How Do You Clean Fingerprints Off Binoculars?

Binoculars are highly useful visual aids that help people to birdwatch, stargaze, and play sports every day. Whether it’s a night out to the theater or a hiking trip, a pair of binoculars will help you to see whatever you’re looking for in the distance. 

With that being said, fingerprints can seriously compromise the functionality of your binoculars. Not only will they obscure your vision, but they can actually cause damage to the lenses over time. 

Before you start cleaning the fingerprints off your binoculars, however, it’s important to understand how to clean the lenses effectively. Some solutions can be damaging to the lenses, particularly in large quantities, and using the wrong cleaning technique can actually be detrimental to your binoculars.

Today, we’ll be covering the best cleaning solutions to use when cleaning fingerprints off binoculars, as well as the most effective techniques. 

Can I Use Windex on Binoculars?

Because binocular lenses are made of glass, most people’s first thought when it comes to cleaning fingerprints from binoculars is a glass cleaning solution. 

However, you should not use Windex or any other glass cleaner to remove fingerprints from the lenses of your binoculars. 

The reason for this is that binocular lenses are very sensitive components that need delicate and careful maintenance. Windex is a very strong and potent solution that can easily dissolve the sealant holding the lenses in place. 

Just as you wouldn’t use Windex to clean your prescription glasses or camera lens, please don’t apply Windex to your binoculars. 

Can You Use Glasses Cleaner on Binoculars?

While glasses cleaner likely won’t be as damaging to your binoculars as a solution like Windex, we would still caution against using glasses cleaner to clean fingerprints off your binoculars. 

The only time we would recommend using any type of glass cleaning solution on your binocular lenses is if a thick coating of dust has accumulated. In this case, you may struggle to clean the lenses with a 

However, it’s important to note that the cleaning solution you use in this situation should be a camera lens cleaner as opposed to a cleaning solution for glasses. 

Binocular lenses are more sensitive than the lenses you’d find in glasses because of how they are constructed to deliver the right optics. Therefore, even a simple glasses cleaning solution can cause damage to the surfaces of the lenses. 

If you do feel the need to use a glass cleaning solution on your binoculars, you should choose one that has been formulated specifically for camera or computer lenses. The formulas are designed to help clean sensitive electronics, so you can rest assured that they won’t ruin your binocular lenses. 

With that being said, you should still avoid spraying any solution straight onto the lenses, particularly if your binoculars are not waterproof. Instead, spray a small amount onto a dust cloth and apply the solution this way. 

Can I Use a Lens Cleaning Pen on Binoculars?

If you’ve never heard of a lens cleaning pen, today could be a monumental day for you in terms of learning how to clean your binoculars. 

A lens cleaning pen is the perfect tool for removing any marks from your binocular lenses (including fingerprints) that have been left to set for a long time. 

Fingerprints become increasingly difficult to remove from lenses the longer they are left uncleaned because of the oils. Therefore, if fingerprints have been left for several weeks or even months, you’ll have a difficult time removing them with just a microfiber cloth and/or some cleaning solution. 

In these cases, the best and quickest solution is to invest in a lens cleaning pen. 

Lens cleaning pens are usually double-ended, with a non-liquid compound cleaning pad on one end and a dust brush on the other. The compound of the cleaning pad helps to facilitate easy, non-detrimental fingerprint removal without the use of any liquids.

This multipurpose tool lets you complete the whole cleaning process in two simple steps. 

What is the Best Way to Clean Fingerprints off Binoculars?

So, if you can’t use Windex or glasses cleaner to clean your binoculars, what is the best way to go about the cleaning process? 

If you don’t own a lens cleaning pen or a blower brush, you can effectively clean your binoculars using a few simple tools, many of which you may already have around the house.

To thoroughly clean your binoculars, you will need:

  • Lens caps 
  • 3 x microfiber cloths 
  • A dust cloth 
  • Some water 
  • Camera lens cleaning solution

Bear in mind that you may not need all of these items if your binoculars are only slightly marked with fingerprints. 

However, if it’s been a long time since you cleaned your binoculars and dust has accumulated as well as fingerprints, or if the body of your binoculars needs cleaning as well as the lenses, you’ll need all of the above supplies. 

Step 1: Before you start cleaning the lenses of your binoculars, determine whether or not the body needs cleaning. If there are fingerprints on your lenses, it’s likely that the body of your binoculars could also use a wipe down. 

If this is the case, you will need a pair of lens caps to protect your binocular lenses while you clean the body. As we mentioned earlier, binocular lenses can be damaged or fall out due to an excess of moisture, especially if they aren’t specifically designed to be waterproof. 

In the event that you need to clean the body of your binoculars as well as the lenses, the first step you’ll need to take is to fit the lens caps over the lenses to protect them. 

Step 2: If you’re only going to be cleaning your binocular lenses and not the body, feel free to skip this step and head straight to step 3. 

The best way to clean the body of your binoculars is by simply using a damp dusting cloth. Make sure not to completely soak the cloth, and wring out any excess moisture before you apply the cloth to the binoculars. Even with lens caps in place, too much water could have unexpected and damaging results. 

Gently pass the damp cloth over the body, working in one direction for efficiency. 

Step 3: When you’re ready to move on to cleaning the lenses of your binoculars, remove the lens caps and assess the extent of the dust and/or fingerprints. 

If you notice any dust covering the lenses, you’ll need to deal with this first so that you can effectively remove fingerprints later. 

Depending on how dusty your lenses are, you may or may not be able to remove most of the dust with a microfiber cloth. 

We recommend trying to remove as much dust as possible with a microfiber cloth before trying anything else. The cloth should, ideally, be unused for maximum cleaning efficacy. Try not to press too hard – just apply enough pressure to wipe away the dust.

Step 4: If the microfiber cloth alone is not enough to lift all the dirt from the lenses, you may need to apply a small amount of specialized lens cleaning solution. 

Remember, you can’t use regular glasses cleaner or any other standard glass cleaning solution. You should only be using a formula for camera, computer, or mobile lenses. 

Use your formula sparingly. You can always add more if it’s not enough, but applying too much can be disastrous for the longevity of your lenses. 

If possible, use a separate microfiber cloth for solution to the one you used for the initial dusting. This will prevent any dust from being transferred back onto the lenses, undoing your progress. 

Step 5: Once you’ve cleaned off all the dust, you’ll need to use another microfiber cloth (or a lens cleaning pen) to remove fingerprints. 

Again, if the prints have been left for a long time, you may need to use a little more camera lens cleaning solution to lift them. Add solution sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.

Final Thoughts 

While you can’t use Windex or glasses cleaning solution to clean fingerprints off binoculars, you can absolutely return your binoculars to their former glory using microfiber cloths, a damp dust cloth, and possibly a little camera lens solution. 

Alternatively, you could invest in a lens cleaning pen to minimize the number of tools you’ll need to use during the cleaning process. 

Remember to use a new, clean microfiber cloth at every stage of cleaning and not to use too much lens solution. If you’re cleaning the body of your binoculars as well, do this step first, and use lens caps to protect your lenses from moisture.