How to Clean Binoculars

Maintaining clean binoculars is essential if you want to soak in everything nature has to offer. After all, no one wants to damage their binocular lenses and put a damper on their bird watching experience!

No matter how careful you are, lenses are bound to get dirty, and sooner or later; you’ll need to clean them. But don’t let the way you clean and maintain your binoculars ruin them.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to clean binoculars correctly for crystal-clear, grime-free image quality.

How to Clean Binoculars the Right Way

Now, let’s take a look at how to clean both the lenses and your binoculars’ exterior surface. 

Cleaning Binocular Lenses

1- Remove Loose Particles

The first step is to remove any loose dirt or dust particles stuck to the lens coating. The safest way to do so is by using a lens blower, which puffs the air and blows off the loose dust on the surface without touching the lens. Make sure to tilt your binoculars down to ensure that the dust falls away and not back on the lens.

Alternatively, you can use a compressed air canister to blow off the dust gently. However, if you place the nozzle too up close to the lens, you might damage the coating, so keep it at least 4 inches away from the lens.

2- Use a Lens Brush to Remove Any Additional Dirt

Examine the lenses for any remaining spots or marks caused by water splashes, mud, or fingerprints. You can then use a lens brush to clean them off by gently brushing in a circular motion over your lenses.

3- Apply Cleaning Solution

Apply a cleaning solution to a cotton swab and carefully clean the lens in a circular motion to wipe away any remaining dirt. Don’t pour the solution directly onto the lenses as this could damage the binoculars by seeping into the inside.

Furthermore, you should avoid using windows or eyeglass cleaners. They usually include chemicals that are too harsh for your lenses and can seriously damage the optics.

4- Dry the Lens With a Microfibre Cloth

Once you’re sure that all the dirt has been removed, you can use a specialized microfibre cloth to dry off the solution and remove any remaining smudges. Afterward, put the cloth in a zipped plastic bag to keep it dust-free between cleanings.

It’s crucial to make sure that the cloth is specifically designed for camera and binocular lenses. Avoid using clothing items, paper towels, or tissues as they can be too rough and damage the coating.

5- Store Your Binoculars Correctly

Binoculars don’t only get dirty while in use, but also due to incorrect storage. Make sure to store them in a clean, dry bag. Moreover, remember to use the lens cap when you’re not using your binos to protect them from dust as well as scratches.

Cleaning Binoculars’ Exterior Body

You may not need a pristine exterior surface for your binoculars to work as they should. However, keeping the body clean won’t only make holding your binoculars easier but will also prevent the dust and grime from migrating to the lenses.

Thankfully, cleaning the exterior is pretty straightforward. To remove dirt and dust stuck to the exterior, you can wipe down your binoculars’ casing with a soft, damp cloth. However, make sure to avoid the lenses as this could scratch them. 

If there’s grime in the cracks and spaces between the moving components, a cloth won’t be very effective. Instead, use an air blower to blow out the debris.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t Clean Your Binoculars Too Often

Overcleaning your binoculars will damage them in the long run. No matter how carefully you clean your binos, the coating on the lenses is bound to suffer, negatively affecting the visual quality.

Don’t Blow on Your Lenses Before Wiping Them

Contrary to popular belief, fogging your lenses with your breath before wiping them will only make the dust cling harder to the lens coating. This is because the moisture will cause the particles to become even more stuck on the lens.

Don’t Remove the Dust Using Cloth

Cleaning off the dust with a cloth can result in microscopic scratching on the coating, which will scatter light and eventually affect the image’s clarity. Only use a microfiber cloth when you’re absolutely sure there’s no dust left.

Don’t Dismantle Your Binoculars to Clean Them

Generally speaking, only a trusted professional should take binoculars apart. If you dismantle your binoculars yourself, you run the risk of ruining the optical alignment. Not to mention, you’ll also immediately void any warranty.

Don’t Ignore the User Manual

It’s crucial to consult the manual before cleaning your binos. It’ll tell you which cleaning solutions to use and which to avoid since binoculars have different lens coatings and may react to cleaning solutions differently.


How do you clean really dirty binoculars?

Hold the binoculars upside down and use a lens cleaning pen’s bristles to loosen any light material, then use some canned air to carefully blow off the loosened dirt.

How do you fix fogged binoculars?

Seal the binoculars inside an airtight plastic bag along with some commercial desiccant.

Can you clean binoculars with water?

Binoculars cannot be used in water.

Final Words

Binoculars aren’t cheap, and going through all the trouble of saving up and buying a good pair only to ruin your optics by incorrectly cleaning them would be a tragedy. But cleaning your binos doesn’t have to be a complicated affair.

All you need to do is follow some easy steps and avoid using unsuitable products for cleaning your binoculars’ lenses. Then, you can go back to enjoying natural landscapes with pristine image quality.

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