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How To Clean A Camera Sensor

The time will inevitably come when any photographer who uses an interchangeable lens camera will begin to see dust spots on their images. The more often we change lenses, the more likely we will encounter these perfectly safe, but somewhat pesky dirt and dust spots. It is at that time when most of us embark on a journey to discover all about camera sensor cleaning, and how best to go about it. Fear not, as this simple step-by-step guide will show you how to safely clean your own camera sensor. You’ll also learn which camera cleaning tools are needed to get the job done quickly and effectively, so you needn’t worry about dust spots again.

How to clean a camera sensor

Camera Sensor Cleaning Kit: What You Will Need

Firstly, you’ll need to know the size of your camera sensor, which will be a Micro Four Thirds (MFT), Crop sensor, Full Frame or Medium Format sensor. Once you’ve established this, you can either get a compatible camera sensor cleaning kit, or buy the individual components separately. In order to keep your sensor spick and span for years to come, we recommend the following items are always in your kit:

The essential hurricane blower for dust removal

VisibleDust sensor clean liquid

  • To apply the cleaning liquid, we use a swab in the correct size for our camera sensor. The four most popular options include:
  1. Micro Four ThirdsVisibleDust EZ Dualpower-X Regular Strength 1.3x Cleaning Kit (includes a cleaning liquid)
  2. Crop sensorVisibleDust DHAP Vswab 1.6x Cleaning Swabs 12 pack
  3. Full Frame sensorVisibleDust MXD-100 1.0x Vswab 12 pack
  4. Medium Format sensorVisibleDust MXD-100 42mm Vswab 12 pack

Crop sensor exposed for cleaning

Crop sized camera sensor exposed for cleaning

How to Clean a Camera Sensor

Follow our simple step-by-step guide, which describes how to clean dirt and dust from a camera sensor, restoring it to its original, dust-free condition.

  1. Work on a well-lit, flat and clean surface, such as a desk or table.
  2. Make sure your camera battery is fully charged to avoid the camera shutting while you’re busy cleaning it.
  3. Most cameras will have a menu setting specifically for the task of cleaning the sensor. Locate this and follow the manufacturers steps. If you are unsure, refer to your camera’s instruction manual. This will primarily let the camera know to lock up a mirror or protector and expose the sensor until it is switched off again.
  4. Remove the lens and point the camera downwards. This reduces the chances of new dust landing on the sensor and helps anything being removed with gravity. Get your hurricane or bellows blower and point it up at the sensor. Working from around 3 cm away, squeeze the blower steadily and repeat this 10-20 times to dislodge particles and blow them away. Take a peek at the sensor and if you can still see any dust repeat this step as necessary.
  5. Place the camera onto the flat surface face up with the sensor exposed. Remove any packaging from a swab and squeeze the appropriate number of sensor cleaning fluid drops onto each side of the swab. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how many drops are required, as this can vary depending on the brand and strength of the fluid.
  6. Next, with the steadiest hand possible, angle the wet swab slightly and using only light contact, gently drag it from one edge of the sensor to the other (typically left to right). Flip the swab over and repeat this step with the unused side, passing back along the sensor in the reverse direction. It is important to only use light pressure on the sensor to avoid damage. We flip the swab over after one pass, because we don't want to drag any dirt it picked up back across the sensor. Generally, this step will have completely removed all remaining dirt, however if you can still see some, take out a new swab and repeat from step 5 above.

That’s it! You now know how to clean a mirrorless camera sensor, or a DSLR – it really is that simple. The proof is in the pudding and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful, dust-free images when you next head out on a shoot.

Light passes through lens to hit the sensor

Light passes through lens to hit the sensor

Where Can I Get my Camera Sensor Cleaned?

Cleaning a sensor can be intimidating for some of our customers, while others are simply too busy or may be working photography professionals who need the job done efficiently on their behalf. If that sounds like you, you’ll be pleased to hear that we do offer a professional sensor cleaning service, carried out by our highly experienced staff in London and Sussex. We offer a variety of services covering every sensor size and camera type, including a same day service, for anyone who need their equipment back quickly.

Professional Park Cameras sensor cleaning service

It can be beneficial to use a professional service as our technicians understand how important your camera is to you. Every job is meticulously carried out and negates the chance of any accidental damage, which might occur if performed at home. We always follow best practice, using the best camera cleaning equipment at our disposal, and are able to clean even the dirtiest of sensors.

It’s essential to have a clean camera sensor in order for you achieve crystal clear, dust-free images from your investment. Any time spent removing dust spots during post processing can be quite frustrating and becomes unnecessary when a camera is maintained as required. The process is relatively straightforward and the cleaning equipment you need is extremely cost-effective in the long run.

While many customers are happy to perform their own maintenance, others prefer to use our sensor cleaning service for extra peace of mind, knowing the job will be done efficiently and professionally by highly experienced staff. Whichever route you decide to take, we know that you’ll be thrilled with the results your newly cleaned camera captures!


*This article is meant for information purposes only. Park Cameras takes no responsibility for any damage that may be incurred to a camera during the course of following this guide.

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By Park Cameras on 10/12/2021

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