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How To Quickly Clean A Lens Filter

Find out how to quickly clean a lens filter in this video, using an air blower, lens cloth and a LensPen.

| Hoya HD Protector Filter in Filters
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How To Quickly Clean A Lens Filter: Filter Cleaning Before and After


Putting a filter on your lens, not only provides additional protection for your lens, but can also make it quick and easy to clean, thanks to the flat surface of the filter. But to ensure the best photo quality possible, it's important to make sure your filter (and lens) is clean and free of dirt, dust and finger print smudges. In this video we show you how we use an air-blower, a lens cloth, and a FilterKlear LensPen to clean the filter quickly and safely. 


  1. To remove dust, dirt or grit use an air blower, such as the Q-Ball, or a soft brush, which can be found on the LensPen.
  2. Use a soft lens cloth to wipe dirt off your filter, although be aware that if there is grease on the lens, then this may just move the grease around the surface of the filter. Care also needs to be taken to ensure your lens cloth is clean, and is not moving any dirt or dust over the surface of the filter. 
  3. Use a LensPen or a FilterKlear (designed for Filters) to remove the rest of the dirt. 
  4. Blow off any fine dust left by the LensPen (this can vary depending which version you have) and then you will have a clean filter.



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derekc23 Avatar
derekc23 17 8 United Kingdom
1 Nov 2015 8:32AM
I'm surprised to see a blower being used horizontally. I always hold the camera and lens pointing downwards so that dust is blown down!
RamblinSam Avatar
RamblinSam 10 31 United Kingdom
1 Nov 2015 10:36AM
Some filter glasses are not a tight fit in their retaining ring, so dust manages to get past this and onto the back of the glass or/and onto the surface of the lens itself. From time to time, I will remove the filter and clean both sides, and if the front element has dust on it, even more carefully remove that, because I've heard that some front element lens coatings used to be, or are more delicate than those used on a filter.

I'm rather surprised that the this article/video does not mention that actual lens elements need to be treated more carefully than a filter, or that a link wasn't also posted to a tutorial on cleaning these at the same time ... some people may well think that as much vigour and 'tools' can be applied also to the front element of a lens, when I don't think this is indeed the case. If you 'mess up' your front lens element, a filter placed over this, isn't going to rectify this issue! Maybe I'm being a bit paranoid about this, but on very old lenses, the coatings used were pretty soft and considerable care had to be taken when cleaning them.

Tilting the filter or the lens itself while cleaning, will mean you can also see the light reflecting across the surface, showing up any dust and grease, even more easily.

When slowly screwing the filter off, or putting it back on, watch the surface of the filter glass in relation to the front of the lens optic behind it, as any dust remaining on the optic, will remain stationary, but if it's on the filter, as this is being rotated, any remaining dust will be seen to move.
georgeinontario Avatar
17 Jan 2016 12:57AM
I clean the front, and back of my digital, and film camera lens, and circular filters carefully. However, I rarely use a lens pen now! I now use a blower to blow off most o the dust, then a lens cloth, a clean one made for eyeglasses (but not having been used on my eyeglass lenses); or the one that came with a digital SLR camera kit. This kit by the way, is advertised that it mostly is supposed to clean the digital SLR LCD screen, but with the small bottle of cleaning fluid, which includes the aforementioned blower, and a brush, can be used for the camera's lens, and filters; in fact, within the instructions, such a suggestion is also included by using the lens cloth, and fluid cleaner to clean lens of a camera. Therefore, I use the cloth and fluid to clean the filters if necessary, too .

Henceforth, I have found that the lens pen leaves a small residue of carbon! That's right, a small residue, or what appears to be a film of carbon! I noticed this very light carbon residue when my lenses, but especially my filters, did not appear very clearly clean one day. So I used a very clean lens cloth, and this dust of carbon was on the lens cloth. Now I just use the small bottle of cleaning fluid, spray it on a lens cloth, then lightly rub the cloth on the filter. I've noticed that in the demonstration the rubbing action appeared a wee bit hard on the filter's glass; but that is my impression. I suppose if there is plenty of dust, or a little actual dirt, then more pressure is justified. Furthermore, I have read that 99% Isopropanol, also called isopropyl alcohol; an "accessory" from Gear column by Scott Linstead, page 48 of Photo Life magazine (December/January 2016 issue), "YOUR GUIDE TO EVERYTHING PHOTO", Volume 41,Number 1. It is published by Apex Publications, a Canadian-owned company.

Furthermore, derekc23 makes a good point concerning holding the "lens pointing downwards", or angled downward, anyway.


georgeinontario Avatar
17 Jan 2016 1:22AM
Correction: Furthermore, I have read that 99% Isopropanol, also called isopropyl alcohol, can be used for cleaning the surfaces of a lens. This isopropyl alcohol is better than the 70% rubbing alcohol since it does not leave behind 30% content of water that has not evaporated from the surface of the lens. Such an "accessory" is listed in the Gear column by Scott Linstead, page 48 of Photo Life magazine (December/January 2016 issue). This photography magazine is a Canadian publication.

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