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What is the best way to clean camera?

Cleaning your camera and lens(s) regularly is extremely important for photo quality. Especially if you shoot outdoors at all.

Dust can get onto the lens, filters and even inside the camera on the sensor and mechanical parts. Here is info you need to effectively and safely clean your camera.

What is the best way to clean camera

Protect your investment as well as your photo quality

Dust and grit can wreak havoc on moving parts, wearing them down and jamming them up. It is important to maintain the functionality and appearance of the camera, lens and other accessories. And it also just feels great to use a clean shiny piece of equipment.

Don’t do these things

Normally I would put the list of things you should DO first, but in this case, it is important to have the DON’Ts spelled out right up front.


Both of these have way too much pressure and can easily damage sensitive components or cause dust particle to become abrasive like sandpaper.

That means scratches, and scratches and cameras simply don’t mix. Also, canned air contains a liquid propellant that is freezing cold, and could damage shutter and sensor.


Again, it comes down to dust and grit. Blow off the lens or brush it before using a wipe or microfiber cloth to ensure you are not sanding the surface of the lens.


Always drag the brush away from the tips of the bristles. Pressing the tips of the bristles into the lens can cause micro scratches over time the lens will lose sharpness. 


Even if you drop your camera in the mud, rinsing it is just not an option. To clean your camera, the best option is to let the mud dry. Gently pry it off with your fingers.

Use a squeeze blower and soft brush to remove as much dirt as possible. Cotton swabs will help but don’t scrub with them. Remember dirt equals grit and grit equals sandpaper!

How to Clean a Camera: the Right Way

Needed Items

Build yourself a little kit to clean your camera. I usually keep this stuff in a quart sized Ziplock bag that is easy to stuff into my camera bag. Here is the list:

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1. Lens Cleaning wipes

Personally, I like the Zeiss brand lens wipes. They are not too wet or too dry. Just moist enough to do a terrific job cleaning the lens. I have tried several other brands. Trust me the Zeiss are the way to go!

2. Microfiber Lens cloth

Keep this is a separate small zip lock bag inside the larger bag. Shake the cloth out both before and after using. Occasionally clean the cloth in cold water with a drop or two of mild dish soap (bleach free). Rinse thoroughly and let air dry.

3. Small soft haired brush

You want to make sure you don’t touch the brush bristles with your fingers as it transfers oil to the brush. I like a brush with retracting bristles.

4. Small squeeze type air puffer

This is an important piece of the kit. You need one with good air output.

5. Soft lint free cloth

You just need something soft and gentle to clean your camera. If you cannot find one that is lint free, that’s OK, you’ll just need to use the puffer afterwards to blow off any lint. Honestly, you should probably do that anyway.

6. Cotton Swabs

Can be used to clean nooks and crannies of the exterior of the camera. You can also clip off the cotton ball and just use the stick as well to clean your camera.

7. Small alcohol wipes

Can be found in the drug department under diabetic supplies. For cleaning electrical contacts.

The Cleaning Procedure

1. Cleaning the lens

Be sure to keep a cap on the end of the lens you are NOT cleaning to protect it. First use the puffer or the brush remove any lose particles from the lens.

Using one of the lens wipes, gently clean the back of the lens (the part that goes in the camera), and then buff with the microfiber cloth. Using an alcohol wipe, gently clean the metallic electrical contacts on the back of the lens.

Perform the same operation on the front of the lens, other than the alcohol wipe as there are no contacts on the front. Cleaning lens filters is roughly the same process. Just lay the filter on a soft cloth. Gently clear the side facing up. Flip it over and do the other side.

2. Cleaning the camera body

Hold the body with no lens attached, face down and tap on the bottom and back to expel anything that may be inside.

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Using the puffer blow puffs into the body and different angles to dislodge dust or other particles. Repeat the tapping procedure. Gently brush around the opening, clean the contacts and replace the lens.

Using the lint free cloth, wipe down the entire exterior of the camera and lens. Before putting the cloth away, shake it out to ensure its free from debris. Launder the cloth now and then.

Bonus Tip

Some DSLR’s have a dust data feature that will take a reference photo (white sheet of paper) and use that to determine if there are any spots in the image.

If dust spots are found, the camera will save that info to try to remove the spot using adjacent image information to fill in when a photo is taken.


The process to clean your camera is not rocket science but like all things there is a proper way to do it.

I hope these tips have helped with both the process and the items you might need to be successful. Now that you have a nice clean camera, lets get out there and take some awesome photos!

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Jason Baxter

Jason is a professional photographer based in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Loyd has been doing photography for over 14 years and specializes in fine art landscape photography. Loyd's work has appeared on book covers, CD covers, television, internet galleries, and on the walls of private residences.