I was shooting at the beach and the lens cap fell into the sand twice. I brushed it clean, but there is still sand in the opening mechanism. I can press it to remove/place it, but I feel the strong grinding.

  • Is there a way to clean this sand?
  • If I use it with the sand, is there a risk to transfer sand to the lens? I think that the major problem would be sand in the rings of the lens, not on the front glass where it can be brushed away. The lens is not protected by a filter right now, because I will shoot in low light tonight. So the cap will go on the lens itself.
  • Is using a slightly sandy lens cap riskier than shooting on the beach and carrying the camera around with no cap at all?

3 Answers 3


What kind of lens cap?

A lot of Canon lens caps can be taken apart very easily, which is really the most effective way to clean it.
Some Nikon caps (and all center-pinch caps) are more involved to disassemble.

Regardless, disassembly is really the way to go. Take it apart, clean all the pieces individually, and reassemble.

If you do not feel up to disassembling it to clean it, I would just buy a different cap. I would not use water, as most center-pinch caps have springs in them, which will rust.

The thing I would be most worried about is getting sand in your camera-bag, as it could then migrate to other parts of your camera, get in the mirror-box, etc...

Here is the construction of a Sigma Center-pinch Lens Cap.

As you can see, it has two steel springs, which would likely rust if you get it wet.
Disassembly is quite simple. The clips on the two removed tabs are what hold them in. I simply nudged the clips with a screw driver, and they popped out.

Terrible, webcam picture. Yes, I am that lazy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is a Nikon lens cap for pinching. The clips have a different shape, I wasn't able to open it (I didn't dare nudge with too much of a force). But it looks like I won't get it clean without opening. \$\endgroup\$
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 19:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd try to take apart a Nikon cap, but I do not have any Nikon lenses. Sorry! \$\endgroup\$
    – Fake Name
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 21:10

I'll answer your second question first - yes, there is a real risk of transferring the sand from the cap to the lens.

To clean the cap you should use an air blower to remove the sand, since the cap is only a piece of plastic you can also wash it with water (but let it dry completely before using it).

and about what is riskier - I really don't know.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll add that if simply washing in water does not help, then try hot water under strong stream and/or soapy water. If there is greasy residue in the sand or leftover from your sweaty fingers, the hot/soapy water will take care of that. \$\endgroup\$
    – ysap
    Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 17:53
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I've washed some of my lens caps before -- fill your sink or a bowl with a bit of soapy water, submerge your lens cap, and squeeze it repeatedly to work any sand out of the moving parts. Rinse by doing the same under running water. \$\endgroup\$
    – Evan Krall
    Commented Aug 15, 2011 at 8:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I tried blowing for the sake of completeness, but the air flow was totally obstructed by the cap itself. The water leached a few sand corns out, but most are still in there. \$\endgroup\$
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 19:28

I would also consider buying a new cap if any of the described methods fail - this way you'll spend some bucks on piece of plastic but you won't risk to transfer the sand to the front lens and to scratch it.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.