How to Clean Spotting Scope Lenses: A Helpful Guide

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Part of owning a delicate piece of equipment is making sure that it is clean and well maintained. However, we are all human and sometimes tend to get lazy when it comes to cleaning the lens of our spotting scope.


The process of cleaning spotting scope lenses can be quite intimidating, but you should be familiar with it because cleaning them incorrectly can result in scratches. Likewise, having them regularly cleaned by a professional is expensive.

Apart from knowing how to clean spotting scope lenses correctly, understanding the common reasons why they get dirty is also essential so you know the best cleaning method to use. With that said, this article will provide you the necessary information that you need to maintain your spotting scope and extend its life.

How Spotting Scope Lenses Get Dirty

In general, the following three reasons are why lenses get dirty:

Outdoor Activities

Spotting scope lenses are all the rage in bird watching and hunting now because not only are they good for wide-angle views or sharp eagle eyes, but they are also extremely portable. In fact, you rarely see people without a spotting scope when they go on their adventures.


You can expect that when you are in the forest, mountains, or other outdoor places, there will be dirt, mud, and other grime. These things will eventually splatter your spotting scope’s lens, especially if you are continually moving. At the same time, the occasional accident like a tripod falling over gives access to the forces of nature and allows dirt to cling to your lens.

Your Skin and Hair

Surprise, surprise. Yes, you are contributing to that dirt that is stuck on your spotting scope’s lens. We are talking about the natural shedding of our hair and skin. For the skin part, these are the particles that fall off when we scratch, change clothes, or touch our face.


As for hair, we naturally lose around 1,000 strands of hair every day. We also tend to lose eyebrow, arm, and leg hair. So those stray hairs that you see might not just come from wherever you left your scope. Often, it dropped straight into it while you were using it.

The Inevitable Dirt

We used the word “inevitable” here because, in this case, even if you exercise caution to prevent the previous causes that we mentioned your lens will still get dirty. This is because dust, fiber, and pollen travel by air. These things will eventually land on the scope, or worse, in it. So why not use a case, right?


Too late. Your case can already be covered by dust. Taking your scope in and out of its case can brush that dust into your scope’s lens. Where do we go from here? It is not just about precaution. It is about a cleaning solution. No matter how careful you are in keeping everything safe and clean, they will still get dirty.

How to Clean Spotting Scope Lenses

Now that you know why the lens of your spotting scope is grimy, it is time to do the dirty work, literally. The things that you need are:

• Microfiber cloth
• Lens brush
• Lens cleaner
• Facial tissue

If you are wondering if you can use alternative products like ordinary tissue, the answer is yes. So, if you know something that can also work well, go ahead. We recommend that you purchase cleaning materials that are specifically designed for lenses. Again, the lens is very delicate. You do not want to use anything that might scratch it.

Step 1

Wipe down the entire scope using a microfiber cloth and be sure not to touch the lens. Doing so will remove excess dirt off of the scope.

Step 2

Take the lens brush and start dusting off particles from the center of the lens going outwards. Follow a consistent clockwise or counterclockwise motion. If there is still some residue left, you should not go back to it. Instead, finish one full motion and start from the center again.

Step 3

Get a facial tissue or any tissue that is soft. Put two to three drops of lens cleaner on it and rub the lens using a circular motion. Make sure not to rub too hard. This could cause damage. Also, do not rub too lightly to ensure that you are removing dirt. Be careful not to add too much cleaning solution.

Step 4

Before the liquid dries, grab another facial tissue and dry the area. This time, use faster but gentle circular strokes. This will help in keeping the clarity and gleam of the lens.

Step 5

Repeat steps two through four for the other lenses.

Step 6

You do not have to leave them out to dry. Lens cleaner dries quickly. By the time you dry it off with the other facial tissue, you can immediately put back the lens cap and tuck it back in its case.

Tips & Tricks

Here are some simple ways to maintain the cleanliness of the lens:

• Always put back the lens cap so you will not accidentally touch the lens.
• Store in a cool and dry area where it will not get wet.
• When you are out in the field with strong wind, shield your lens with your hands.
• Never use the breath and wipe method.
• When not in use, keep it in its case.

Final Words

Now that you are equipped with the knowledge on how to clean a scope lens, it does not mean that you can be careless. Remember that deep cleaning the lens constantly will affect clarity, so it should not be done more than four times a month.


Additionally, never put the liquid cleaning solution directly on the lens. Always use soft facial tissue. Keep in mind that cleaning is not the only way to maintain the quality of the scope lens. You should also store and handle them properly.

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