How to clean binocular lenses

A pair of binoculars on a table

Our binoculars provide us with imagery like nothing else, but that all depends on the quality and condition of the lens.

So knowing how to clean binoculars lenses is very important to ensure your pair of binoculars can provide you stunning views for many years to come.

Knowing how to maintain your binoculars after cleaning them to ensure they last longer will also be viable information.

These are all things we’re going to cover in this very article so that you can stop being one of those people who take out their binoculars, spitting on them, and then rub the lenses with their t-shirt to ensure they can see right through them…

There is nothing more upsetting than watching someone do this to their binoculars, regardless of how expensive they may be.

Hopefully, with our information, you will learn the proper ways to take care of your binoculars!

Read your binocular manual

Before we start discussing what some of the best practices are when it comes to cleaning your lenses, we want to first advise you to consult your manual in-case the manufacture has already recommended how to clean the binocular lenses with particular tools or chemicals.

Many people throw these little information booklets in the trash without much thought, manuals like these will describe what you can and can’t use on your binoculars; lenses, binocular body, or eyecups included in terms of chemicals.

The material to make the lens is pretty much the same in all binoculars, but what can be different is the coating that is used to protect them – with the wrong chemical you could remove this protective coating and damage the lenses even further.

So, before you begin, make sure you consult your manual before you blindly follow our advice; you wouldn’t want to ruin your binoculars now, would you?

How to clean binocular lenses with a cleaning kit

There are ways you can clean your binocular lenses without a cleaning kit, and from experience, these methods seem to do the trick. But let’s first cover how to clean your binoculars using a cleaning kit.

There are many different lens cleaning kits on the market, which contain a mixture of pens, brushes, and cleaners – so unfortunately we can’t give you a definitive guide but what we can do is give you some guidelines which you can follow. This will ensure that no matter the kit you have purchased, you soon should have a rough idea of how you can get the most out of it to ensure you don’t damage your binocular lenses whilst trying to free them up of dirt and grime.

Let’s get into the step by step.

  1. Lightly brush away any loose dust or debris – this can be done with a lens brush that would typically come with a cleaning kit; you could also use a blower to clean instead of a brush as these are much kinder on the lens. as long as you adopt a light brushing motion, you shouldn’t need to worry about any damage
  2.  Grab the cleaning pen and rub gently in a circular motion – you should see a pen in your lens cleaning kit, grab this and uncap it. lightly brush the lenses in a circular motion until fully clean. if you accidentally leave any oily marks, breathe very lightly on the lens and wipe again with the cleaning tip until it’s clear.
  3. All done! – yep, that’s it. nothing much too it really when you’ve got the right tools for the job, as long as you brush and pen lightly, you should have a clean lens ready to be put back into action.

Be sure to check out our recommendation for the best cleaning kit for your binoculars below!

How to clean binocular lenses without a cleaning kit

Not everyone has a lens cleaning kit on hand, although they are not too expensive, you might need your binoculars up to par ASAP – meaning you’ll have to settle cleaning your lens without a kit.

But how can you do this safely?

Let’s take a look at this approach step by step.

  1. Clean any loose dust or debris – The less rubbing you need to do the better, even if you have the best microfiber cloth in hand, it still could potentially pick up small particles that could scratch the lens. The best way, since you don’t have a cleaning kit, would be to gently blow away any particles – though be careful you don’t want any unwanted moisture on the lens.
  2. Grab a fine-haired brush – Now you’re going to want to grab a clean fine-haired brush, lighting brushing with circular motions to ensure you can clean the lens without damaging it.
  3. All done! – Again, not too much to it – if you’ve got the right tools laying around the home and they are clean for you to use, cleaning your binocular lenses without a cleaning kit is fairly simple. Though we’d still recommend using one if you can.

How to clean the body of your binoculars

Cleaning the lens part of your binocular is by far the most important part to ensure it is spotless when you come to look through it, but everybody forgets about cleaning the actual body of the binocular.

Although it may not largely impact performance it’s always nice to keep things nice and clean.

  • Remove any loose dust – just like you have done with your lenses, you’re going to want to remove any loose dust on the body of your binoculars – this can be done with a fine brush, simply blowing on the binocular or gently rubbing away with a microfiber cloth. Since this is only the body of the binoculars, we don’t have to take too many precautions when cleaning as any slight marks that might get made will not impact performance.

However, if the binoculars are some sort of family heirloom or are particularly expensive and you would prefer not to accidentally scratch them, then be as gentle as you have been when cleaning the lenses and that should ensure you don’t unnecessarily damage the body.

  • Grab a fresh microfiber cloth– you’re going to want to wipe off all parts of the binoculars including the barrel, focusing mechanism, and the eyepieces. Be careful you don’t touch any of the lenses or you may just reverse all of your hard work.

Holding the binoculars upside down so that the dirt falls away from them will also be a good idea.

  • Warm water can help– if you see still dirt and marks on your binoculars, warm water can help to remove these things – though again, make sure you don’t touch the lenses.

Great, if you’ve followed all of these steps the body of your binocular should now be clean – matching your newly cleaned lenses too!

But to ensure you don’t have to do this over and over again after you use your binocular, what sort of things can you do to help maintain the cleanliness of your lenses and binocular body?

We’ll let’s talk about that.

How to maintain your binoculars

Binoculars are costly and they are an investment we only want to make once in a while; to some of us, they’re just like our mobile phone – something we treasure dearly and wish to take everywhere with us.

Now you know how to clean the lenses and the body of your binoculars, we’re going to give you some tips on how you can avoid needed to do these things too often in the future.

Make sure to lubricate your lenses

The rotating knob of the lens can be prone to rust and fungal growth.

Excess water can slowly start to rust this too, this can be easily avoidable if you properly lubricate it.

Lens lubricant is pretty common and can be bought from many different optic stores, applying it to your knobs and lenses will ensure long-lasting protection – you’ll want to find something that is colorless and odorless as this is best suited for this type of optical lens.

Protect your lenses from any moisture

Water is the biggest enemy when it comes to optics, you will want to be very cautious that you are not unnecessarily exposing your binoculars to any kind of water; even if they are waterproof you’re going to want to avoid water as much as you can.

We’ve suggested a number of times throughout this article to blow on your lenses; this is assuming you don’t have a blower handy and blowing is your only option – though it would not be ideal to do this at all since our breath contains moisture and bacteria which can be harmful to the lens coating.

But if you ABSOLUTELY MUST, then go ahead – just try not to release any unnecessary moisture from your mouth when doing so.

Lastly, make sure to store your binoculars in a dry place, ideally in some sort of airtight bag when you’re not using them to further eliminate the likelihood of damage.

Final thoughts

By now, you should know how to clean both your lens and the body of your binocular as well as ways in which you can help to maintain these parts so that you don’t have to constantly clean them after use.

Let us know if there’s any other tips you’d like to see added to this list, cheers!

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