Rifle scopes can handle tough conditions, but their lenses are delicate due to special protective coatings that enhance light transmission. These coatings can be easily damaged if cleaned incorrectly. Therefore, cleaning your scope lenses only when needed, like when dirt or smudges impair visibility is advised. When cleaning, it should be done very carefully to avoid damaging the lenses.
How to Clean a Rifle Scope Lens
- Use compressed air or a soft lens brush to remove large particles of dust or debris from the optic.
- Wipe down the body of the scope with a soft cloth and water.
- Remove debris from moving parts using a soft-bristled toothbrush, Q-tip, or microfiber cloth if necessary.
- If still dirty, wet the lenses with a recommended rifle scope cleaner, eyeglass cleaner, or isopropyl alcohol. Then, gently wipe the lenses in a spiral pattern from the center outwards with a soft microfiber lens cloth or cleanroom swab.
- Allow the scope to dry before repeating any steps if necessary.
These steps can be applied to any optic you have, including binoculars, spotting scopes, red dot sights, as well as a trail camera lens, night vision, glasses, and so on.
What Should Be in Your Rifle Scope Cleaning Kit
The following supplies are needed for cleaning scope lenses:
- Compressed Air: The advantage of compressed air is that it clears particles without touching the lens, reducing the risk of scratching or damaging the delicate coating.
- Lens Brush: A lens brush has very soft bristles that are gentle on the lens and won't scratch the surface. It's used to gently sweep away larger particles that can't be removed by the compressed air.
- Lens Cleaning Solution: This is a special liquid cleaner formulated for use on optical lenses. It's usually alcohol-based, which helps it evaporate quickly and without leaving residue. The cleaning solution is used to remove smudges, fingerprints, and more stubborn dirt that can't be cleaned off with a brush or compressed air.
- Lint-free Microfiber Lens Cloth: This is a soft cloth made from microfiber material that doesn't shed lint, ensuring no additional particles are left on the lens during cleaning. It's used to apply the cleaning solution and gently wipe the lens.
How to clean lens cloth?
Microfiber lens cloths can be cleaned by hand washing or machine washing. For hand washing, use warm water and a small amount of dish soap. Gently rub the cloth together to remove dirt, then rinse thoroughly. For machine washing, you can wash the cloth with other microfiber items on a gentle cycle. Avoid using fabric softeners. Let the cloth air dry.
Can I use alcohol to clean the optic lens?
Yes, you can use alcohol to clean an optic lens, but it should be a specific type of alcohol - 90% isopropyl alcohol. However, it's important to use it sparingly and not to soak the lens in it. Apply it using a lint-free microfiber cloth or lens tissue.
What should I use to clean the optic?
Your lens cleaning kit should include: 1. Compressed air to blow off any loose debris or dust, 2. Lens brush to gently sweep away larger particles, 3. Cleaning solution to clean smudges or fingerprints, 4. Lens cloth.