How to Clean a DSLR Lens

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Updated October 31, 2022

If you are new to the world of digital photography, you may want to learn how to clean a DSLR lens. After all, many of the best digital cameras are DSLR models, which require regular maintenance and cleaning, lens included. So why clean the best DSLR cameras, and what are the various methods to clean any equipped lenses? Keep reading to find out.


  • Cleaning a DSLR camera’s lens is an important part of the maintenance process and helps ensure high-grade photos and the reduction of dust particles and dirt particles.
  • Only clean the lenses when they absolutely need it, as this is a potentially risky procedure (lens coatings are fragile.)
  • There are various methods to clean a DSLR lens, including a dry method, a lens cleaning solution method, and dedicated lens cleaner kits.

Why Clean DSLR Camera Lenses?

Unless you are looking for the best underwater camera, you need to regularly clean your lenses (and even those cases). When looking at a DSLR lens guide, you no doubt come across various cleaning methods. Keeping your lenses clean is a great way to avoid having to learn about DSLR lens repair. It also helps keep your images crisp and gorgeous. In other words, you won’t have to learn how to fix a blurry DSLR camera lens if you keep your lens clean.

Insider Tip

When you clean the lens, take the opportunity to also clean the image sensor and the exterior of the camera body.

How to Clean Your DSLR Camera Lens

There are various ways to clean the lenses within your DSLR camera. Here are some simple procedures to consider. As a note, only clean your lens when it is sufficiently dirty to avoid accidental damage.

Dry Method

This is the quickest and easiest way to clean your lens, but it may not be successful at eradicating caked-in dirt and grime. Start by removing the lens via the rear element or front lens element. Hold onto the lens carefully with a gloved hand and grab a dry microfiber cloth. Slowly and carefully scrub the exterior of the lens, starting in the center and working your way out. Repeat the process on the other side. Reinsert the lens carefully.

Wet Method

Purchase dedicated lens swabs, as these cleaning swabs have already come into contact with moisture. Remove the lens and carefully wipe down each side of the item, allowing it to dry in the open air before being reinserted into the camera. If you don’t have a cleaning swab, dip a microfiber cloth in a small amount of distilled water to complete this task.

STAT: Glass is relatively hard and durable. However, when advanced coatings and other chemicals are added to the lens, it becomes a surface that’s more vulnerable to scratches and damage from chemicals and contact. (source)

Try a Camera Cleaning Kit

Plenty of dedicated camera cleaning kits on the market ship with everything you need to clean every part of the gadget, lenses included. Purchase a well-reviewed cleaning kit and follow the instructions to the letter. They typically include a cleaning swab, a cloth, a brush, an air blower, and more.

Cleaning Lens FAQs

How do I clean SLR camera lenses?

This is a similar process to cleaning a DSLR lens. Grab a lens brush, remove the protective filter, and work slowly and carefully to clean the lens to remove oily fingerprints, specks of dust, and more.

How do I perform a dirt test on a DSLR lens?

You may be able to see dirt just by looking at the lens. In that case, grab microfiber cleaning cloths, a lens brush, and a lens cleaning kit, and get to work cleaning the lens mount and lens surface.

How do I keep my camera lens clean?

Limit the number of times you access the lens element via the rear element. The more open air it is exposed to, the more dust particles work their way in. You may want to consider a protective filter, rear lens caps, or other methods of protection.
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