How to Use Lens Cleaner

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How to Use Lens Cleaner

All electronic devices with lenses need to be cleaned from time to time, and just how each lens has a specific function, there is a special method to clean different ones. Both camera and camcorder lenses are used to capture photos and videos, and a dirty lens distorts and sometimes even obscures parts of the images. Moreover, all CD and DVD players have a lens designed to read the data on the discs, and from time to time, dust and other debris on the lens can result in the inability to interpret the information.

Next, projectors are in a different category by themselves because, even though their lenses can accumulate dust and grime, their lens is used to display images. Routinely cleaning a projectors lens optimises the picture quality; therefore, it is likely a consumer may need a lens cleaner. Lens cleaning products can be found at local and online electronics stores or camera shops, and other websites such as eBay. Each device requires its own techniques and equipment to clean the lens, and buyers should be aware of them before purchasing and using a lens cleaner.

Types of Equipment Used to Clean Lenses

With the demand of digital cameras, DVD players, and other devices operating with lenses, there is a need for lens cleaning equipment. Since the design and use of each lens varies between devices and models, not all users need to purchase every item listed below. The sections below have descriptions of the most commonly used lens cleaners.

Alcohol-Based Lens Cleaner

Any type of cleaning agent that comes in contact with a lens should be alcohol-based. Alcohol-based solutions are quick dry and are excellent disinfectants. Liquid cleaners should never be applied directly to the lens surface; instead, they should be applied with a microfibre cloth or single-application swab.

Lens Cleaning Pen

A lens cleaning pen, or simply a lens pen, is like an all-in-one cleaning tool and more. It has a squeeze bulb, lens brush, and some sort of microfibre cloth or equivalent to attract dirt and dust. Many camera users favour lens pens because they are compact and convenient to carry.

Microfibre Cloth

Microfibre cleaning cloths are made from nylon and polyester, and they essential for cleaning many type of lenses. Microfibre cloths have been designed to attract and hold dust and dirt particles. Microfibre cloths should be cleaned from time to time to remove excess grime.

Single-Use Lens Tissue or Pads

Many manufacturers of lens cleaning supplies have single use pads individually packaged for convenience. They are typically dipped in an alcohol-based solution and designed to be quick dry. One advantage to using disposable pads is not having to worry about pre-existing dirt from reusable cloths and brushes scratching the lens; the downside is that it creates waste.

Squeeze Bulb

Squeeze bulbs are used to dust off visible dirt and debris. They look like a tiny turkey baster, but instead of sucking up liquid, it is used to deliver a gentle puff of air to the lens’ dirty surface.

Soft-bristled Lens Brush

Camera users may encounter a situation where a squeeze bulb is not powerful enough to remove a bit of grime, and fortunately, there are many soft-bristled brushes designed to get rid of dirt without scratching the lens. Camera owners should avoid using a heavy hand when brushing away debris since it can potentially harm the lens.

How to Use Lens Cleaner for Various Types of Electronics

There are several methods to cleaning a lens, and it depends on the type of device. Cameras and camcorders have exposed lenses designed to record images. Cleaning a projector lens is similar to cleaning a camera lens. CD players, DVD players, and gaming consoles have a built-in lens, and cleaning them often requires the use of a special disc. The sections below explain how to use lens cleaner on various electronics.


Effectively cleaning most cameras’ lenses requires a few pieces of equipment. Many photographers opt for the all-in-one lens pen. Others can choose a combination of soft-bristled brushes, microfibre cloths, squeeze bulb, and alcohol-based solutions. Visible dirt can be removed with a soft brush, then a squeeze bulb to blow away loosened grime. A microfibre cloth can attract dust and dirt, and a liquid cleaner can remove smudges and fingerprints.

CD and DVD Players

Lens cleaner is used similarly on both CD players and DVD players. There are two main ways to clean these devices’ lens. The first involves taking apart the casing of the CD or DVD player with a screwdriver and manually cleaning the lens with an alcohol swab. People who choose to disassemble their electronics should make sure it is unplugged before taking a screwdriver to it.

The second method for cleaning involves a cleaning kit comprised of a disc and small bottle of cleaning solution. Users must read the directions before cleaning the lens. Most have the user administer and evenly spread a few drops of solution on the cleaner disc. Next, the disc is inserted into the drive, and the owner must follow the included instructions to see how long the disc should remain in the drive.

Gaming Consoles

Gaming consoles that use discs have lenses similar to CD and DVD players. The three major game systems, Nintendo Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, all have lens cleaning kits typically comprised of a cleaning solution and disc. While many discs work across multiple platforms, before purchasing lens cleaner, gamers should make sure their system is compatible.


Even projectors lenses with a protective cap accumulate dust after prolonged use. Fortunately, they are easy to reach and clean. Like camcorders and cameras, projector lenses are exposed. A lens pen would work, but they are not commonly marketed to projector owners. A soft-bristled brush and squeeze bulb can remove dirt and dust that has settled on the surface. An alcohol-based solution also gets the smudges off.

Video Cameras

Most digital camcorders can be cleaned using the same methods for digital cameras. Videographers can use a soft-bristled brush and squeeze bulb to remove large specks. Cleaning solutions and a microfibre cloth can remove smudges and dust. Users must remember to gently wipe the lens to avoid scratching it with dirt on the rag. Disposable swabs and pads are also and easy way to get dust off the lens.

How Not to Clean Lenses

With so much information available of how to use lens cleaner, electronics owners must be wary of misinformation. Lenses are fragile and made of thin glass, a sudden burst from canned air could cause a crack; moreover, air compressors could leak chemicals, such as, oil onto the lens. Coarse brushes, and even a T-shirt, can scratch a delicate lens. Shoppers should avoid any soap-based cleaner since it can leave a sticky or filmy residue if not properly wiped away. The chart below lists common items that are not suited for lens cleaning and the appropriate solution.

Do Not Use

Use Instead

Air Compressor

Squeeze bulb

Canned Air

Squeeze bulb

Multi-purpose brush

Soft-bristled brush

Paper Towels or Tissues

Microfibre brush or single-use lens cloth


Soft-bristled brush


Microfibre brush or single-use lense cloth

Soap-based solutions

Alcohol based solution and swabs

Using any of the items on the "Do Not Use" list can result in scratching, fracturing, or otherwise damaging of the lens. All electronics need to be cleaned every so often, and those with lenses have special instructions to follow. Since electronics are typically expensive, it is advisable to spend the money on cleaning supplies instead of using whatever is convenient.

How to Buy Various Lens Cleaners on eBay

Finding the appropriate lens cleaners on eBay is a breeze as long as you know which electronics you are cleaning and which supplies you need. You can see all of eBay’s auction items by simply typing "lens cleaner" into the search bar. With so many options to choose from and not all of them are applicable, so include keywords in your search to help narrow the scope of your results. For even more help optimising results, have a look at eBay’s Search Tips Page.

Once you have found the appropriate lens cleaning auction item, read the entire listing, including the terms and conditions, to understand what you are bidding or purchasing. If any piece of information is missing, feel free to ask the seller questions. Find out if the seller has a money back guarantee should the item arrive broken or damaged. Besides settling on an auction item, it is just as important to do your homework on the seller. Take a moment to look into his or her user history, particularly the approval rating and feedback, to see how past transactions have been handled. Only buy from sellers with high approval and positive comments.


People who purchase electronics should regularly clean their devices, but certain parts require special instructions and equipment. Before cleaning any cameras, projectors, or disc players, people should consult the owner’s manual to learn the proper lens cleaning practices. Users should keep cleaning supplies in a convenient place to keep them from using potentially harmful items. The amount of dust and debris accumulating on digital cameras and video recorders is directly proportional to how much they are used and exposed to the elements. The more the device is used, the more it should be cleaned.

Furthermore, CD and DVD players also need to have their lens cleaned on regular intervals. This also holds true for gaming consoles that read discs. Even people who ritually put the lens cap on their projector must clean the lens to keep the picture quality superb. Routinely using lens cleaners prolong the life of the device and keep it in top working order.

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