Cleaning your Lenses & Filters

August 2006



I have received enquiries on how to clean a lens from time to time...sorry that I couldn't write earlier...hopefully today I can share something useful for those who are new to cleaning lenses.


In Chinese saying, "In order to accomplish a job well, you must first sharpen the tools that you are going to use". In cleaning lenses, you must first get the right tools. Here's what I use:

  1. Hand Blower (choose one with big blow. The one I am using is aging, and definitely not the best. You can find a better one for sure. I have heard Giotto Rocket Blower is very good).

  2. Lens Tissue (Find a premium grade tissue with the softest surface and material. You will not want to use any paper to scratch on the surface of your lens).

  3. Micro Fibre Cloth (An alternative to Lens Tissue. The one I am using is Matin Magic Cleaner Tri-Coat. It has very smooth and soft surface material use. Will not scratch against your lens or glass. If you are using micro fibre cloth, make sure the surface is perfectly clean and has no hard particle or dirt on it, as to avoid scratching against your lens surface.).

  4. Cleaner (There are various lens cleaners in the market. The famous one being Kodak lens cleaner. I have used it before, the cap is not so well done and leaked easily. The solution is not really that good for multi-coated lens. It leaves smear and residual on my lens surface after cleaning. Hard to remove. The one I am now using is Formula MC from USA specially formulated for multi-coated lens and filter, designed for the precision tools (microscope, laboratory equipments). I have tested Formula MC personally and I must say I am very very impressed with the result! My lens has never been so clean before!).


Before cleaning your lenses, here's what you need to note:

  1. Prepare a clean wind free environment, with good lightning condition. Preferable with a table light.

  2. Have a relax mind, do not do it in a rush or hurry. You might end up do more damaging to your lens/filter than before.

  3. Have 10~15 mins spare time for the cleaning process.

  4. Get all the needed tools ready.

Steps in cleaning your lens:


Blow away any dust or dirt on your lens by using a hand blower. I prefer to do it with the lens upside down so that the gravity force can pull away the dust or dirt when I blast air onto the lens surface. Some lenses have opening especially at the rear part, hence be very careful not to blow dust/dirt INTO the inner part of the lens.

Prepare TWO pieces of lens tissue. One ~> wet ; One ~> dry

Fold each tissue, fold into a piece of six, and smash it into a ball like shape or small enough that you can hold it like a photo on the right.


Prepare the 2nd piece of lens tissue in the similar shape. Make sure you do not touch or dirty the lens tissue especially on the tip.

Drop one ~ two drops of Formula MC lens cleaner onto the tip of the first piece of lens tissue.



The second piece still remain dry.

Hold the first piece of wet lens tissue and clean the surface of the lens in circular motion. Start from the center to the edge. Pay attention to the part where there is noticeable dirt on it. Do not apply too much force onto the surface of the lens. Just move the tissue with little pressure from your hand.

Repeat the same process with the dry lens tissue immediately. Clean from the center to the edge.


Pay special attention especially at the corner of the lens, as dirt normally is push from center to the edge and remains there. Hence, shape the 2nd tissue to have edges (sharp) so that you can move it reaching the corner of the lens and the entire surface of your lens thoroughly.

Finally, check the lens surface under a good lighting source (table lamp), and blow away any remaining dust using a hand blower.


Your lens should be sparkling clean now. If not, repeat the process above with some NEW lens tissue.

Don't be stingy on lens tissue, your lens is much precious than the tissue!


Hope this helps... :)