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by Bart Arondson

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Usually, we purchase a camera cleaning kit that comprise a cleaning solution, cleaning brush, cleaning cloth and a air blower.

So, I was wondering if we can use other cleaning cloth (such as spectacle cleaning cloth, laptop screen cleaning cloth) to clean the lens of the camera?

Also, I believe that certain cleaning cloth is definitely should not be used to clean lens such as Rag Cloths - from used Tee-shirt. Is this correct?

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Hi, I often use a microfiber cloth which I got with my glasses - if it is OK for my plastic lenses with antireflex coating it must be OK also for the camera lens. Laptop/LCD screens have also some coating and are made from sensitive plastic, so cleaning cloth+cleaning liquid for laptop/LCDs should be also OK. –  Juhele Jun 18 '12 at 7:13

6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Most cloths can be used actually without damaging the lens. However some may leave the lens with lint or fabric residue.

The most important thing is that it must be completely clean and untreated by any chemicals. Cloths used in gloves or jackets often has water resistant coatings which may not be liked be the lens. The main reason for not using a sleeve is that it may contain grit which would damage the lens. If you really have to, use the inside of the sleeve.

One really good option is to use lens tissues which are disposed after each use. They usually come in small packs of 100 sheets for a few dollars. Otherwise, usually microfiber or lint-free cloths will do. By buying one described as being for lenses (the kind that goes on a camera or in your face) you are quite certain to have the right kind.

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I would not advocate the use of ANY lens cleaning "solutions".... What I do with my lenses is mostly non-contact in the form of a Rocket Blower. Any particles of dirt or dust that I notice on the lens (front or back), or indeed in the mirror box assembly - my first port of call is this rocket blower to try to blow away the particles without ever actually having to touch the lens itself. 90% of the time, this works and is sufficient. Never breath on or blow on the lens with your mouth! This introduces moisture and also accidentally fleghm particles which - when you then have to wipe off - can remove or damage the multi layer coatings that are on the lens itself.

I do have a lens cleaning cloth too - it mostly lives in the same plastic wrapper it came in, and is a specialist cloth purchased from a camera store. It is cheap, but reusable, and washable if need be (though I never have had need to). I only really use this for a stubborn bit of dirt or in the instances where I have accidentally touched the front element with my fingers or hand, and need to wipe the oils off (this is best done as soon as possible).

I also would not use a brush!! The fibres - especially on cheap ones - can either come off, or actually scratch the glass if you aren't careful!!

In direct answer to your question - YES, spectacle cleaning cloths, laptop screen cloth should be OK to use as long as they are lint-free, and NOT impregnated with any sort of cleaning solution (alcohol or otherwise)... Tee-shirts and rags should NOT be used.

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Use air first (a blower, not canned or compressed air). I find that most of what settles on my lenses and filters blows off. Cloths of any sort are reserved for what won't (fingerprints, etc.) or regular cleanings, which I do a few times a year.

Soft and free of lint and chemical contaminants are the things to look for.

Microfiber cloths work well, but being re-usable, they tend to gather dirt and oil from handling. They can be washed, but it has to be done carefully to avoid impregnating them with soap or hardening the fibers, which can happen if dried with heat.

I use Pec*Pad wipes and Eclipse (very pure methanol) cleaning solution, both from Photographic Solutions. The pads meet the three criteria above, are disposable and large enough to clean both ends of a few lenses before running out of unused spots. A pack of 100 pads runs about US$10, and I've been through maybe two and a half packs keeping two SLR bodies, a half-dozen or so lenses and a handful of point-and-shoots clean over the last decade. A two-ounce bottle of Eclipse is about the same price, and I'm barely into my second bottle. The methanol helps break up things that stick to the glass, won't harm coatings, wipes away very easily and evaporates quickly without leaving residue.

One other bit of advice: Camera lenses should be kept clean, but they don't need to be surgically clean. Do your cleanings sparingly, and only when visibly needed. Anything too small to see with the naked eye isn't likely to have an effect on your pictures unless it's attached itself to your sensor.

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+1 for your last paragraph :) –  Mike Jun 19 '12 at 7:26

You can use the cloth you get when you buy a pair of glasses.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

In my view, glasses cleaning cloths are the best ones to use for cleaning lenses, laptops and smartphone screens.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

i would suggest you to use any clean handkerchief because it has high content of cotton int it and a little bit of tricot that will not leave any residue of the fibre and the lens will be cleaned.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

2  
I disagree as there may be cotton in it but you really do want to ensure it is scratch free and lint free.... –  Mike Jun 18 '12 at 9:49
    
A bigger problem with handkerchiefs is that they are usually washed, and many folks use fabric softener. This chemical can stay in the washing machine for many loads, which means the chemicals will be in the handkerchief when its washed. –  Pat Farrell Jun 27 '12 at 23:19

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