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How to Clean Binoculars: Body, Optics & Interior

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how to clean binoculars

Generally speaking, high quality binoculars are built to withstand prolonged use with little or no problem. That being said, some basic maintenance and care can help ensure years of enjoyable experience with your binoculars.

Improper maintenance and cleaning techniques, - or even proper ones, may cause damages to your optics. Some say that the best way to clean any piece of optical equipment is to prevent it getting dirty in the first place, obviously this is impractical as long as you are actually using your binoculars, but surely you can reduce the frequency of cleaning if are careful enough.

So what is the best way to maintain and clean your binoculars? And what should be avoided? In this guide we shall go through these so that binoculars users can clean their binocular lenses and body properly for ultimate usage.

Some Advises for Maintenance:

  • Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s maintenance and safety suggestions;
  • Use the lens caps: keep them clean and make use them to protect the binocular lenses and coatings;
  • Avoid fingerprints: evade touching the lenses with fingers to reduce the chances of smudges;
  • Storage: When not in use, put the binoculars in the soft case to protect against dust;
  • Avoid Moisture: keep a sachet of silica gel in the case so that any residual moisture can be absorbed.

How to Clean Binocular

What NOT to do

We've all seen someone do it - pulls out a pair of binoculars, breathes on the lenses, and then rub the glass with the inside of a t-shirt. Many do not realize that this action can damage the optics and degrade every image they would ever see with those binoculars again. When dusts are rubbed across the lenses, they produce microscopic scratches into the glass and damage the ultra-thin coatings on lenses. You may not see the scratches individually with naked eyes, because they're so small, but they are there and they scatter light, and over time your binoculars begin to give a cloudy image.

binoculars cleaning kit
Tools you would need:
It is recommended to keep a small, portable cleaning kit in your gear, which may include:
  • An air blower
  • An optics-specific cleaning solution
  • A lens cleaning pen, with a retractable brush on one end and a cleaning tip on the other
  • Some disposable, pre-moistened wipes
  • Some microfiber cloths

Keep your cleaning kit in a sealable bag or small container to keep it relatively free of dust and atmospheric particles.

Once the tools are ready, it is time to start cleaning.

How to Clean Binocular Body

The dirtiest part of your binoculars will almost certainly be the body.

First use an air blower or hairdryer to blow over the whole body of the binoculars to remove any tiny sand and grit particles.

Then use a clean, barely damp cloth to wipe down the body, you must be very careful not to wipe any of the lenses, a good tip is to hold the binoculars upside down so that any dirt falls away from the lens surfaces.

Use cotton buds for any difficult-to-reach areas.

Don’t forget to clean the insides of the lens caps!

How to Clean Binoculars Lenses

Step 1: Read the Manual

Read the user’s manual to discover if the manufacturer recommends particular tools or chemicals. Binoculars have different lens coatings with varying reactions to chemicals, you should only use cleaning solution that will be fine on your glass. 

Step 2: Remove Dirt or Dust

Hold the binoculars upside down, use the cleaning pen's bristles to loosen any dust and other debris from the lens, then use a blower to blow off the loosened dirt. For stubborn dust and other particles that can not be removed by brush, moisten a cotton bud with cleaning solution and gently wipe them away.

Step 3: Apply Cleaning Solution

First check your lenses, the next steps won't be necessary if the lenses are clean already.

If you are using a lens cleaning pen, it usually include some kind of dry cleaning compound in the pen cap. Just twist the pen cap to replenish the dry cleaning compound, then remove the cap and reveals the cleaning tip.

If you are using micro-fiber cloth or lens tissue, scrunch it up and roll it loosely, and if using lens tissue, you may tear it in half to make two paper brushes. Spray lens-cleaning solution on one of the torn ends.

Step 4: Remove Smudges

Use the tip of cleaning pen, or moistened lens cloth or tissue to wipe away any remaining smudges. Apply very little pressure and work in a circular motion, starting in the middle and carefully working your way outwards.

Do not use paper towels or facial tissue, These often include wood fiber that will scratch your lenses or the coatings on the lenses.

How to Clean the Inside of Binoculars

A wise answer would be - DON'T! Many binoculars, especially expensive ones are purged with gases, either Nitrogen or Argon, to keep the optics from fogging up, which will be lost once the binoculars are dismantled. Opening up binoculars may also ruin the optical alignment and destroy waterproof seals.

If you believe it’s necessary to clean the interior,  it is best to leave it to a professional, contact the manufacturer or an authorized dealer for more information.

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