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What can we clean camera sensors with? Generally googling returns 'ethanol'. Various people use ethanol for the job.

What else can we use? Isopropyl alcohol, perhaps, eye glasses cleaner?

The sensors are actually covered by a protective layer and this is what we would be cleaning really. What is this layer made of?

What is the main danger – what would be the worst, most dangerous chemicals to use for this job?

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In terms of wet cleaning fluids, the most popular sensor cleaning fluid is probably Eclipse made by Photographic Solutions. It is a very pure form of denatured methanol with almost zero impurities. Many types of alcohol used as solvent or cleaners contain impurities that can leave behind residue when they dry. These impurities will leave spots on the front of your sensor (or, more specifically, the front of the stack of filters directly in front of your camera's sensor¹). So using alcohol marketed as a household cleaner probably isn't a good bet, either.

Just bite the bullet and spend $20-30 on a sensor cleaning kit that includes 2-3 swabs and a small bottle of cleaning fluid designed specifically to clean your camera's sensor. Or buy swabs and fluid in bulk and save a little in the long run. That will go a long way towards reducing the chances of damaging your camera's sensor by cleaning it.

¹ Even cameras without low pass anti-aliasing filters, such as the OM-D E-M10 still have a glass cover in front of the sensor in the form of the infrared cut filter. Many also have glass plates where the two plates that make up the horizontal and vertical low pass filters would be. Some, such as the Nikon D800E and D810, even have dual horizontal low pass filters that offset one another.

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Different types of sensors are being used for camera. First of all, lens cleaning fluid may be a no-no for any sensor as everyone else has said. And secondly, determine specifically from the manufacturer what cleaning solutions are safe for your specific sensor.

Different sensors have different coatings and even cleaning solutions from the same company aren't universally safe. For example with Photographic Solutions branded cleaning fluids, ITO coated sensors require the E2 fluid whereas another sensors are safe with just the methanol based older Eclipse solution.

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