Clean Your Digital SLR Camera, Lens, and Sensor - dummies

Clean Your Digital SLR Camera, Lens, and Sensor

By Doug Sahlin

Take care of your digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera, and it will look like new even after years of use. Clean the camera body with a soft cloth. If the camera is ever exposed to salt spray, wet a soft cloth and wring it almost dry. Wipe it over the camera body, being careful not to dampen any electrical ports, the battery door, or the memory card door.

If you have any embedded debris, gently brush the camera body with a soft toothbrush.

You should also clean your lenses on a regular basis. The first step in cleaning your lens is to blow off any loose debris with a blower. Then use a soft brush that is designed for lens cleaning to whisk off any additional particles. The last step is to wipe the lens with a microfiber cloth.

One other part of your digital SLR camera needs attention: the sensor. Sensor dust is a fact of life because you take lenses off the camera. The short time that a lens is off the camera before replacing it with another leaves the sensor exposed to the elements. Dust can find its way to your sensor. Sensor dust shows up as black dots on your images.

Most new digital cameras have built-in sensor cleaning, but that doesn’t get all the dust out. The only way to make sure your sensor is squeaky clean is to have it cleaned professionally or to use commercial products to clean it yourself. VisibleDust offers products for cleaning the camera sensor. They are not cheap, but they work well.

[Credit: Image courtesy of VisibleDust]
Credit: Image courtesy of VisibleDust

Focus manually to the closest distance of which your lens is capable and then take a picture of a clear blue sky with your smallest aperture. Any dust will show up as dark spots on the image. Lots of dark spots means it’s time to clean the sensor.