When you have a pair of binoculars, whether you use them all the time and they are never more than an arm’s length away, or you only use them occasionally, you know how important it is to keep them in good condition. These fun and helpful tools need to be correctly taken care of if you want them to last. Of course, a big part of making sure that they are kept properly is cleaning them. Even when you take great care of your binoculars, they are going to get dirty. This is true whether they are out in the field with you or they are sitting in your cupboard.
Keep in mind that cleaning is not as straightforward as some people might think. There is a right way to clean binoculars, and there are plenty of wrong ways. Unfortunately, many people choose the wrong way and end up causing damage to their binoculars. The goal of this article is to make sure that you do not make those costly mistakes with your binoculars.
One of the most common and terrible ways that you have probably seen plenty of people try to clean their binoculars is by blowing on the lenses and then rubbing their sleeve against them. This can cause some serious damage and scratches that will degrade the quality of the images you see through the binoculars. These scratches, which can occur even from dust, will be too small to see with the naked eye in most cases.
Do not make this type of mistake. Instead, learn some simple tips for cleaning your binoculars that will help to keep them in great shape and working well for a long time to come. Here are some tips that will help you.
Cleaning the Binoculars Chassis
This should be the first step done when you are cleaning your binoculars before you start to clean your lenses. Cleaning off the body of the binoculars tends to be quite easy, but you will want to make sure that you are staying away from the lenses when you are cleaning. You remove the dirt, dust, and debris from the body of the binoculars with a damp cloth. If there are any crevices on the binoculars that need to be cleaned that are not near the lenses, you could use a damp cotton swab to remove some of the dirt.
Once the outside of the binoculars is clean, you can then start to work on cleaning the lenses, which are inarguably the most important, yet most delicate, parts.
Remove the Dust from the Lenses
This is the next step that needs to be done, and it is the step where most people make their mistakes. They end up trying to rub away the dust and dirt that may have accumulated on the lens. They think that using a soft cloth will be enough to keep their lenses safe. However, when they attempt to rub away the dust, they are merely grinding it right into the glass. A lot of dust is silica, which is harder than glass, which is going to cause small scratches that will alter the way that the light is seen through the binoculars.
The best option is to use a lens brush specifically binoculars, scopes, camera lenses, etc. Made for delicate lenses, they can gently brush away the dust without causing any scratches. Everyone who owns a pair of binoculars should also invest in one of these brushes.
Another option for removing the dust from the lenses is to use canned air. However, if you are going to use canned air, you want to make sure that you are only using short bursts of air. This is because the temperature change can cause damage to the lens if there is a sustained burst.
Use Professional Lens Cleaners on a Cotton Swab
Even after you have brushed away the dust, the lenses can still be dirty. You will, therefore, want to make sure that you are using a moistened cotton swab with a lens cleaner. If you do not have any lens cleaner readily available, you could use some water. What you do not want to use, however, would be window cleaners and household glass cleaners. These will contain chemicals that could actually cause damage to your binoculars.
If you are using professional lens cleaner, or water for that matter, you do not want to add it directly to the binoculars. Instead, you will want to spray it onto the cotton swab. If you were to add the water or the lens cleaning solution to the binoculars, there is a risk that it could get into the body of the binoculars, where it could cause damage.
You might be wondering about waterproof binoculars. Many people choose these types of binoculars because they use them out in the field when the weather might be inclement. If you have a pair of waterproof binoculars, you could run them under the water, but you will want to make sure that you use a light stream. You do not want to add too much pressure to the lenses, or it could cause damage.
Also, after you clean with lens cleaner or water, you will want to make sure that you let the binoculars dry properly. Never put them away or put the lens caps on when they are still wet.
Dealing with Smudges
If you have smudges on the lenses, you can use a microfiber cloth or lens tissue to wipe them away. You will still want to be careful, as you do not want to cause any scratches. Lens tissues and microfiber tend to be soft enough that they will not cause a problem, but make sure there is not anything potentially gritty on the lenses. Be sure that you have removed the dust first using the steps mentioned above.
Be gentle when you are removing the smudges and do not put too much pressure on the lenses. You can wipe in small, circular motions. Start from the middle of the lens and work your way outward. If you have a microfiber cloth that you are going to be using for your binoculars, you will also want to make sure that you keep that cloth in a special, enclosed container where it will not gather any dust. If dust were to get onto the cloth and you then use the cloth on your lenses, it will cause scratches.
Wipe Down the Body Again
Now that you have cleaned the lenses thoroughly, the last thing you need to do is give the chassis another wipe down to remove any dirt or grime.
As you can see, the basics of cleaning your binoculars are rather simple as long as you have the right tools. Never make the mistake of using a tissue, paper towel, or your shirt to clean your lenses, and try not to open up the binoculars to clean the insides. This will only end up ruining your optics, and you will need to get a new pair of binoculars.
More Tips on Taking Care of Your Binoculars
When you are not using the binoculars, make sure that you are keeping them in sturdy cases. Keep the lens caps on until you are ready to use them, as well, and never touch the lenses with your fingers, as they will get oil onto the lenses, which can smudge and even cause problems with the coating. Treat your binoculars well, and they will last for many years.