Cleaning your phone’s camera lens

We’ve all been there. You quickly go to take a picture with your phone and the image looks blurry, so you grab your shirt, blow on the lens and rub the camera to get a clearer picture. While the occasional buff with a soft garment won’t hurt, there are better ways to clean your camera lens, here’s how.

Four ways to clean the camera lens on your mobile phone

Camera lens cleaning brush and microfibre cloth

Image credit: Pexels

1. Use a cleaning pen to remove dust

If you have a dusty phone camera lens, a quick brush with a cleaning pen or similar soft brush will usually do. Cleaning pens come in different shapes and sizes. Some have a finer brush tip, while others have wider, fluffier brush tips. Use the right size and say goodbye to dust.

If you don’t want to buy a cleaning pen, then a cleansoft makeup brush will do the same job.

2. Use a microfiber cloth to buff away smudges

If your camera lens is blurry because it is covered in fingerprints, it should be gently buffed with a microfiber cloth. Unlike tissues that can leave dust particles on your lens, a microfiber cloth wipes away smudges without leaving any lint.

If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, any soft cloth will do the same job as long as it hasn’t been washed in fabric softener (fabric softener can leave streaks on your camera lens).

3. Use a lens cloth for more stubborn dirt

If you’ve been holding onto your camera lens after eating chicken wings, or if it’s just too dirty for a quick wipe with a cloth, you’ll want to try a lens cloth. Lens wipes are moistened with lens cleaner, making them more effective against stubborn grease and grime.

Do not use ordinary moist cloths on your camera lens, these often contain softeners that make your lens even fatter.

4. Use a lens cleaner or a homemade version

If you don’t have a lens cloth, you can use a special lens cleaner or a homemade version on the corner of a microfiber cloth or soft tissue. Lens cleaners are usually dilute solutions of alcohol.

If you don’t want to buy a lens cleaner, you can make your own by mixing a 50:50 ratio of 70% isopropyl alcohol and distilled water. If you want a smudge-free finish, do not use tap water.

How to remove condensation from your phone’s camera lens

iphone camera lens up close

Image credit: Unsplash

Not all smartphones have an IP rating, especially if they are not flagships. If your camera lens is foggy on the inside, it means moisture has entered the camera body and has collected on the inside of your camera lens.

To get rid of this fog, you need to dry your phone, which will allow the moisture to escape. The easiest way to do this is to place your phone in an airtight container with silica gel bags or uncooked rice. These products will remove moisture from your phone within about 24 hours.

While your phone is having a nice dry rice bath, it’s best to turn it off in case the moisture has gotten deeper than you think and could be causing problems with your device’s internal electronics.

While it may be tempting to put your phone on the radiator or blow dry it with a hair dryer, extreme temperatures can do more harm than good. If your phone camera lens is still foggy after an overnight soak in rice or silica gel, it’s best to take it to a repair shop. Unless you know what you’re doing, we don’t recommend taking your phone apart to wipe the condensation off the inside of the camera lens (and depending on your phone, this may even require disassembling the camera module itself, in which case putting it back together back together becomes considerably more difficult).

How to protect your phone’s camera lens

If you want to keep your phone’s camera lens in pristine condition for as long as possible, it’s worth looking into lens protectors and the right ones too. screen protector for your phone to protect the front camera. Lens protectors stick to the glass of your camera lens and protect it from scratches. While they will also get dirty eventually, their main advantage is that you can easily replace them.

If you don’t want to use a lens protector, but want to keep your phone’s camera lens scratch-free, a raised cover will help keep your camera lens glass away from rough surfaces.

This is how you don’t clean your phone’s camera lens

iPhone on black table with water drops

We’ve covered how to clean your camera lens and how to remove condensation from under the glass; now it’s time to talk about how not to clean your phone’s camera.

1. Do not use household glass cleaner!

Household glass cleaners like Windex are often too harsh on the delicate coating of your phone’s camera lens. Stay away and only use products specifically designed for contact lenses.

2. Do not use rough cloths

Microfibre cloths are soft for a reason. The rougher the cloth you use, the more likely you are to scratch your camera lens. This also applies to the use of dirty clothes. Dirty clothes can already have trapped grit, which can then be rubbed into your camera lens.

3. Do not use tap water

Finally, while it’s annoying to have to buy distilled water, if you’re looking for a streak-free finish, invest in the good stuff. Tap water contains minerals and other impurities that remain on your screen, leaving traces or residue that can still make your camera lens look dirty.

When in doubt, let the professionals do it

You may have noticed that we haven’t talked about cleaning the inside of your phone’s camera lens, and for good reason. If your camera lens needs to be cleaned from the inside out, we highly recommend that you take it to a professional. Opening your phone’s camera housing will no longer make it waterproof and could open a whole can of worms. When in doubt, have someone with experience do it for you. Unfortunately, condensation can even build up on IP-rated phones, and depending on what exactly the problem is, the solution may be to leave it alone or send it in for repair. It gets trickier to advise without knowing the exact facts of the case, so we recommend having an expert take a look at it.

If you need more help, we also have guides on: how to clean your phone screen and how to clean your phone speaker grille

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