Readers' Questions


How do you clean your lenses?  I have a tough time with sprays and lens tissues and never seem to get them as clean as they should be.

Great Weekly!


Raymond –

You’ve come to the right guy as I have a ton of lenses I keep clean.  I try very hard to stay away from the liquids when cleaning the lenses and when I do use any “lens cleaner” liquid I’m very careful to ensure I’m using a liquid that doesn’t damage the lens coatings.  Lens coatings change over the years, so chances are if you have several lenses you will also have several different types of coatings.  One liquid cleaner could be fine on one lens, and damage the coating on another.

Some of the old pros used to use very soft t-shirts and their hot breath to clean their lenses and filters.  Believe it or not this works great.  The problem is not everyone has the same definition of “soft t-shirt” and often if you’re not very careful the t-shirt will pick up abrasives such as small pieces of sand or dirt and will end up scratching the hell out of your lens in your attempt to clean it.  Lens “tissues” are practically worthless, so what is a photographer to do?

I buy boxes of 24 each microfiber clothes expressly made for lens cleaning and they come sealed in reusable ziplock bags.  They are neatly folded in the bags so I know they’ve never been unsealed.  I remove one from the bag, breath hot air on the lens/filter, and using the microfiber cloth gently clean the lens/filter until perfect.

When I’m done with the cloth I don’t fold it, instead I roll it up and put it back in the Ziploc and them back in the bottom of my camera bag.  The next time I need one I’ll use a fresh one thereby ensuring no abrasive particles scratch my lenses.

Never fear, we can reuse the used microfiber clothes.  I run a cycle through my washing machine empty to be sure there are no particles in the machine, and then using the delicate cycle and NO SOAP I wash the microfiber clothes.  I usually wait until I have 20-30 of them.  Once clean I use an anti-stat dryer sheet such as Bounce to make sure any particles are detached, and then in a very clean area I carefully inspect and neatly fold each cloth before placing them back in their Ziplocks and back into use.  This has worked great for me.

Good shooting!


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