How to clean a DSLR sensor

How to clean a dslr sensor

Dirty sensors....

Periodically, perhaps twice a year, I have to clean the sensor on my DSLR.  It’s always a bit scary because I don’t want to scratch the sensor.  For this reason, many people wimp out and just send the camera to Canon or Nikon to be professionally cleaned.  If you are made of money and you don’t mind not having your camera for three weeks, then that is a good option; however, most of us aren’t thrilled with losing our camera or spending $80.  It’s time to learn how to clean the thing yourself.

First of all, make sure you buy a high quality cleaning kit.  The cheap kits say they have lintless cloths, and scratch-free q-tips, but they don’t.  I’ve tried them and thrown them away.  So which cleaning kit can you count on as being good?  I like the Giottos DSLR cleaning kit, as well as the Nikon DSLR cleaning kit.

When you get the cleaning stuff, go to your menu and select manually clean sensor.  This will flip up the mirror on the camera so you can clean the sensor.  Most DSLRs will not allow you to do this if you have less than half battery power, so you might have to charge your camera first.  After your mirror flips up, take off the lens and get to cleanin’.  First, use the blower and blow like crazy with the camera facing down.  Many times this will do the trick.  If it doesn’t, put ONE TINY DROP of solution on a q-tip and gently rub the sensor with small circling motions.  Then immediately get three or four q-tips and wipe off the sensor to dry it.  DO NOT WAIT to start doing the drying or you’ll get streaks.

Just to appease you eagle-eyed picky people who noticed that I said to wipe the sensor, yes.  Yes, I know that it’s not actually the sensor, but a high-pass filter that you’re actually cleaning.  Relax.  I was just making it easy for the readers.  Now look what you’ve done.  I’ve confused them.  Back to the show…

That’s all there is to it, folks.  It’s easy stuff.  This post just saved you three weeks of keeping your camera and $80.  You’re welcome.  Here’s a video from <a href=”“>Kerry Garrison</a> with his tips on how to clean a DSLR lens–just in case that’s dirty too.


  1. Stu Pidasso

    No crap gary. That’s why it says “How to clean your DSLR Lenses” at the top. Let’s try to pay attention, k? lol.

Leave a Comment