How To Clean Binoculars & Their Lens - Our Guide!

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October 6, 2021

What is the best way to clean your binocular lenses without damaging them?

Using specialised lens wipes and an air blower is the best way to clean binocular lenses to avoid any scratches while cleaning. As for the main body, you are able to use washing up liquid and a soft sponge to remove the dirt.

Binoculars are such a versatile outdoor tool that, when used properly, has an abundance of potential. But if you are to get the best possible results from your pair, then you need to make sure that your binoculars and their lenses keep clean and clear.

Just like any other tool, there are certain methods and different procedures that need to be done to ensure that you do not damage your binoculars while you attempt to care for them and clean them.

After all, no matter how large your budget is when you are buying your first pair of binoculars, if you do not care or clean them properly then they will end up damaged and useless.

To prevent any damage, here is our guide on how best to clean your binoculars.

Looking after your binocular lenses

The first thing to note about your binoculars is that if the lenses are not properly cared for then that will severally impact the use of the tool. In severe cases, you may have to buy a whole new pair.

So how do you correctly care for your lenses? The key is in how you store your binoculars when you are not using them.

Short term storage

If you often use your binoculars then you will not need to worry so much about long term storage issues that may arise like glass mould. However, that does not mean that you can neglect proper storage.

It is best if you avoid any chance of your binoculars getting into contact with water or humidity between uses. Likewise, you need to ensure that your lenses are not exposed to a lot of dust.

The mistake most people make here is that they assume the case that often comes with the binoculars upon purchase will keep your pair safe. While the case may prevent dust from gathering on the lenses, most cases are made out of fabric that could easily absorb water in the wrong conditions.

A plastic carrier bag or a container with a lid will work perfectly to keep the moisture build-up at bay.

That is not to say that you can not keep your binoculars in the case while storing it in a plastic bag or container (the more protection the better) but you should not be relying only on the case to care for your lenses.

Long term storage

If you do not often use your binoculars or have a pair that you save for special occasions such as a night vision pair, then there are a few more precautions you need to take when it comes to storing them.

Just like with the short term storage, you need to ensure that no water and minimal dust comes into contact with your binoculars. The same storage methods can be used e.g. a sturdy airtight plastic container.

With longer-term storage, it is best that you still take your binoculars out every month or so to make sure that no mould is growing and to make sure that they have not been damaged while being stored.

While it may not be much of a problem if you forget to replace the lens caps during short term storage, with long term storage you do need to make sure to replace them as it will decrease the chances of mould or condensation forming.

Lens caps will also prevent any damage being done directly to the lenses themselves which can be an expensive thing to fix.

You should also make sure that you are not storing them somewhere overly hot or cold. This is so that any water that did happen to get into your lenses does not condensate on the lens due to temperature over time.

If this does happen, the quality of the lense will be badly damaged and may in some cases be irreparable.

This is why it is advised that you take your binoculars out of storage every month or so to check for any damage that may have occurred during the storage period. The earlier the condensation is caught, the easier it will be to fix it.

How to clean your binocular's lenses

As long as you have followed the correct storage method, you will not need to clean your lenses that often if you only use your binoculars for special occasions.

In fact, the less that you are able to clean the lenses, the better.

For those times when your binoculars are just too dirty to not clean or have gotten wet, you need to make sure to clean then with a soft touch and by using the right tools.

Most camera and even some outdoor shops will supply the following equipment for a reasonable price so if you are planning on using your binoculars often enough for them to get dirty, it is best to invest in the correct cleaning equipment.

You may need:

  • Lens cleaning wipes
  • Lens cleaning brush
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Air blower

What you may find is that most of the dust and debris that has collected on your lenses during use can easily be blown off with the air blower. The gentle puffs of air will clean your lenses without you having to resort to wiping them which can cause smudges.

It is also a good idea not to keep your air blower just for cleaning your lenses after use but to also keep it with you when you plan to use your binoculars.

This way you will ensure a clear view every time and will prevent debris buildup.

If you do experience a build-up of dust then you can gently use the lens cleaning wipes or brush to get rid of the dust. Just be careful not to wipe with too much force as that could scratch your lenses.

For the most part, cleaning of the lenses can be avoided so long as you are careful not to touch the lenses directly and keep your binoculars dry and dust-free.

Removing mould from your binoculars

Unfortunately, part of the process when cleaning your binoculars may be to remove mould.

If your binoculars have mould growing on them or in the lenses, which you will be able to identify straight away due to the fungal spores, then you need to deal with the problem as soon as possible.

By leaving the mould to grow and spread more you will be allowing the damaging waste product that fungus process to attach itself onto your lens. While you will be able to remove the fungus itself, this waste product will remain and you will have to eventually replace them.

To clean your lens and remove the fungus all together, you will need to buy the correct type of cleaning solution. Something is most hydrogen peroxide will get the job done best and will also not be too harsh on the lens.

If you are unable to find hydrogen peroxide then your best bet is vinegar mixed with water to make it that little bit less acidic.

Once you have your solution it is a matter of gently dabbing some on the infected lens with one of your lens wipes and then using a new wipe to remove the fungus.

While you may need to let the solution sit for a moment, do not leave it on the lens for too long otherwise it could do more damage than good.

You may find that the fungus was too much to remove in which case it is best to take it to a professional who is able to clean the lens for you. Any camera shop should be able to assist you.

How to clean the body of your binoculars

When it comes to the actual body of your binoculars, you are able to be a bit more strong-handed with your cleaning methods compared to lens cleaning.

All you really need is some everyday cleaning solution that will not dissolve the rubber e.g. dishwashing detergent and a damp cloth to remove the build-up of dirt on the body.

The biggest issue you may have with the body of the binoculars us keeping them dry. Even if the body is a little damp and the lenses aren't, it could still result in fungal growth on the lens.

Therefore it is best to ensure that you dry your binoculars off as much as possible before you put them into storage to avoid mould and expensive repairs.

Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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