How to Clean DSLR Sensor and Keep Your Camera Gear Clean

This is our first video tutorial that we are posting on our blog about how to clean your DSLR camera sensor and keep your camera gear clean. Please keep in mind that we shot this video last night and I did not have any time to edit the video or add sample images to the video. I will make sure to post pictures of the process along with plenty of text describing it later this week, for those who have low bandwidth Internet or do not understand my English (which is not even my second language, btw). I had to split up the video into three parts, because Youtube does not allow more than 15 minutes in one video.

I hope you find it educational and I hope your questions regarding cleaning the camera sensor are answered. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below!

Here are the products mentioned in the video:

  1. Giottos Rocket Air Blower (Large) – $9.99 at B&H
  2. Visible Dust Magic Cleaner Microfiber Cloth – $7.95 at B&H
  3. Visible Dust Sensor Clean Solution – $35.90 at B&H
  4. Visible Dust Vswab 1.0x (for full frame cameras like D700/D3s/D3x) – $39.95 at B&H
  5. Visible Dust Vswab 1.5-1.6x (for cropped sensor cameras like D5000/D90/D300s) – $32.95 at B&H
  6. Visible Dust Sensor Loupe – $86.24 at B&H
  7. Visible Dust Chamber Clean – $29.95 at B&H
  8. Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly Pro Kit – $134.95 at B&H

A cleaning kit with sensor swabs + liquid in one pack is also available from Visible Dust. Here is the link for the full-frame version and for cropped sensors.

You can find cheaper alternatives to microfiber cloth, sensor loupe and brushes online at B&H, Adorama or other camera stores. I would not recommend alternative products to the Visible Dust sensor swabs and sensor clean, unless you know what you are doing. Like I said in the video, I personally use the cheaper method to clean the DSLR sensor (which I will cover in a different video later), but it is a lot more complicated and can lead to more dust if not done properly.

Here is an article on how to wet clean DSLR sensor in less than 5 minutes.


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Mark Richards

    Nasim, thanks for the informative video. I have greatly enjoyed your website and articles. Do you have any experience with dealing with dust on the internal elements in lenses and cleaning tips for filters.

    Regards,

    Mark

    • Mark, you are most welcome!

      I will post some more videos on dealing with dust inside the lenses and other cleaning tips as soon as we get back from our trip (leaving to CA tomorrow).

    • 28
      ) mark

      talk about dribbling on…get to the point buddy

  2. Насим, лучшего ответа я не ожидал. Спасибо. Заказал позиции: 2-4 и 6. Не совсем понятна 8-я позиция.

    • Всегда пожалуйста! :)

      №8 – специальная счетка для удаления пыли.

  3. 3
    ) Fotopratica

    Hello from Italy Nasim; i’ll be glad to summarize and translate in Italian your article alongside video. Thank’s for the work!

    • Thank you Sir! I will let you know once I post a text version with images.

  4. 4
    ) Mirsanjar

    Very useful.

    P.S. “Bathroom is clean most of the time” :)))). Lola ?
    Nice sense of humor.

  5. 5
    ) Noreen

    I still haven’t checked the video since I don’t have access here at work. I will definitely take a peek at it or maybe wait until you post images?…hahah…I’ve never done sensor cleaning for camera. I am just too scared to do it.

    • Noreen, don’t be scared, it is very easy!

  6. 6
    ) Shamsiddin

    It’s very useful. I tried the last method to clean properly.

    But my D5000 has some snake shape dust in the viewfinder, I could never get rid of them :(
    Any advice?

    • Thank you Shamsiddin, hopefully you got rid of your sensor dust. Keep me posted on getting rid of the dust inside the viewfinder.

  7. 13
    ) Ravi Kiran

    Very informative videos Nasim! I really admire your patience in recording such a wonderful tutorial on keeping the digital sensors & lenses clean. Learnt a lot today. Thank you!
    I have one SLR Film camera also & wanted to know if they also suffer from/affected by the same dust problems as digital slrs.

    • Thank you Ravi!

      No, SLR film cameras do not suffer from these kinds of problems, since you insert new film every time.

  8. 14
    ) Tom

    Very helpful, I needed this tutorial Thank you for all the time spent in putting it together and posting it.

    • Than you Tom! I will be posting more videos later.

  9. 17
    ) Ming

    It is ridiculous expensive to clean sensor I think. I was in Boulder, not too far from you, in early November to visit a friend. I found out that I really have to clean my sensor after I changed my lens at NCAR shooting Flatiron Mountain. I learned that it is not a good thing to do there. I went to the big camera store in town right way and found out that it is not only costs $75 but also have to wait for a week and half. I did not want to spend the money nor had that much time there. I felt that if I have to spend that much money to do it once I would like to learn how to do it myself. The initial investment may be high but for long run it is not only cheaper but more convenient. Your video provided a great learning tool for me. I did what you showed us in the video and it works great. In the video you mentioned that you use different way to clean the sensor. It will be great if you can create the video to show us how you clean the sensor, the different method than the one you showed here. I would like to learn it too. May be you have done so but I do not see it. Your effort to educate us is greatly appreciated. Great job!

    • Ming, I will certainly do my best to cover my other methods when I clean my sensor next time :) It is more work, but certainly cheaper than using the above solution.

  10. hi, i have problem cleaning the mirrors (one at the front and the smaller one at the back)….giotto blower is just not enough to blow away the tiny white dust sticking on the mirrors (we have to use flash light to see it…not with naked eyes). Do you think the visible dust vswab + cleaning solution will do the job?

  11. Hi Nasim,

    Greetings from Spain. I’ve just viewed the 3 videos about cleaning and I’ve learned a lot of good points. Thank you very much for your web.

    Please, keep teaching us. Good day, Juan

  12. 21
    ) alex

    Насим, спасибо за видео! Очень познавательно.
    Чистил свой сенсор несколько раз, всегда с помощью груши Giottos ( только маленькой ). Иногда она добаляет пыли ( выбрасывает грязь изнутри, даже если её промыть водой ).
    Пробовал почистить сенсор с помощью Lenspen SensorKlear II ( груша больше не помогает ).
    Мне он не помог, оставил только дополнительную пыль и разводы.
    Хочу попробовать швабры Visible Dust. Как Вы считаете, какая жидкость VDust лучше бы подошла в этом случае?

  13. 22
    ) Mikko

    Hello Sir,

    I recently had my camera sensor cleaned and Im experiencing a problem with my lens. When i shoot at small apertures, i see this smokey figure on the left side of the photo. Im assuming this is in the rear element of my lens. upon having that cleaned by a nikon technician, it still has the same smokey effect though it is not as bad as before. When I inspect it, I do not see anything in the rear element, there are no scratches either. Trying another lens on my camera body, the smokey effect is gone. This is why im convince that the problem is in my lens. If you could give me a feedback regarding this would be really appreciated. :)

  14. 23
    ) Sudhakar

    Your article helped me clean my D40. Never thought that Sensor cleaning is so simple. Initially I was very skeptic but now fearless :)

    Thanks a ton !

  15. 24
    ) Ed Long

    Sincere thanks for your tutorial essays and videos

  16. 25
    ) Manuel

    Nasim,
    first of all I want to thank you for your great site. I really enjoy your articles and have learned a lot about digital photography by it.

    Your videos about sensor cleaning a really informative and lucid. But I m still unsettled. Why do you recommend “Sensor Clean” liquid? And what are your negative experience with eclipse by photographic solutions? In my opinion a wet cleanig makes only sense, when there are oil specks on the sensor. And so I do not understand, why visible dust offers 3 different solutions (o.k., they want to get rich).
    Eclipse seems to be more versatile, because I clould use it for lenses too. Is there a risk to use it on Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) coated sensor like the D7000?

    Until now I have only tried your dry methods. I could remove some dust, but not all. Most of the remaining seems to be specks (not dust particles). And now I see some annoying dust particles through my viewfinder – must be on the mirror or the focusing screen (most of them are getting more pronounced when closing the apperture). The Blower doesnt help.
    Please could you provide use with your tips how to clean the mirror and the focusing screen? Thanks a lot in advance!

  17. 26
    ) Bill Tucker

    Is this the best way to clean oil spots on my nikon d7000? The techichian where I bought my camera confirmeed they were oil spots and not dust. He said that he could clean it for $50.00 but that they most likely would return. He hinted around that I should learn to clean this sensor on the D7000 since it was going to reoccur. After talking to Nikon Service it is obvious that they were not going to admit the oil spots were a problem for the d7000 and eve n told me so in an email.

    thanks Bill

  18. 27
    ) John

    Great tips, thorough! A lot of in depth details; very very useful and practical to us. Thank you very much for your time to share your knowledge and tips with us. Appreciate it!

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