How to Clean Binoculars: Our Top Tips for Crystal-Clear Lenses 

It is very important to know how to clean your binoculars properly and the products you should use that can remove marks off the rubber armor and how to keep the lenses clean for optimal visibility.

So, what’s the best method to use and what should you avoid doing? In our guide, we’ll walk you through the proper way to care for your new binoculars, what products you should avoid and what to do to keep your binoculars looking new. Regardless of how careful you are with your binoculars, at some point, you’ll need to clean them.

Read on below to learn how.

Before You Start

Before you even use your binoculars, the first thing you need to do is read the user’s manual. Most of the user’s manuals are pretty generic, but there are some out there, such as the manual that comes with the Vortex Optics Viper compact binoculars, that offer some great instructions and tips on how to focus binoculars and how to keep them looking new.

The user’s manual will also include information on which chemicals or products you need to avoid in order to prevent damaging some of the materials that make up your binoculars. Because of this, it’s always worth checking out the manual before you go it alone.

Some of the special coatings that are applied to the lenses aid in light transmission and it can be incredibly easy to damage or scratch them.

Cleaning Lenses without a Lens Kit

When you’re cleaning the lenses, the most important thing to remember is that the less you rub the lenses, the better. Even using the very best microfiber cloth can potentially damage the delicate surface. The cloth itself won’t scratch the lenses but small hard particles or dust on the surface of the cloth or the lens can work like a fine sandpaper and can cause real damage.

Because of this, it’s crucial that you remove any particles from the lens before you start the cleaning process.

In order to do this, just blow on the lenses to remove large dust and debris from the lenses and the body of the binoculars. While you can do this with your breath, the increased moisture can work to prevent the debris from flying off the lenses, so it’s better to use a lens blower. You can also get blower brushes, which are designed specifically for binocular and camera lens cleaning.

Some people even recommend compressed canned air cleaners that are used on PCs, but some contain petroleum distillates, which could potentially damage the lens coating.

If you don’t have a lens blower you can use a brush that has very fine hairs. This can remove all of the fine particles from the surface of the lenses using a minimum amount of pressure, which reduces the chances of marking or scratching the coatings.

Rinsing the Lenses

Depending on how dirty the lenses are and if there is still dirt and dust on the lenses, you might want to carefully rinse them off using tepid water to get rid of abrasive particles.

Whatever you do, don’t use eyeglass or household cleaning solutions because both can damage the special coatings.

Next, check that the lenses are not already clean as the following steps should only be followed if the first two attempts did not work to remove all the markings and dirt.

Take a lint-free soft cloth or a good quality microfiber cloth and gently rub the lenses. The best cloths are designed for camera lenses, but they’ll work well for binoculars as well.

Most compact binoculars these days will come with one of these cloths in the box, however, these cloths tend to vary in quality, but generally, higher priced binoculars usually come with great accessories. If you have a poor-quality microfiber cloth you can still use it to clean the body and use a special cloth for the lenses only.

Make sure you store the cloth in a place where it’s not exposed to debris or dust when not in use.

Lens Cleaning Kits

There are many lens cleaning kits on the market these days. The best will contain a dry-cleaning compound that’s alcohol-free to ensure that the delicate coatings are not damaged, yet you can still easily wipe away oils and marks from the surface of the lens.

Even when using a lens cleaning kit, it’s still important to keep the rubbing to a minimum. Once again, you’ll start off by using a blower or brush to get rid of debris and dust from the lens. Most kits will come with a type of lens cleaner that’s safe to use and doesn’t harm the integrity of the lens coating. Use the included cloth in the kit using circular motions to gently wipe the lenses. This often quickly removes smudges and any remaining dirt, and you don’t have to apply much pressure.

If there are any oily marks remaining, then all you have to do is lightly breathe on the lenses and wipe them down again. And that’s it.

Lens Cleaning Pens

You can also find many lens cleaning pens online that are designed to be used with cameras but they work well for binoculars as well. Keep an eye out for pens that are specifically designed for binoculars.

Cleaning the Body of the Binoculars

After you’ve cleaned the lenses don’t forget to clean the body of the binoculars as well. You’ll need to choose the cleaning method wisely as it’s possible to use the wrong type of solution that can end up damaging the rubber coating.

Just like with the lenses, you’ll start off by blowing over the body of the binoculars using a blower. Next, take a lint-free cloth and wipe down all the parts of the binoculars including the eyepieces, focusing mechanism, and the barrels. During this part of the cleaning process be careful not to wipe or touch the lenses. Some people recommend holding the binoculars upside down, allowing the dirt to fall away from the surfaces of the lenses.

If there is still dirt or marks on the plastic, rubber, or outer metal housing you can use a cloth with warm water and a mild cleaner to carefully clean the body.