A Complete Guide to Cleaning Binoculars: How to Keep Them Looking Like New!

Keeping binoculars in good condition is very important, and it keeps them ready for use and ensures that you can focus them quickly and safely on your target. A dirty or unclean binocular is one that you cannot enjoy to the full potential of its capabilities. As a result, if you don’t keep your binoculars clean and well-maintained, they may break down faster than expected.

Keeping the lenses clean is essential to get a clear view of your surroundings. To do this, you should use a binocular lens cleaner. This will remove any dust and grime that builds up on your lenses over time, so you can see things clearly when you look through the binoculars.
Check out the link below if you haven’t already purchased a lens cleaner.

Tools and Materials Needed

To embark on your binocular cleaning journey, assembling the right tools and materials is crucial. Here’s a concise list of essentials that I’ve found indispensable:

Tools and MaterialsPurpose
Lens Cleaning SolutionEffectively removes smudges and debris.
Microfiber ClothsGentle, lint-free cloths for lens cleaning.
Lens BrushIdeal for removing loose dirt and particles.
Compressed AirSafely blows away dust from hard-to-reach areas.
Lens Cleaning PenOffers a precise and convenient cleaning option.
Lens Cleaning TissuesSoft tissues for delicate lens cleaning.
Lens Cleaning WipesConvenient for on-the-go cleaning.

These tools work in harmony to ensure a thorough cleaning process without risking damage to your binoculars. Assembling a complete kit with these essentials will empower you to maintain your binoculars with confidence.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Cleaning your binoculars is essential to maintain their optical performance and extend their lifespan. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to clean binoculars:

Removing Loose Debris

1. Using a Lens Brush

The initial step in your binocular cleaning process involves delicately removing loose debris that may have found its way onto your lenses. A lens brush, featuring soft bristles, is an invaluable tool for this task. Gently sweep the brush across the objective lenses and eyepieces, ensuring any loose particles are whisked away without risking scratches on the glass surface.

It’s crucial to adopt light and sweeping motions, allowing the brush to do the work without applying undue pressure. This method is particularly effective for outdoor enthusiasts who often encounter dust and dirt during their adventures.

Tools NeededProcedure
Lens BrushLightly brush across objective lenses and eyepieces.
Ensure gentle, sweeping motions to avoid scratches.

2. Blowing Away Dust with Compressed Air

For more persistent particles nestled in those hard-to-reach areas, enter compressed air. Hold your binoculars at a downward angle to prevent any dislodged debris from falling back onto the lenses. Utilizing short bursts, blow away dust and particles, ensuring a clean and clear optical path.

It’s crucial to maintain a reasonable distance while using compressed air to prevent potential damage to the delicate lens surfaces.

Tools NeededProcedure
Compressed AirHold binoculars downward; blow away dust with bursts.
Keep a reasonable distance to prevent potential damage.

Cleaning the Exterior

1. Wiping Down the Body

Moving beyond the lenses, it’s time to address the exterior of your binoculars. The body, often exposed to the elements, can accumulate dirt and grime during outdoor excursions. To tackle this, dampen a microfiber cloth with a small amount of lens cleaning solution or a mild detergent solution.

Gently wipe down the body of the binoculars, paying special attention to textured or hard-to-reach areas. The objective here is to strike a balance—effectively removing dirt while ensuring excess moisture doesn’t seep into the interior.

Tools NeededProcedure
Microfiber ClothDampen with cleaning solution; wipe down the body.
Lens Cleaning SolutionUse a small amount for effective cleaning.

2. Cleaning Eyecups and Focus Wheel

Eyecups and the focus wheel, though often overlooked, can harbor oils and debris. A cotton swab or a small brush proves instrumental in cleaning these components. If needed, a touch of lens cleaning solution on the swab can provide a thorough cleaning without causing any damage.

Tools NeededProcedure
Cotton Swab or Small BrushClean eyecups and focus wheel.
Lens Cleaning SolutionApply a small amount if necessary.

Cleaning the Lenses

1. Applying Lens Cleaning Solution

Now, we delve into the heart of your binoculars—the lenses. Applying a small amount of lens cleaning solution to a microfiber cloth, ensure that the cloth is damp but not dripping. Adopting a gentle touch, wipe the lenses in a circular motion, commencing from the center and extending outward.

The objective is to dislodge and lift away any dirt or smudges that may have accumulated on the lens surfaces.

Tools NeededProcedure
Microfiber ClothApply lens cleaning solution; wipe in a circular motion.
Lens Cleaning SolutionUse a small amount for effective cleaning.

2. Using a Microfiber Cloth

The microfiber cloth, a versatile tool in your kit, plays a dual role in this process. After applying the cleaning solution, switch to a dry section of the cloth to buff the lenses. This ensures the removal of any remaining solution and leaves your lenses streak-free.

Tools NeededProcedure
Microfiber ClothDry section; buff lenses for a streak-free finish.

3. Using a Lens Cleaning Pen (if applicable)

Lens cleaning pens, with their fine brushes, are excellent for tackling small and hard-to-reach areas. Gently brush the lenses in a circular motion, ensuring that the brush is clean and free of debris before each use.

Tools NeededProcedure
Lens Cleaning PenBrush lenses in a circular motion; remove fingerprints.

4. Addressing Stubborn Stains or Spots

Occasionally, stubborn stains or spots may require extra attention. If persistent debris persists, consider a lens cleaning solution specifically formulated for tougher stains. Apply a small amount to a cotton swab or the microfiber cloth and gently work on the affected area.

Tools NeededProcedure
Cotton Swab or Microfiber ClothApply solution; work on stubborn stains.

Cleaning the Eyepieces

1. Carefully Removing Dirt and Grime

Moving to the eyepieces, which are in close contact with your eyes, calls for a delicate approach. Utilize a clean cotton swab or a small brush to carefully remove any buildup. Exercise caution to avoid damage to the delicate lens surfaces.

Tools NeededProcedure
Cotton Swab or Small BrushCarefully clean eyepieces.

2. Avoiding Scratches on Eyepiece Lenses

Cleaning eyepieces requires extra care to prevent scratches due to their proximity to the eyes. Employ gentle, circular motions with a microfiber cloth and avoid applying excessive pressure. This ensures thorough cleaning without compromising the integrity of the eyepiece lenses.

Tools NeededProcedure
Microfiber ClothGently clean eyepieces; avoid excessive pressure.

Common Binocular Cleaning Myths

In the realm of binocular maintenance, misinformation abounds, and debunking common cleaning myths is essential for preserving the longevity and performance of your optical companions.

  1. Myth: Using Household Cleaners for Lenses: It’s a common misconception that household cleaners can substitute for specialized lens cleaning solutions. In reality, these cleaners often contain harsh chemicals that can damage lens coatings, leading to irreparable harm over time.
  2. Myth: Cleaning Binoculars with Clothing Items: While it may seem convenient to use a shirttail or a tissue, these materials can inadvertently scratch the delicate surfaces of your lenses. Microfiber cloths designed for optics provide a gentle and lint-free solution.
  3. Clarifying Misconceptions for Safe Cleaning: Proper cleaning methods involve precision and care, dispelling the notion that aggressive cleaning is necessary. This section will provide clarity, ensuring that your cleaning routine aligns with best practices, debunking myths that may compromise the integrity of your binoculars.

Troubleshooting and Problem-Solving

No journey in binocular maintenance is without its challenges, and addressing issues promptly is crucial to maintaining optimal performance. Drawing from my experiences, here’s a troubleshooting guide to common problems and effective problem-solving techniques.

Internal FoggingPlace the binoculars in a warm, dry area to dissipate moisture. If persistent, seek professional assistance.
Water DamageRemove excess water immediately. Let binoculars air-dry completely, and store them with desiccant packs to prevent future damage.
Scratches on LensesMinor scratches may be mitigated with a lens repair kit. For major scratches, consult a professional for lens replacement.

Recommended Cleaning Frequency

Establishing a regular cleaning routine is key to sustaining the longevity and performance of your binoculars. The recommended cleaning frequency depends on usage and environmental factors. Here’s a general guide:

After Every UseLight use in dusty or humid conditions.
WeeklyRegular outdoor activities.
MonthlyOccasional use in clean environments.

Factors like exposure to saltwater, extreme temperatures, or heavy dust may necessitate more frequent cleaning. Regular inspection ensures you address minor issues before they escalate, maintaining the clarity and functionality of your binoculars over time.

Which is the best option to clean the cloudy binocular lens? 

Soap is a safe and effective solution to clean off the lens with water. Rubbing alcohol is not recommended, as it can cause damage to your eyes if used too much and has a lasting effect on the binocular lens. Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended as it will also negatively impact the lenses. Water helps to clean the lens and is more carefree than alcohol.

How to clean cloudy binocular lens: Best Lens cleaning solution

Blow away any wobbly dirt particles on the larger lenses with compressed air or a soft camel hair brush. The safest way to remove stubborn dust particles is with a lens cleaning pen, whether as a cleaning device or as a tool for documenting an object (getting up close and personal would be a bonus).

No matter which lens cleaner you use, ensure it doesn’t contain any isopropyl alcohol. These are often bad for your lenses in the long run (even if they’re effective for cleaning in the short term). Use a soft cloth or swab to clean your lenses, as this is gentler and more effective.

The air blower pump is a nifty solution to remove dust from your larger lens, and it’s a cheap fix, and you can pick one up quickly.

Cleaning the lens with a lens pen is essential. To get it to shine, you should brush off any dirt particles with the help of some cleaning solution.

How do you remove water from inside binoculars?

Removing water from inside a pair of binoculars is called drying out. To do this, evacuate all the air from inside the binoculars and place them on something like an upside-down pot to catch any excess water that drips out. It can take several hours to dry completely, but once the binoculars are ready, wipe them off with a cloth and store them away for future use.

The process of removing water from a pair of binoculars can be completed relatively quickly with the use of an inexpensive mini vacuum cleaner. This way, you don’t need to wait for them to dry out, and make sure not to damage your binoculars.

Binoculars can get saltwater on them. If so, rinse off the binocular in fresh water. It’s crucial to clean the binocular before it dries and becomes difficult to remove. You can move it around in a circular motion and apply a little pressure.

You can use a few different types of liquid-based cleaning fluid kits to clean your binocular lenses. Most of these kits are designed to be sprayed onto a clean lens cleaning tissue or cotton-tilted applicators. It would be best to pour the liquid onto the lenses and then wiped it off with the cleaning cloth.

Next up: How do you get water bubbles from inside eyeglasses?

It is easy to create water bubbles when the glasses are filled with liquid. They can start by a small bubble at the corner or around the arm of the lens and make their way up, tumbling through oxygen-rich air. Bubbles exist only because there is not enough force on one side of the menu to collapse entirely into its mirror anded twin.

The pressure increases inside eyeglasses as more fluid fills them, and gravity allows them to push out. The pressure changes are caused by the bubbles and when this force is enough, there starts a chain reaction that causes a glass pane or triangle to shatter in half with tiny cracks spread underneath the opaque piece of the glass removing bits of oxygen into space preventing them from coming back (like on those highway signs)

Eventually, all three pieces will collapse, which triggers fractures in other glasses allowing water and air molecules. The bubbles cause the pressure changes potential to become a lifetime of eye saver.

The process is slow, so it takes days, if not weeks sometimes, for glasses to dry and be ready for use again. Still, once they are, there will be no more water bubbles around your lenses anymore since their air escape valve shattered hundreds of years ago, along with most other rare occurrences that go down in history as facts when in reality, all was just speculation flying by on the wings of the wind.

How do you clean the inside of your binoculars?

How do you clean the inside of your binoculars

To clean binoculars, you should dry them well after each use, wiping down any parts touching the ground. Make sure you have all components and lenses on securely, and after drying well, you can carefully remove any dirt and grit by hand.

It’s not hard to clean your binoculars, but it is a bit of a tedious job because the parts are nearly inaccessible on most models. Use lens tissues or ultra-fine sandpaper to gently buff away stains and allow them to dry out just enough for resubmission as long as possible with minimum scratching (you shouldn’t scratch heavy lenses anyway). If you do manage to get any sap off, ultratough grade sandpaper will remove it instantly.

Brush off the dirt particles with the lens pen.

Rub off the impurities using a microfiber cloth.

Cleaning your binoculars is an essential step for optimum performance. Wipe off dirt particles with a soft, damp cloth, paper towel, or facial tissue.

Then carefully use a mild cleaner on the binocular body, careful not to touch the lenses. It’s also crucial to keep your lenses clean and covered with a lens cap.

In most cases, these binoculars will come with a neck strap that also doubles as a protective case. They are typically quick, easy, and comfy, but they are just as helpful in preventing potential accidents.

How do you remove fungus from a binocular lens?

If there is a fungal attack on your binoculars, here is what you should do to clean the lenses:

When you find fKeepingmportant to removings possible is also crucial. You can do this is essential detaching the lenses and rotating the knob. However, if your binocular is old, you will need a lens wrench to scrape them off. Remove the lenses by placing one side on each of the tools and moving back and forth.

To know the amount of fungus, hold a light source from the back of the lens.

To treat fungus, shake the lens to unscrew it.

Now place it on some paper towels and pour a mild dishwashing liquid over the lens.

Next, pour some vinegar over the lens — the acid will help remove dirt or impurities that remain in your glasses .

How do you fix sticky binoculars?

It may be due to humidity if your binoculars have gotten sticky and you can’t use them. Do not try to clean them by using a dry cloth or place that has high air pressure, this will make the process more challenging as the water will drip out of them, making them even more likely to fall apart.

You should then proceed with moistening a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol; if they are still too stiff to work with, then put them in a bag of rubbing alcohol and leave it there for as long as you can.

Here are some tips that you should do to be rid of the stickiness:

Damp a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol, Windex, or ammonia. Be careful when using rubbing alcohol because it may destroy the rubber surface.

Rub the cloth over the lens surface, which is sticky.

If the surface is sticky, add baking soda and water to form a thin paste. The consistency should be like that of toothpaste. Rub the paste over the body of the binocular with the cloth. Then wash it off with water.

This method, on the other hand, will not completely solve the problem. Because when the rubber on binoculars starts to crumble, it will begin to remain so. As a result, whenever feasible, change the parts.

Seven things to avoid performing while cleaning the lenses’ cleaning process

Don’t blow on your lenses. It can cause water spots, create dirt elsewhere, and push particles toward the edges of the lens. Not good!

Using your shirt, t-shirt, or tissue paper is not recommended. The fibers that make up these fabrics can scratch the special coatings on your lenses over time. This will reduce the quality of your service and may lead to permanent damage.

Avoid impatiently cleaning your eyeglasses because it can damage the lens. Cleaning carefully is essential for protecting your eyeglasses and preventing them from breaking. Hold your eyeglasses by their earpieces when you put them on or take them off to hold them in place without bending them. Avoid watching distant objects with only one eye while an eyeglass covers your other eye.

Storing your binoculars in direct sunlight will make them worse rather than better because it will heat the lenses which can alter how they work. If you leave your binoculars out of their case, put them on a hygienic surface, like the table where you eat or use your phone.

Remember to wear gloves and clean with care — it may seem obvious, but these are easy to forget. These are key in preventing damaging your lenses, something you’ll want to avoid at all costs! After all, eyesight is precious.

Avoid using excessive amounts of water to prevent rusting. Even if your binoculars are waterproof, you don’t want water seeping into the eyepiece and creating a foggy mess. Use a microfiber cloth that is soft, lint-free, and smooth. Don’t wipe in circular motions – follow the natural curve from the center of the lens.

Never leave your binoculars to dry on the kitchen table. Cleaning lenses should be done separately from food-eating and beverage-drinking. Never pour water directly onto your binoculars’ lenses.

You will notice an air gap between the two lenses of your binoculars. The purpose of this space is to keep these lenses from scratching each other. Because as we all know, scratches on the lens surface affect how clear the image you are viewing through the binoculars will appear.

Now we will discuss how to take care of your binocular lens.

Steps to Follow:

Start lubricating the lenses to prevent rusting. Grease that is colorless and odorless is the best.

In a humid region, apply a water-absorbent silica gel.

Try to keep your binoculars as clear as possible. To wash the inner part of the objective lenses, extract the base plate.

Binocular Cleaning Kits:

The two most chosen cleaning kits are the Vortex Optics Fog-Free Lens Cleaning Kit and the Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit.

Vortex Optics Fog-Free Lens Cleaning Kit includes-

Soft brush

Anti-Fog Lens Cleaner [for anti-fog protection and effective cleaning]

A piece of cloth (cotton)

These are the best for sports-type purposes. While shooting, you Extract the base plate ton using these models.

Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit includes-

Soft brush

Cleaning tissue

Air blower Cleanser (you can blow off the dirt from the lenses and the binocular body using this tool).

Cotton cloth

Lens Cleanser

Instead of being dropped, most binoculars are wrecked by sloppy cleaning. As a result, before cleaning, it is crucial to observe the cleaning methods closely and read the manual thoroughly.

The lens cleaning kit will save you the hassle of getting suitable materials to wash binocular lenses, making your binocular cleaning much more comfortable and well-organized.

6 Mistakes You’ll Avoid When clean and service Binoculars

Clean your binoculars often, and keep them neat and in good condition, so they last a lifetime.

Ask yourself the following questions before you start cleaning:

Do I need to clean my binocular lenses? (only if they are dirty, blue, or streaked with smudges)

Does it require special chemicals/cleaning agents? (ammonia solution is perfect as long as diluted)   

Will photos suffice to show what items I need to clean? (if yes, write down the details)

Can I quickly see into the eyepiece whether it needs cleaning or not? 

Once you have solved these questions, make time for a phone consultation with one of our trained technicians if necessary. We would be more than happy to help at any stage of your microscopy career, relying on your relationship with us as a customer in-store for your microscopy needs. 

For best results, the procedure should be done before news work or after observing some processes and events that require minutes (a forgotten photograph to remind yourself what you have been watching, etc.).

Once cleaned, put them back in shape with this simple technique:  

Place a brillo pad on a clean towel so it can absorb any excess lubricant

Heat source like water or steam and run a soapy pad over the eyepieces

Place a clean, dry brillo pad on top of the soaked ones.

Repeat steps 2 to 4 for each eyepiece, or keeps in mind that it is most likely one pair will be cleaned this way (1st job)  

Place one hand into the eyepiece while holding an applanar mask in front of binoculars

While keeping a steady hold on the mask, pull the eyepiece and stay attached to it with that hand until both are back in place.

Is it reasonable to wear glasses while using binoculars?

Optometrists recommend wearing eye protection while using binoculars because you could accidentally look at something closer up than your eyes are meant to see, potentially damaging your eyes.

The lens would deteriorate and prevent you from seeing properly. For the same reason, binoculars with a short-focus setting should be avoided. Without eye protection, you could get too close to an object which is way more intimate than what your eyes can see, and accidentally damage it.

Wearing glasses when using binoculars helps in two ways:

First, if you already wear glasses for better vision then why wouldn’t you give them to use for clear sight?

Secondly, as a reference point about how much to crank up the power. On nights where I need to use a 100X or higher, with glasses on my eyes it is hard for me to think about looking at something very close-up that much would awaken some eye strain from using too big of magnifications.

First, will they damage if you do not wear glasses and your binoculars have extra wide-angle lenses? Why? The answer depends on how fast you are cranking them out. If you turn it way up to 100X, or even 125x or higher (most of the brands now have 2X to 12X magnifications), then wearing glasses would allow your center of vision some protection from being squished together by too much light and ruining its peripheral vision behind.

The second will you damage your eyesight if you need fine focussing but don’t wear reading specs. They are bignce with minimal squishing.

The other issue with eyeglasses is that they will hide the stereoscopic binocular image to a degree and because they aren’t really at wide angles, most of their undereye protection is in the sides or on top of your eyes instead, depending on what kind you are using, i.e., rectangular reading glasses.

When I’m looking through big 12″ long eye-viewers like those sold for convenience store checkout counters but being used as binoculars, my eyes are in sunlight when using the 50mm and more. With magnification I only need light on one part of them, so wearing glasses will protect half their field from being squished together by direct sunlight, essentially blinding me if I rotate any harder as suggested above.

If you wear reading specs outside, use something more significant, like 30 mm instead of 25mm, which is pretty standard for men’s sports sunglasses.

What magnification is best for birdwatching?

The best magnification for bird watching is 10x. Because binoculars with a magnification of 10x will give you a better view of the birds, you are trying to spot.

Additionally, since the eyes of humans and birds are at similar focal lengths, your binoculars will have no trouble adjusting focus to accommodate different distances.

How do you clean Vortex binoculars?

Cleaning your Vortex binoculars is a straightforward process that requires using a simple rag and cleaning solution.

First, you should remove the caps on both ends of the binoculars to expose the objective lenses.

Then rinse them with warm water and mild soap to remove any dirt or debris stuck between the lens surfaces.

Finally, use a cloth or soft paper towel to dry them off, so they are ready for use again!

How often should you clean your binoculars?

If you are using your binoculars for bird watching, then you should clean them at least once a month. It is best to clean them for general use every 3-4 uses.

How to clean hazy binoculars?

If you want to clean these hazy lenses, you can take some alcohol and wipe them properly. You can use 70% alcohol and rub them. After that, take a soft tissue and rinse them correctly.

How do you remove scratches from binocular lenses?

There are many ways to remove scratches from binocular lenses. Some of the best methods include:

Use a toothbrush and toothpaste – Dip a clean, soft toothbrush into toothpaste and scrub the surface of your lens with it in circular motions until all marks have been removed. Rinse off the paste with water and let it dry before using it again.

Use dish soap – Take a clean, wet cloth or sponge and dip it into dish soap to create a thick paste that can be applied directly onto your lens’s surface. Rub gently in circular motions until all of the scratches are gone, and rinse off with water afterward for a streak-free finish.

Use glycerin – Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) of glycerin onto a clean cloth or paper towel, then dab at your lens’s surface in circular motions until all of the scratches are gone and rinse off with water afterward for a streak-free finish as well as being able to use this method without having to worry about any side effects on your eyesight because glycerin is natural!

Can I use alcohol to clean binoculars?

No, alcohol is not recommended to clean binoculars. It can cause permanent damage to the lenses and internal parts of the binoculars.

The best way to clean your optics is using a lens tissue, or a cloth soaked in water and wrung out. If you need to use alcohol, it should be diluted with distilled water (one part alcohol, three parts distilled water).

How do you get the fog out of binoculars?

Fog can quickly accumulate on your binoculars, so the best way to get rid of, and its by wiping them down with a clean cloth. You can also spray a little bit of dish soap onto the cloth and use that to wipe down the lenses.

How do you get mold out of binoculars?

The first thing you need to do is to find out if the binoculars are made of metal or plastic. If they are made of metal, use a blow dryer to remove any moisture trapped in the eyepieces.

If they are made of plastic, then using the towel trick can help by placing the binoculars inside a dampened cloth and wringing it out. The towel will remove all excess water from the optics and evaporate it with minimal transfer onto your skin.

Can you use glasses cleaner on binoculars?

Binoculars are usually made of delicate materials sensitive to solvents and chemicals. Therefore, using cleaners containing ammonia or other strong chemical substances on binoculars is not recommended.

However, if you would like to clean your glasses with the help of a cleaner, then you can still do so without any issue.

Final Words:

Binoculars are an essential part of any birding or wildlife enthusiast’s equipment. Whether you are a professional ornithologist or just an amateur birder, keeping your binoculars in good condition is necessary. Here we have provided you with some tips on how to clean your binoculars and keep them looking like new!

As you can see, there are several ways to clean your binoculars. The best way is to use a cleaning kit with a cleaning cloth and pen. You can use a material to wipe the lenses and ensure they are dust-free. If the binoculars have water marks, remove them using the cleaning pen. This will also help remove fingerprints from your binoculars.

Resources and References

To further enrich your knowledge and ensure you’re equipped with the latest insights, explore the following resources:

  1. Online Tutorials and Videos: Visual guides for hands-on learning.
  2. Manufacturer’s Cleaning Guidelines: Manufacturer-specific tips and recommendations.
  3. Recommended Reading and Guides: In-depth materials for a deeper dive into binocular maintenance.

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