite-X Light Cleaning 1.0x
Your Resident Photographer at Broadway Camera