Undoubtedly, binoculars are expensive. Whether you got your pair from a thrift shop or splurged an enormous amount on the best binoculars in the market, it’s an investment worth protecting. A good pair of binoculars will increase the range and offer you a clearer view of the heavens. However, a dirty one does precisely the opposite.
Regardless of the type, most binoculars are frequently used outside, and they will get dirty over time. So, if you’re looking for a complete guide on how to clean binoculars & their lenses, then you’re in luck!
This article will walk you through the basics of cleaning your binoculars and any other queries you might have.
Are Cleaning Binoculars Important?
Like any other piece of professional equipment, your binoculars also require cleaning from time to time. This is a delicate and complex piece of hardware, so if left unattended for a long period, it could lead to irreversible damage.
For instance, if water or dirt accidentally gets into your binoculars, this could cause rust and decay. This could put the lens out of focus, causing the vision to get blurry and significantly decreasing the lifespan.
However, preventing malfunction isn’t the only reason why you should keep your binoculars clean. They can catch dust, debris, or even dead bugs when used outdoors!
This could lead to serious hygiene issues if not washed properly. That’s why it’s imperative to clean your binoculars regularly, both inside and outside.
Advice Before Cleaning
Before you start, we recommend reading the owner’s manual provided with the packaging. Most of them are pretty basic and straightforward, but some do point out specific instructions on properly cleaning the product you own.
They also tell you which products and chemicals you should avoid that could lead to potential damage. So, it’s wise to check beforehand.
Many of the special coatings, and parts used by the manufacturer to aid with light transmission, are prone to scratch or damage. Be cautious when cleaning.
How to Clean Binoculars Body?
Knowing how to keep your binoculars clean is crucial to keeping them functional. Most of the time, we are so focused on keeping the lens clean that we rarely worry about the body.
When using your binoculars outdoors, namely in the wild, it’s pretty easy to get dirt on them. But the worst thing you could do is not clean them afterward. Cleaning the body doesn’t take that much effort, and you can do this in some easy steps –
- First, compressed air can eliminate any loose grit or sand stuck on the surface. Then with a lint-free cloth, slowly wipe the entire binocular, including the barrel, eyepiece, and focus wheel.
- If you still find marks or stains in the outer layer, consider using good quality rubbing alcohol or tepid water to clean. Pour some rubbing alcohol or mild cleaner on a piece of soft cloth, and wipe the rubber armor of the binocular.
- Be careful not to spill any alcohol on the lenses, as it will damage them beyond repair. Furthermore, don’t use the same cloth to clean the lens and body.
How to Clean the Binocular Lens?
The most crucial part is that the lenses are the lenses that need a careful and thorough cleaning. After you have gathered all the necessary cleaning materials, you can start. This will not take a lot of time, and it’s quite easy if you follow the proper steps –
Preparation is the key to flawlessly completing any task. Gathering suitable materials ahead of time makes your work convenient and stress-free. So, here’s a list of things that will come in handy.
To clean your binoculars thoroughly, you’ll need –
- Binocular cleaning kit
- Squeeze ball or pressurized air can
- Lens pen or camel brush
- Microfiber cloth
- Lens cleaning agent
Once you have acquired all the necessary things, it’s time for you to grab your binoculars and start cleaning!
Step 1 – Removing the Dust
The binocular body and the lens can catch a surprising amount of dust. So, to begin with, use a soft camel brush or air blaster to remove all the dust that might otherwise get into the lens coating.
You might be tempted to breathe on the glasses and wipe them off with a cloth in a good old-fashioned way, but avoid doing this at all costs. The moisture from your breath can fog up the lens, which might cause dust particles to stick.
If you want to take a shortcut, then use compressed air canisters. Use short, consistent bursts of air. We wouldn’t recommend this method because petroleum distillates inside the air canister could potentially damage the ultra-thin coating.
Using a squeeze ball or puffer brush is the most practical way to eliminate dirt and grit. The next best thing you could do is use a soft bristle brush. You can also use your lens pen to do this. The lens pen is specifically designed to clean without damaging the lens.
Step 2 – Wipe the Lens
Now that you have removed all unwanted dust off your lens, you can move on to the next step.
Take your antifog cleaner that came with your cleaning kit. Moisten the lens with a cotton swab and gently wipe the lens. This will remove oily fingerprints or reluctant smudges.
While wiping the lens, always use a good quality microfiber cloth. Avoid using any paper or even soft tissue. As soft as it may seem, paper or similar materials are abrasive. This could scratch the special coating on the lens.
Step 3 – Drying
Dry the lens using the same cloth you used earlier. This will remove any moisture. You can also use a gust of air to dry it off. Also, this step ensures your precious binocular lens isn’t left with any droplet stains.
How to Clean without a Cleaning Kit?
Okay, now you know how to clean your binoculars using a cleaning kit. But what to do in case you don’t have one lying around?
Well, don’t freak out. It’s possible to maintain them even without a cleaning kit. The finish might not be as good as expected, but hey, desperate times call for measures.
Let’s get over the steps on how to clean binoculars without a cleaning kit –
Step 1 – Blow Dust Away
The most important thing while cleaning is to keep in mind that the less rubbing you do on an optical surface, the better. Even the best microfiber cloth can potentially damage the coating on the lens if handled poorly. As we’ve said before, tiny dust particles on the lens can act like sandpaper on your fragile coating.
For this reason, it is vital to get rid of all the dust first.
Start by blowing off the dust using a puffer ball or a lens blower. You can find blower brushes specifically designed for cameras and lenses. If you can’t get your hands on one, then a soft bristle brush is the next best thing you could use.
Step 2 – Rinse the Lens
Depending on how dirty your binocular is, you may wish to rinse them with tepid water to remove any persistent dirt or stain.
Remember to use only clean water, don’t use any domestic cleaning solution or eyeglass cleaner. These generally have harsh chemicals that could destroy the special layer on the lens.
Step 3 – Use Camera Lens Cloths
First, check if your lens is cleaned correctly or not, as this step should be carried out only if the binocular is still dirty.
Take a high-quality lint-free or microfiber cloth and gently rub the lenses. The best ones specifically designed for cleaning cameras or sometimes binoculars are camera lens cloths.
We recommend keeping two microfiber cloth with you at all times. Use one to clean the body and another to clean the binocular lens. Ensure the cloth is washed at all times; also, store it in a zip-lock bag so it does not collect dust.
Cleaning the Inside of Your Binocular
What if dirt or water gets inside your binoculars? Should you take it apart for cleaning?
The straight answer to this question is NO! Never try to dismantle your binoculars by yourself.
New binoculars, especially the more expensive ones, are filled with nitrogen gas. This balances the internal temperature of your binoculars and prevents them from fogging up.
Another reason you shouldn’t try this at home is that this may break any waterproof seal, making it more vulnerable to moisture. You could also disturb the lens alignment, rendering the whole thing useless!
Disassembling your binoculars can be tricky, and we highly discourage you from doing so. But if your binoculars require immediate attention, then follow the steps below –
- First, unscrew the cap to reveal the focus mechanism
- Then take off the cover plate and eyepiece to access the prism
- Use a blower to remove residue
- Retract the bottom plate, wipe the lens from the inside
- Allow it to dry
- Reassemble the binoculars as it was
- Carefully put back the tiny screws exactly where you found them
Generally, it is advised to consult a specialist if your binoculars need internal repairs or cleaning. Contact the manufacturer in this regard, or you can also visit an authorized service shop.
How to Clean Binoculars from Fungus?
The worst thing to happen to a binocular is fungal growth. And there is no easy way to get rid of this. Moisture, pollen, and dust can cause your lens and body to get moldy.
Furthermore, the fungus appears in the lenses as long stripes, which could ruin your image and even damage the internal mechanism.
To get rid of this, follow the instructions below –
Make a solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia in a ratio of 1:1. You can also use muriatic acid. Be careful of chemical fumes, wear safety glasses and gloves, and keep the room well ventilated.
First, take out the lens, and submerge it in the solution you prepared. Keep a disposable soft cloth on the bottom of the cleaning dish to avoid scratch marks on the lens.
Soak the lens for a minute or two, then take it out, and rinse in water. Finally, wipe and dry using a microfiber cloth. Avoid rubbing the lens.
Tips for Maintaining Your Binocular
Binoculars are expensive investments that we make once in a while, and it’d be a shame if they weren’t properly taken care of. Proper maintenance is the first thing you should know before cleaning or even repairs.
Binoculars are bound to get dirty while used. We have already discussed how you can clean them. Here are some tips you can follow to increase the lifespan of your beloved binoculars –
- Remember to lubricate. The focus knob gears can develop rust if used excessively and due to moisture. Use a neutral optic lubricant to keep them smooth and running.
- Moisture is the biggest reason why your optics malfunction. So, avoid getting your binoculars wet, even if they’re waterproof. Store them in an airtight plastic bag with a sachet or two of silica gel when not in use.
- Invest in good-quality lens essentials. A high-quality microfiber cloth, camel brush, and cleaning solution will come a long way in keeping your binoculars in A1 condition.
- Try to prevent your binoculars from colliding with solid objects. This could distort your prism balance, resulting in a blurry image.
- Always keep the lens cap on when the binocular is not used. Try to store the binoculars in a dry and well-ventilated place.
- What is the Most Efficient Way to Clean Lenses?
A Camel brush is a good option if you want quick cleaning. You can also use puffer balls with soft bristles to get rid of sand or dust.
Finally, give them a thorough cleaning using a microfiber cloth and cleaning solution.
- How can You Fix Foggy Lenses?
Fogging or condensation occurs due to excess moisture. To prevent this, simply wipe the lens, and store them in an airtight container with a desiccant inside. This will absorb the moisture inside the packaging, eliminating the fogging problem.
- How to Reduce Shaking?
The easiest way to avoid this is by using tripods. Try leaning on a window or any stable object if you don’t have one. This will significantly increase your stability, offering you a steadier image.
- How to Adjust Focus on a Binocular?
First, look through the right eyepiece, and adjust the central focus wheel. Next, close your right eye while looking down the left barrel, and perform fine adjustments using the diopter until you get a sharp image. But don’t try to spin both of them together. Otherwise, you’ll get confused.
- How to Use the Eyecups?
Modern binoculars have come with eyecups that can be adjusted as per users’ needs. Generally made of soft plastic or rubber, this feature helps prevent blackouts and adjust the field of view when used.
This is especially helpful for people who need eyeglasses. Twist the eyecups to adjust the distance between your eye and binocular eyepiece.
The easiest way to keep your binoculars clean is pretty apparent; try not to get them dirty in the first place, but if you run into some trouble, you can follow this guide to clean your precious binoculars quickly.
In this article, we showed you some basic ways of cleaning and some tips on how to maintain your binoculars easily.
Now that you know how to clean binoculars & their lenses, you can make them last a long time. But remember, precision work like cleaning the insides of a binocular should only be done by a skilled professional.
Binoculars are a fragile yet magnificent piece of machinery, and if treated right, they’ll last you a lifetime. We hope you found this guide helpful. Good luck with your future expeditions!