How To Clean Binoculars

How To Clean Binoculars

Let’s face it, you’ve spent a pretty penny on your binoculars. An investment of course,  but like all investments you have a duty to protect them. When purchased, your binoculars almost certainly came with a case and a set of lens caps. The lens caps should always be used when your binoculars are not being used, and the binoculars should be kept in their case. This is a great habit to keep, always keep the lenses covered and the binoculars in their case when not in use.

Dirt And Dust Are The Enemy

Take care of your binoculars and they will give you years of pleasure, but remember it’s not only good practise to keep the lens caps in place and the binoculars in their case. Your hands can be dirtier than you think, any grime on your hands can and will get transferred to your binoculars. OK, so you don’t ever touch the lens with your fingers, but you do touch the body of the binoculars.

Any dirt that’s transferred from your hands to the body of the binoculars can fall from the body into the case, which could travel to the uncovered lens…You can see where I’m going with this right? The eye pieces are most liable to get damaged. The special coatings that are put on the lens for protection are only applied in microscopic proportions and can’t be replaced if damaged or removed.

The Safest Way To Clean Binoculars

So, after giving you the worst possible scenario, let’s get into the reason you’re here, the safest way to clean your binoculars. Let’s face it, at some point in their lifetime they will need cleaning. Please remember this is only guidance, and is in no way responsible for any damage you do to your binoculars. Never try to clean binoculars without first removing any dust. Follow our step by step guide to make sure your binoculars are clean and safe.

Before Any Cleaning Takes Place, Read The User’s Manual To See If There Are Any Tools Or Chemicals Recommended Or Rejected By The Manufacturer.

The Best Way To Clean Binoculars In 3 Easy Steps

  1. Clean all dust from the binocular lenses.
    Using the brush of a lens cleaning pen gently brush any dust  away from the lenses, then using compressed air from a can purchased from a photo shop gently blow the loosened dirt away. Be sure the can only uses short bursts of air so as not to frost the lens. Never use a microfiber cloth to clean the lens as it can cause microscopic scratches on the lens, and never breathe on the lens either, this can contain water droplets that cause spots of water that are almost impossible to clean once the lens is dry.
  2. Use Cleaning Fluid
    Pour some of the approved cleaning fluid onto a cotton bud and using the cotton bud, gently remove any remaining dirt. Never pour any liquid directly onto the lens of your binoculars as it could seep into and damage internal components. If your binoculars are waterproof (check user’s manual) you can gently run a gentle flow of water over the lenses until the dirt is gone. Never store binoculars away until completely dry.
    Never use any window cleaning products on the lens of your binoculars as they could contain chemicals that could damage the lens, always refer to the user’s manual before applying anything to the lens or body of your binoculars.
  3. Dry With A Cloth
    Once the lenses are completely clean, use the lens cloth to wipe away any smears or smudges. Remember to use as little pressure as possible and use a circular motion when cleaning, be sure to cover the whole lens. Never use kitchen towel, or any old piece of cloth as they can contain fibres likely to scratch the lens, only ever use the lens cloth. A lens pen is a handy tool to have for any accidental smudges that appear whilst in the field. Use the brush on any dirt, and then use the carbon pad to clean the lens working from the centre out.

How To Clean The Body Of The Binoculars

It’s obviously important to keep the lenses clean on your binoculars, but it’s just as important to clean the body too. With dirty hands, and the Great British weather, it’s important to give the binoculars body a clean as well.

Cleaning The Binoculars Exterior

This is the easiest task to perform, just take a soft cloth that is slightly wet, and give the body a gentle wipe to remove any dirt or debris. Use a moist cotton bud to get to any hard to reach places. Remember to clean the inside of the lens caps too. Wait until the binoculars are completely dry before returning them to their case, after replacing the lens caps.

Cleaning The Binoculars Case

In most cases this should not be necessary but whilst you are waiting for the binoculars to dry it is good practise to turn the empty case upside down and give it a shake. This will remove any dust or dirt that has accumulated inside. Then take a small brush (not the one you use for the lens) and lightly rub the sides and base inside the case. Turn over and shake again just to be sure. If possible add a pouch of silica gel in the case with the binoculars to help prevent any moisture build up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Windex on binoculars?

Definitely not! Never use anything but a proprietary product on binocular lenses.

Where do you store binoculars?

Don’t store binoculars in places of high humidity or too much dust. If this is not possible, it is best to store them in an airtight container containing a sachet of silica gel.

Are binoculars waterproof?

Some binoculars are described as water-resistant or weatherproof, these models are sealed with a sealant that might protect against waves or heavy rain, but none are completely waterproof.