Do you know how to clean binoculars safely and efficiently? Read on to learn the proper way to clean your binoculars without causing harm to the body or lens.
If you have binoculars, they probably get a fair amount of use. Maybe you are using them when you head out hunting or for bird watching. Maybe you like to take them to sporting events or concerts to get a closer look at the action. Regardless of how or where you use the binoculars, they are going to get dirty over time. Therefore, you need to know how to clean binoculars properly and safely to keep them in great condition.
Cleaning the binoculars is easy, but there are some things you will want to avoid when you are cleaning to ensure you do not damage them. Below, we will explain how to clean your binoculars safely and effectively, and we will provide you with information about some products that can help with this endeavor. We’ll also provide some other tips for keeping your binoculars in great condition, so they can last for years.
Steps for Cleaning Your Binoculars the Right Way
When you take good care of your binoculars, they are going to last longer. They will be easier to use and will ensure you have a clear, bright picture when you look through them. Naturally, you want to keep them clean. However, even if you might have a pair of durable binoculars, there is a chance you could damage them if you are cleaning them incorrectly. Below, you will find the simple steps that you should take to get your binoculars, including the lenses, cleaned, and ready for action.
Dusting the Lenses
You need to be careful around the lenses when cleaning the binoculars. The first step is to remove all of the dust from the lenses. To do this, you will want to use a soft brush, such as a lens cleaning pen, to remove all of the loose dust from the lenses. You must have a soft brush or microfiber cloth that was created specifically for use with lenses.
Hold the binoculars so that the lenses you are cleaning face downwards, and then gently brush away the dust. This allows gravity to help remove some of the dust particulates. Do this with all of the lenses on the binoculars.
You could also use canned air specifically for use with lenses. It’s available online and through camera shops.
The Hard to Reach Areas
Some areas may be too small to reach with your finger or may not be easy to clean with canned air. Get a Q-tip and place a microfiber cloth around the tip, then use this to get into those areas that are more difficult to reach. You can use the lens cleaning solution by spraying a small amount on the tip if you feel it is necessary. Just make sure that you aren’t using a solution used on eyeglasses or window cleaning fluid. Only use solution designed specifically for cleaning quality optics like camera lenses and binocular lenses.
Polishing the Lenses
Once you have made sure that all of the dust has been removed, you can then polish the lenses to remove any smudges, oil, fingerprints, etc. that remain. To do this, you will want to use a lens brush that is capable of polishing, or a microfiber cloth. It’s a good idea to have separate microfiber cloths for dusting and polishing.
You must be using a clean microfiber cloth/lens brush when you are polishing. If there is any grit or even small pieces of dust on the tools you are using to clean, they could damage the lenses by causing scratches. They might not be noticeable at first but doing this time and again will end up causing severe damage, and you will have to replace your binoculars sooner than you think.
Cleaning the Body of the Binoculars
Once you have cleaned the lenses, you will then be moving on to the body of the binoculars. This is typically much easier to clean and there is less risk of damage. The body of many modern binoculars has a rubber coating on it that can simply be wiped down and cleaned.
For the moving parts, such as the focus wheel, diopter, and the hinge that allows you to adjust the width of the binoculars, you can use a lens brush for dusting. Using a lens brush or canned air in those locations can help to remove any dust or grit that may have gotten into them.
Most of the binoculars on the market today will also come with a user’s manual. Often, the manual will have instructions on how to clean the binoculars. You will want to look at those instructions, as well as following the tips above. This will ensure that you don’t do anything that could void your warranty on your binoculars.
The Wrong Way to Clean Binoculars
Now that you know the proper way to clean your binoculars, it’s time to look at some of the things you need to avoid to keep the binoculars safe.
Breathing On and Then Rubbing the Lenses
Don’t breathe onto the binoculars and then wipe off the lenses. This is unfortunately common, and you’ve likely seen a handful of people in your life use this method for cleaning their binoculars. They blow onto the lenses and then use a shirt or jacket, or a piece of paper towel or tissue to wipe the lenses. This will cause a host of problems.
There is likely dust on the lenses, for starters. Even if you were to use a microfiber cloth on the lenses after blowing on them, you are going to be rubbing the dust across the lenses, which will cause scratches. Using abrasive materials like paper towels or your shirt will be an even bigger problem because those materials cause scratches too.
This is a surefire way to ruin your binoculars quickly.
The Wrong Cleaning Fluid
If you don’t have a proper lens cleaner, you don’t want to use just any substitute. If you were to use Windex or another solution that’s not specifically used for optics, it can degrade the seals around your lenses. Over time, they will fail, which will allow moisture into the binoculars. Also, those types of cleaning fluids can damage the coatings on the lenses.
Not Dusting First
Even if you don’t see any visible dust on the lenses, it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Always take the time to start your cleaning session by properly dusting your lenses using the tips above. This will help to ensure you don’t have any accidental scratches.
How Often Should You Clean Binoculars
One of the mistakes that people make with their binoculars is cleaning them too often. You don’t need to clean your binoculars every day. Only clean them when it is needed. If you clean them too often, it will increase the risk of scratching your lenses. If you can see through them and there isn’t dust obscuring your vision, and if you don’t see dust building on the lenses, they don’t need to be cleaned yet.
Keep Your Binoculars Safe from Damage
Knowing how to clean your binoculars is part of the battle, but you also want to be sure you are keeping them as safe as possible. Here are a few tips that will help.
- Use your lens caps – The lens caps will help to protect your lenses. You should use them when storing the binoculars, as well as when you have them with you but aren’t using them.
- Be careful with the neck strap – A neck strap is a great way to ensure that you don’t drop your binoculars but be aware of how much they are swinging. When hiking, squatting down, climbing, or jumping across a creek, be aware of where the binoculars will swing, so they don’t hit anything.
- Store the binoculars safely – Don’t pile a lot of other items on top of your binoculars, and don’t simply leave them sitting in the sun. Take care of them and make sure that they are always stowed away safely when you are traveling, and while at home.
- Don’t take shortcuts – Never take shortcuts when you are cleaning your binoculars, as it is likely to cause damage to the lenses.
Products to Help Keep Your Binoculars Clean
Keeping the binoculars looking great and working great requires the right products and tools. We’ve gathered three options below that will help keep your binoculars as safe as possible, and as clean as possible.
Whether you are birding, hunting, or you just enjoy watching the wildlife across the lake, make sure you know how to clean your binoculars properly. As you have seen by now, keeping your binoculars clean and in good shape is not difficult to do as long as you put in a little effort. Follow some simple tips and make sure you aren’t making any of the mistakes that could damage your binoculars and they will last for many years.
The products that we’ve mentioned above can help you with your binocular cleaning needs. Check them out and consider making them a part of your cleaning kit.
SVBONY Protective Rubber Objective Lens Caps
These lens caps are for 42 mm objective lenses that have an outer diameter that’s between 52 mm and 54 mm. The lens caps are designed to work with Crossfire binoculars.
They are black, easy to use, and will fit snugly onto the objective lens. This will help to protect the binoculars from excess dust, dirt, water, and scratches.
The lens caps are easy to add and remove, and they have a tether that will keep them attached to the binoculars when you remove them from the objective lens. This is a handy option since most of the lens coverings that come with binoculars do not include a tether.
With these objective lens caps, you can pop them on and off quickly and easily in the field without worrying about losing them.
Because they are made from rubber, you will not have to worry about them cracking and breaking. They are more durable than plastic, and they are soft, so you will not have to worry about scratches on your binoculars. They are a good and affordable way to add more protection to your binoculars.
If you have binoculars with a different objective lens size, there are other similar options on the market that you can consider, as well. Find the lens caps that will meet your needs for the binoculars you own or want to buy.
Nikon 7072 Lens Pen Cleaning System
To dust and polish the lenses of your binoculars, a good lens pen like the Nikon 7072 is a fantastic choice. It features a soft, retractable brush that is excellent for removing dirt and dust from the binoculars.
It also has a cleaning tip that can be used to remove dust, fingerprints, smudges, and more. The cleaning tip has a replenishing cleaning compound that doesn’t use any liquid or cleaning solution, so you never have to worry about it drying out.
The lens pen is small and easy to carry, and it is affordable enough that you might want to have several of them. They can work well to clean all sorts of lenses including binoculars, cameras, scopes, and more. It works very well for removing dust and for polishing up the lenses.
Commercial-Grade Microfiber Cloths from The Rag Company
As we’ve mentioned above, you will need to have microfiber cloths that will help you clean your binocular lenses. There are many options on the market, but you always want to choose a high-quality cloth that is lint-free and streak-free. The Rag Company offers a great solution.
The cloths are available in a range of different sizes and colors. They will not produce lint, and they have more than 200,000 fibers per square inch. They can be used for dusting and polishing, providing a soft and safe option for your lenses. The durable, high-quality microfiber cloths come in a pack of 12.