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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
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115 Consumers Consulted
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best camera cleaning kits

One of the worst things you can do to your camera is clean it improperly. Trying to clean it with a paper towel can create static electricity that draws dust to the lens instead of wiping it away. Additionally, as that paper towel breaks down, it leaves tiny fibers on the lens. Many tissues have conditioners in them that can leave a greasy coating on the camera. Instead of using household items that only make the situation worse, it's better to invest in a camera cleaning kit.

The best camera cleaning kit has the tools to clean every part of your camera, including the lens, body, and sensor, in a safe and effective way. A good kit also includes a case so you can easily take your cleaning tools with you wherever you go.

If you'd like to learn what items you can expect to find in a quality camera cleaning kit and pick up a few cleaning tips, keep reading. If you would just like a few quick recommendations on the best options, consider one of the camera cleaning kits that we've spotlighted above.

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Don’t be afraid to learn how to clean your camera. After you've done it once or twice, you'll discover it isn’t that difficult.

Key considerations

Why you need a camera cleaning kit

Many people think a camera cleaning kit is used solely to clean the front lens. If that's all they’re cleaning, it isn’t going to do much to improve their photography. The truth is the best camera cleaning kit is designed to clean every part of the camera.

There are three areas where photographers begin to worry when they see dust: the lens, the mirror, and the sensor. In some instances, the dust must be cleared away for the best photo. In other situations, a little dust on your camera isn't that big a deal and can even be ignored. Here are the three areas that are the most important to keep clean:

Lens: The lens has two areas that can be cleaned: the front and the back. If you take the lens cap off and look at the front of the lens, you might be surprised to discover how dirty it is. Believe it or not, this isn’t a big deal. The dust on the front doesn’t impact your photo as much as you might think. Dust on the smaller rear lens does, so it's far more important to keep the rear lens clean.

Mirror: The mirror is located inside the camera body. The mirror is for your benefit: the camera doesn't use it when taking a picture. Even if you see dust, fingerprints, or even dirt on the mirror, it won’t show up in your photographs. However, it can be distracting to look at, so at some point you'll probably want to clean the mirror.

Sensor: The camera sensor is located deep inside the camera body, past the mirror. If this sensitive piece of equipment has dust on it, you’ll see it in every photo. This is the most crucial component in your camera to keep clean. This is also the part of the camera cleaning task that can intimidate even seasoned photographers. It's why you need a quality camera cleaning kit.

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Did You Know?
Only use materials that are specifically manufactured for cleaning cameras. Household cleaners and cleaning tools are too abrasive or have chemicals that can permanently damage any coating that may be on the lenses.
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Features

Camera cleaning kit components

The best camera cleaning kit includes all the tools you need to safely and effectively clean your camera. The following is a list of tools that may be included in a kit.

Air blower: A quality air blower is one of the most important tools in your kit. This item has a bulb on one end and a long nozzle on the other. When you squeeze the bulb, it produces a short, gentle blast of air that removes dust.

Lens brush: A lens brush resembles a short, stubby paint brush or makeup brush with very soft bristles. It’s used to remove dust and tiny particles from hard to reach areas on your camera.

Lens pen: This is a double-sided tool: on one side is a lens brush, often with a slider that allows you to fully expose the brush for use; on the other side is a tiny half-dome tip. The soft cleaning tip is coated in a carbon compound that removes fingerprint oils. This tool is invaluable for cleaning smudges from camera lenses.

Microfiber cloth:  These multipurpose cloths are essentially delicate lint-free cleaning rags that can be safely used on your camera's lenses. Ideally, you want a camera cleaning kit that includes a few of these versatile items.

Lens cleaning tissue: A dry lens cleaning tissue is a one-time use item that quickly and effectively removes fingerprints and grease from the camera’s lenses. These tissues are not essential because other items in the kit can serve the same purpose, but they’re extremely convenient. If your kit includes lens cleaning tissues, you’ll definitely use them.

Sensor cleaning tool: While it's possible to clean the sensor on your camera in other ways, many individuals prefer using these specialty items. This tool resembles a tiny squeegee and its only purpose is to clean your camera's delicate sensor.

Camera cleaning fluid: For stubborn dirt and grease, you might need to use a cleaning solution. You must be careful with cleaners because many common household cleaners can damage your camera. The cleaning fluid that comes with a quality camera cleaning kit is safe for use on a camera lens. You also need this item if your kit contains a sensor cleaning tool.

Storage case: The best camera cleaning kits contain several items that can easily get lost or misplaced. That’s why most camera cleaning kits come with a storage case. Higher-end kits feature a more rugged case with inner compartments that help you organize your camera cleaning tools.

Cleaning your camera lenses is like brushing your teeth: if you clean too aggressively, you'll wind up doing more harm than good.

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Camera cleaning kit prices

Inexpensive: You can find a budget camera cleaning kit for less than $10. This might just include a lens brush and microfiber cloth or a double-sided lens cleaning pen, but as long as the materials are soft, this option will do for minimal cleaning.

Mid-range: Most individuals can find their ideal camera cleaning kit in the $10 to $20 price range. In addition to a lens brush, microfiber cleaning cloths, and a double-sided lens cleaning pen, these kits include an air blower, lens cleaning solution, sensor cleaner, and case.

Expensive: Spend more than $20 and you’ll find more stylish camera cleaning kits. While some of these kits include useful items like additional microfiber cloths, several cleaning swabs, a larger bottle of lens cleaning solution, and a better case, others try and sweeten the deal with extras that you probably don't need. Before choosing the most expensive option, consider if you’ll actually use all the items in the kit.

Caution2
Caution
Cans of compressed air contain more than just air. In most brands, there is a propellant that may adversely affect your camera equipment. This is why it's always better to use an air blower to remove dust.
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BestReviews

Tips

  • Clean your camera anywhere. You don’t need to clean your camera in a sterile environment. If you’re out in the field and realize that your camera needs cleaning, as long as you have your camera cleaning kit with you, you’re good to go.
  • Use the air blower first. Your go-to cleaning tool for dust should be the air blower. This is the first and best option. Anything other than this should only be used if air doesn't work. When using the air blower, hold it a couple of inches away from the camera. Point the nozzle up and point the camera down. That way, any dust will fall away from the camera and not back into it.
  • Use the lens brush or lens cleaning pen and then a dry microfiber cloth. If the air blower alone doesn’t clean your camera, try these options before using cleaning fluid.
  • Use cleaning fluid last. If the above options don’t sufficiently clean your camera, add two or three drops of cleaning fluid to the microfiber cloth and try again. Start from the center of the lens and gently wipe in ever-widening circles. This moves the dust or smudges from the center to the edges and reduces the likelihood of streaking. Remember, you aren’t scrubbing your lens clean, you’re gently wiping it. Use a second microfiber cloth to lightly dry the lens.
  • Never wipe away sand. If you suspect that sand or other coarse material might be on your lens, do not rub it. The sand can scratch your lens. Use the air blower instead.
  • Store the microfiber cloths in an airtight container. You can use a resealable plastic bag. Inspect the cloth before using it to make sure it isn’t dusty or greasy.
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Take advantage of any auto-cleaning tools that your camera has. They’re the best and easiest first step. If that doesn't produce satisfactory results, you can progress to manual cleaning.

FAQ

Q. How often should I clean my camera?

A. There's a very simple rule for camera cleaning frequency: if it isn’t dirty, don't clean it. While you shouldn't be afraid to clean your camera, you shouldn't be obsessive about it either. The environment, frequency of use, and general handling and operating care are all factors that determine whether cleaning your camera is a weekly task or something you only do a few times a year. If you don’t see consistent specks in your photos, your camera probably doesn't need cleaning.

Q. How can I tell if my camera needs cleaning?

A. The best way to quickly figure out if your camera needs cleaning is to take a picture. Focus on something that’s a uniform color, preferably something off-white or pastel (many photographers prefer light blue). Take several pictures, moving the camera after each shot. Examine the photos and look for any tiny specks that show up in the same location in each shot. It’s easier if you import the shots to your computer so you can zoom in and out to see how noticeable the specks are. If the marks aren’t too noticeable, you can always edit them out. However, if you don’t want the extra step, those specks mean it's time to clean your camera. You can use the same process after cleaning your camera to make sure you cleared away all the dirty spots.

Q. What can I do to keep my camera from getting dirty?

A. Unless it's excessively filthy, you're not a bad camera owner if your camera gets dirty. Dust happens. Static charge pulls dust to the lens and eventually even the most cautious photographer winds up with a little dirt on their camera. The best thing you can do is keep your camera lenses covered when not in use and, if possible, stay away from harsher environments, places with a lot of dirt, dust, and (worst of all) sand.

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