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How To Clean Binocular Lenses [The Safe, Recommended Way]

If you own a pair of Binoculars then you are going to need to know how to safely clean them. Whether you are looking to clean the lenses right now, or if you are preparing to clean them in the future, this article will outline exactly what you need to do to protect them during this process.

Now whilst you may think that this isn’t necessary, it is very important to clean your binocular lenses when they are dirty. A lot of stuff can get on them there when you’re using them and out stargazing; whether this be dust, rain or other particles from the environment. You do not want dirt and bacteria to stay on your binoculars for any length of time.

Keeping your binoculars clean will keep them in optimal condition longer, and doing it properly will ensure you have clear, crisp images.

But here is the caveat and if you remember one thing from this article, let this be it. When it comes to cleaning your Binoculars you do not want to do it too often or unnecessarily. Most Binocular Lenses, especially the higher quality and premium models, are coated with a layer of specific materials that improve their performance. This coating typically is applied to the inside and outside of the lenses.

What these coatings do allow for a greater transmission of light and prevent too much reflection of light. This means brighter, sharper images with better colors.

This is one of the reasons why it pays to invest in a decent pair of binoculars, because you ensure that this coating has been applied.

If you’ve already gone ahead and purchased a good pair of binoculars, you are going to want to preserve those coatings and ensure that they last a long time.

Incorrect cleaning runs a risk of removing or damaging the coating, so its important that you clean your binoculars the right way (and infrequently).

But what is the right way?

It is using the right equipment, strategically.

One of the best, safe and recommended ways to clean binocular lenses is with a Professional Cleaning Kit. This comes with all the equipment you need to remove dust, smudges and other materials which can prevent clear, crisp views in the short term and cause damage to your lenses over time. A Professional cleaning Kit is relatively inexpensive (available on Amazon) and you can use it infrequently to keep your binoculars in tip-top condition. 

Using a suggested Cleaning Kit, here are the steps involved:

How To Clean Binocular Lenses

Cleaning Binocular Lenses is pretty straightforward when you know how. By following these steps you can get your binoculars back to their best easily and safely.

Tools/Equipment Needed:

** All items below can be purchased via a Professional Cleaning Kit on Amazon. This is a cost effective and easier way to purchase all the items required **

  • Air Blower
  • Lens Pen
  • MicroFiber Cloth (x2)
  • Lens Cleaner Solution

Process Steps

Step One:

The first thing you are going to want to do is to remove the dust off of the binocular lenses.

Dust, whilst it may seem relatively benign, will not only distort your views but it can also scratch the expensive coatings applied to your lenses.

Now, the natural tendency is to rub dirt or dust off your lenses. Do not do this. Rubbing can cause microscopic scratches on your lenses. Even though this will be microscopic scratches, this will still be enough to scatter light and your images will begin to appear faint and cloudy.

Instead, you are going to want to use an Air Blower. This small and useful device enables you to apply a short burst of air to  remove the dust off the lenses without needing to touch them and risking damage. This will effectively remove any dust laying on top of the surface of the lenses.

Now, you may be thinking that you do not need an Air Blower and you can just blow on the lenses yourself. this is another thing to avoid. Water particles in your breath will land onto your lenses, which will make them moist and promoting further dirt and dust from collecting.

When you are using the Air Blower, be sure to tilt your Binoculars so that the dust can fall off the lenses and onto the floor. You do not want to move it from one place on the lens to another.

Step Two:

The next thing you are going to do is to use a soft Lens Pen (also available in the Kit). This tool is another effective ways to remove any lingering dust that has not been removed by the Air Blower. Lens Pens are typically designed for Camera lenses but they are also great for Binocular Lenses too because they are designed to protect lens coatings.

Lens Pens are retractable, meaning that they retract into the handle when not in use. This protects the brush and stops it from collecting dust or any other materials when not in use.

Now with the Lens Pen, slightly brush the lenses of your binoculars. Just like in the step above, you are going to want to tilt your binoculars as you brush (so your lenses face the ground) so that any dust can fall onto the table in front of you/floor.

Gently brush around the lenses in a circular/ or up and down motion.

Step Three:

The next step is to actually wipe the lenses. You are going to want to a Microfiber Cloth.

Microfiber clothes were designed for cleaning lenses, as such it is very soft. It is therefore considerably better than other materials and other types of cloth (which you should always refrain from using or risk damaging the lenses).

Paper Towels and Tissues should be avoided; they are likely to scratch your lenses due to their rough nature. A T-Shirt should also not be used because it can also be rough on the lenses or a carrier of dirt and dust.

In conjunction with the cloth, you are going to want to use some Lens Cleaner Solution. Again, this solution was designed specifically for Optics and you are going to want to apply a small amount to the Microfiber Cloth.

Again some things to avoid. Never use Window or Glass cleaner on your binocular lenses. This is because the chemicals will damage the coating on your lenses. Also, do not pour the Lens Cleaner Solution directly onto the lenses. If you apply too much it can seep through the edges and cause damage.

Thankfully, the Lens Cleaner Solution in the Kit comes as a spray so you can avoid this issue. Just apply and spray a small amount onto the Microfiber Cloth.

Now with the cloth, wipe the lenses to remove any water spots, residue and marks. This is where you can remove marks that may have been on the lenses for a long time.

Spend a short amount of time wiping the lenses and refrain from pushing too hard. Essentially, you want to do the minimum possible to return your lenses to their best condition.

Step Four:

Now that the Lenses are clean, you just want to finish off with the Eye Cups (as these can carry additional dirt and dust). If you fail to clean these you can actually reapply dirt the minute you close them.

Then, with a secondary Microfiber Cloth (that you use exclusively for the frame and body of the binoculars), wipe the body and frame to remove any dirt and grime.

It is advised that you do not dismantle your binoculars during the cleaning process as this can alter their optical alignment. If you discover that there is dirt or something else inside your binoculars, it is advised you contact the manufacturer or take them to a professional.

Final Words

Cleaning your Binocular Lenses is a necessary and important thing to do to preserve their longevity and performance.

However, this is not to say you should use any old cleaning equipment and be too frequent in your cleaning.

You should always use a Professional Cleaning Kit, and apparatus, that was specifically designed for use on Optics. This will preserve the expensive coatings on your lenses and make sure you do not scratch them and cause damage.

Its important that you refrain from touching your lenses at all times with your fingers, as this can apply dirt and the natural oils can cause havoc on your lenses. Never breathe or huff on them either.

Similarly, you want to refrain from ever using a T-Shirt on your Binoculars to clean them. You have to be particularly careful when you are outside and in the field stargazing (as this can seem like the right thing to do there and then if they get dirty).

As such, I strongly recommend that if you always carry a Microfiber Cloth and a Lens Pen with you for use on the go. Be sure to keep them safe and protected. This is why a Professional Cleaning Kit is so handy; it comes in a portable case that you can take with you.

Ultimately, if you have invested in a good pair of binoculars, if you take care of them your views of the sky will be far more impressive and effective. And they’ll last a lot longer!