How to Clean a Lens Cloth?

How to Clean a Lens Cloth featured photo

If you use a microfiber lens cloth, you know it traps all kinds of debris. But like any absorbent cloth, it eventually accumulates dirt and smudges, which affect its effectiveness. You may be clueless about how to wash a lens cloth, so we will help you do the job below.

To clean a lens cloth, prepare the necessary cleaning materials. These vary depending on how dirty the microfiber cloth is. Use a brush to scrub off loose dirt and dust. Then, you can either hand wash the cloth or put it in the washing machine.  

However, be careful when cleaning a camera lens cloth because improper washing lessens its effectiveness. This article will guide you through the steps of cleaning a lens cloth. We will also teach you the dos and don’ts. But first, we will cover the importance of washing microfiber cloths. 

Should You Wash a Lens Cloth? Why Is It Important?

A microfiber lens cloth works like a magnet for dust, dirt, and bacteria. It is a must-have cleaning tool for your camera and lenses.

However, different types of debris eventually collect on the cloth surface and lessen its cleaning ability. You must regularly wash the lens cloth to ensure its effectiveness. Cleaning it also prevents you from spreading accumulated dirt on the surface. 

Another reason to wash a microfiber lens cloth is to keep your lenses safe. Large specs of dirt and dust can scratch the lens coatings. It is best to clean the cloth regularly to avoid damage.

Finally, letting the cloth soak in soapy water can prolong its lifespan. No dirt and debris build-up means the fabric would not deteriorate or lose its softness. 

How to Clean A Microfiber Lens Cloth?

Below is the step-by-step guide on how to clean a microfiber cloth. 

Prepare Cleaning Materials

The first thing to do is prepare the necessary cleaning materials and tools. Below are the things you will need.

  • Mild soap or detergent liquid
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Clean water
  • Basin or sink
  • Towel or drying rack
  • Air blower
  • Storage case or pouch

Most of these materials are easily accessible, so you would not have trouble finding them.

Check Manufacturer’s Care Recommendations

Before washing the lens cloth, you may want to check the specific care recommendations from the manufacturer. 

Sure, a microfiber cleaning cloth is durable and reusable. However, improper washing can cause the fibers to fall out or harden. Some products can also cause fabric discoloration.

To avoid these problems, always follow the care instructions from the manufacturer of the microfiber cloth.

Shake or Brush Off Loose Dirt from the Microfiber Lens Cloth

Shake or Brush Off Loose Dirt from the Microfiber Lens Cloth

A slightly dirty microfiber cloth does not require deep cleaning. Sometimes, all you have to do is shake and brush the fabric.

Try to shake out the dust and debris stuck on the cloth. Ensure you hold it over a trash can or the sink to avoid unnecessary mess.

You can also use an air blower or dryer to remove fine particles that have accumulated on the fibers. Turn the dryer on to the lowest heat setting to prevent fabric damage. Also, keep it several inches from the cloth to avoid direct heat.

If you still notice dirt, get a soft-bristled brush. You can use it as is or soak it in a dish soap solution. Then, gently rub the brush on the microfiber cloth to properly clean it.

Hand Wash the Lens Cloth

The lens cloth might need more than a shake if it is full of dirt and debris. Consider washing it by hand to remove stubborn junk.

Below are steps on how to wash a lens cloth by hand.

First, fill a bowl or basin with clean water. Add a few drops of mild soap dish or detergent liquid. If you are using the latter, ensure it does not contain bleach or fabric softener. 

Next, place the dirty lens cleaning cloth in the basin. Let it soak in the soapy water for several minutes.

Then, scrub the cloth using your hand. You can also get a laundry brush with soft bristles.

After scrubbing, remove the microfiber lens cloth from the water. Refill the bowl with clean water. And put the material back in the water to rinse off the soap.

Repeat the process until you do not see any soapy bubbles on the surface of the water. 

Use a Washing Machine for Stubborn Dirt

Use a Washing Machine for Stubborn Dirt

You can also machine wash your camera lens cloth, especially if it contains stubborn dirt and oily residue. Using a washing machine, especially an automatic one, can even save you time and effort.

Make sure to separate the camera lens cleaning cloth from your dirty laundry. Doing so prevents the lint on your garments from transferring to the microfiber lens cloth.

Put the cloth inside the washing machine. Set it to a gentle or delicate cycle to keep the cloth in tip-top shape. 

Next, switch the temperature to the lowest setting to get cold water. Avoid using hot or warm water when washing the lens cleaning cloth because it can melt the fibers.

Then, add a small amount of mild detergent or soap specifically formulated for delicate fabrics like your microfiber cloths. 

Start the washing machine and wait for it to complete the cycle. Avoid putting other garments inside the machine while washing the microfiber lens cleaning cloth.

Leave the Microfiber Lens Cleaning Cloth to Dry

After washing the lens cloth by hand or machine, remove it from the water. If possible, squeeze all the moisture out of the fabric.

Then, lay it flat on a clean towel to dry naturally. You can also hang it on a clothes rack.

Wait a few hours or one day for the lens cloth to dry completely. 

Store the Microfiber Lens Cloth in a Clean Place

You can keep the lens cloth in a protective case or pouch when not in use. Doing so prevents dirt and dust from collecting and diminishing its cleaning ability.

What to Avoid When Cleaning a Lens Cloth?

Washing a camera lens cloth is relatively simple. However, you must avoid the following mistakes to keep the clean microfiber cloth in optimal condition.

First, do not use bleach or any soap with harsh chemicals. It can damage the microfibers and cause them to break down over time. Bleach can also lead to fabric discoloration.

You must also avoid fabric softener because it clogs the space between the fibers. That means the cloth will lose its ability to trap debris.

Another thing to avoid is any heat source, such as a dryer or direct sunlight. High temperatures can melt microfibers and harden them, which can scratch delicate lens surfaces. Instead, leave the cloth to air dry at room temperature.

Finally, keep the lens cloth away from other fabrics while washing. These items can transfer lint or other contaminants onto the cloth, ultimately compromising its effectiveness.

How to Maintain the Lens Cloth?

One of the best ways to keep the lens cloth in excellent condition is to store it properly. Get a clean, protective case or pouch to protect the cloth from dust.

You must also strictly use cold water when washing the lens cloth. Avoid hot water because it can damage the microfibers.

Additionally, handle the cloth with care. Do not use excessive force when scrubbing or squeezing it. 

Finally, take note of the things to avoid above. Keeping your lens cloth away from harsh chemicals, direct sunlight, and other laundry items can ensure its effectiveness for a long time. 


A microfiber cloth is a necessary cleaning tool for your lens. However, the fabric itself can eventually get dirty and requires regular washing.

To wash a lens cloth, check the specific care suggestions from the manufacturer. Try to shake or brush off loose dirt. Wash the cloth by hand or machine if the debris is deep-seated in the fabric.

Do you have other questions about cleaning a lens cloth? Feel free to submit them via our contact page, and we will get back to you soon!