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How to clean DSLR Cameras Correctly

In this article, I will show you how to clean DSLR cameras for the best user experience and quality output.

If you have ever used a Point and Shoot camera, you will notice that the cleaning process is very different compared to a DSLR camera. 

This is mainly because of the difference in accessories and the lens changing nature on DSLRs that is not possible on Point and Shoot cameras.

There are different parts that you will need to clean on your Camera. They may however vary depending on your Camera’s Layout. 

The main parts to clean include, Lenses, Body, LCD Screen, Mirror, Image Sensor.

Cleaning the Body and LCD screen

Cleaning the exterior of your DSLR camera is a relatively straightforward process. Follow these steps:

Start by using a soft, dry cloth, such as a microfiber cloth, to gently wipe away any grime, dust, or fingerprints from the camera body and the LCD screen.

For stubborn grime, slightly dampen the cloth with distilled water and continue cleaning. Avoid using harsh chemicals or solvents, as they can damage the camera’s surfaces.

Clean DSLR Lenses and Image Sensor

Properly cleaning your lenses is crucial for maintaining image quality.

Begin by using a small blower bulb and a soft brush to remove any dust or sand from the lens. This step is critical to prevent scratching the lens during the cleaning process.

With the lens now free of dust, gently wipe it with a dry, soft cloth in a circular motion, starting from the middle and moving outward. Ensure you clean both the front and back elements of the lens.

When your lens is not attached to the camera, always use lens caps to protect the front and back elements from dust and debris. 

Keep the lens cap on the front element when the lens is attached to the camera unless you’re actively shooting. Dust on your camera’s image sensor can lead to blurry spots in your images. To prevent this, you can do the following.

Use Built-in Cleaning: Some cameras have a built-in image sensor cleaning system, which involves a quick vibration of the sensor. Consult your camera’s manual to activate this feature.

Manual Cleaning: If your camera lacks an automatic cleaning system, consider using a sensor brush or swab. Alternatively, you can purchase an image sensor cleaning kit to effectively remove dust.

Use Lens Mount Cover: After removing a lens, always place the lens mount cover over it to keep the mirror and image sensor clean.

Clean DSLR Lens Mount, Mirror and Screen

Keep the lens mount and its electrical contacts dry and free from grime by gently wiping them with a microfiber cloth.

Carefully clean the mirror and focusing screen with a lens brush. Be cautious not to introduce more dirt into the camera during this process, as these components are delicate.

What to Avoid when cleaning DSLR Cameras

While cleaning your DSLR camera is essential, there are some methods to avoid. 

Avoid canned air. This is because pressure from canned air can drive dust or sand into the camera, causing internal damage.

Don’t apply any liquids on your camera directly.If you need to use a liquid, dampen the cloth slightly, but never place the liquid directly on the camera.

Avoid harsh solvents when cleaning your camera. Never use alcohol, paint thinner, or other harsh solvents on any part of the camera, as they can cause damage.

 Don’t use paper towels, tissues, or paper-based products, as they may shed fibers and debris, potentially scratching delicate surfaces.

If you’re apprehensive about cleaning your valuable photography equipment, it’s always a good idea to seek professional cleaning at a camera repair center to ensure your camera stays in top shape for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions when cleaning DSLR Cameras

  1. Can I use eyeglass cleaner on my camera lenses?

    It’s not recommended. Eyeglass cleaners may contain chemicals that can damage lens coatings. Stick to a dry, soft cloth or use a specialized lens cleaning solution.

  2. Should I clean my camera’s image sensor myself?

    It’s possible to clean the image sensor yourself if you’re confident in your abilities and have the right tools. However, if you’re unsure or uncomfortable doing this, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid damaging the sensor.

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