My skin gets oily very rapidly, and as a result everything from my keyboard through to the (already very glossy) body of my NX100 has a thin sheen of oil building up on the most handled parts after prolonged use.

The parts that are nowhere near any moving bits I have cleaned with mild soap and water, and that seems to work (although as far as I know water and cameras shouldn't mix), but what about the rest, like the shutter button?

What's an easy, safe way to clean off an oily coating like this, or perhaps from handling it after eating with one's hands? I guess it would be the same any electronic product which you can't just scrub up with soap, but I'm not sure what that would be.

(Note - I don't think this is a duplicate of How to clean an oily spot from the camera body?, as that's about a specific spot that won't go away despite repeated cleaning.)


3 Answers 3


Any good plastic cleaner and a microfiber cloth will do the job just fine. For cameras and lens bodies, apply a small amount of the cleaner to the cloth and wipe the surfaces down. This will prevent it from getting into places where it shouldn't.

Many plastic cleaners leave behind a very thin layer that fills in microscopic surface irregularities (sorry, I know that reads like marketing copy), making it more resistant to smudges and easier to clean. Pretty much everything plastic I buy -- ranging from motorcycle fairings to musical instruments to some of my camera gear -- gets a couple of goings-over early in its life.

The two cleaners I recommend are Plexus Plastic Cleaner (which is what I've been using for the last decade or so) and Novus #1 Plastic Clean & Shine. Be aware that Novus has three formulas, and the other two contain light abrasives. They're both a little expensive, but a little goes a very long way. Both are available worldwide and can usually be found at shops catering to aviation, RVs or motorcycles or from some plastic supply houses.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a note. Many camera bodies have a rough surface finish by design (better grip). Using a cleaner that intentionally fills in surface irregularities may not be desirable if you wish to keep the grippy finish. This would apply to all professional level cameras from Nikon, Canon, etc. Some prosumer models like the 60D will also often have a rougher finish. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 18:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have bodies with that finish, and Plexus doesn't make it any less rough to the touch if applied in reasonable amounts. The OP's NX100 appears to have the matte finish you find on point and shoots which will do fine with either of the cleaners I listed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Blrfl
    Commented Jul 22, 2012 at 20:39

When it comes to electronics and cleaning, remove batteries first, clean, wait until thoroughly dry and re-insert batteries. This applies to all electronics.

Wet wipes should do the trick just fine for all non-optical outer surfaces for light oil. Using suds instead of soap and water (meaning way more soap than water) should also help, but generally, wet wipes have a good balance.

Also consider applying wet wipes to hands in the future before handling devices you do not wish to drop while handling.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What kind of wet wipes? Baby wipes? Kitchen wipes? Or is there a specific kind - and if so, where would I get them? Is it universally okay to use something wet like that on electronics if the batteries aren't in? \$\endgroup\$
    – Key
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 0:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ My intuition is that alcohol-based baby wipes or hand wipes are a good choice because alcohol rapidly evaporates, allowing the device to dry more quickly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 0:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. I've only seen those fancy "alcohol free moisturizing for sensitive skin" baby wipes, which is why I've been hesitant; I suspect the skin-conditioning stuff in that isn't too nice on plastic, and it takes long enough to dry on skin alone. I'll go look for alcohol based ones next time I'm at the supermarket! \$\endgroup\$
    – Key
    Commented Jul 23, 2012 at 0:19

Using rubbing alcohol works a treat. I don't worry about using it at all, and any excess evaporates away very quickly as well.


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