How To Clean A Spotting Scope In 2020 by Brett Grant

We all know, in the outdoors, our spotting scopes will get dusty and dirty. The goal is to always keep our optics clean and useable. A clean and well-maintained spotting scope is a spotting scope with a long shelf-life. If you know how to care for your spotting scope, it can last forever.

If you’re a person who wants to learn how to properly clean a spotting scope, you came to the right place. Take a seat and read our complete guide above on how to clean and maintain your spotting scope.

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The right’s and the wrong’s

Like all things in this world, there’s a right way to do things and a wrong way. We’re going to discuss a couple of common mistakes spotting scope users do to clean their device.

The wrong cleaning solution

You want to make sure the solution you’re using says “for all coated lens”. Unfortunately, optics on spotting scopes use a special coating on their optics and lens. You can’t just use any old cleaning solution to clean your device. If the solution you’re using does not mention this, stay away from it.

Using a solution that doesn’t mention this, puts your scope at risk. The cleaning solution could potentially damage the optics or even take off the coating. Instead of looking through a clear scope, it would be like looking through a dirty pop bottle.

Know the type of solution you’re using is very important. Scoping scopes aren’t cheap. Just because you want to cheap out on a cleaning solution, you wasted hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars.

Dealing with dust

Most beginners think you can use any paper to clean a lens. This is completely incorrect and if anything, dangerous to the lens. My recommendation is either a pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes or a soft glasses cloth to clean a lens.

Using a rough cloth with dirt on your lens is a recipe for bad news. You’re just asking for your optics to get damaged. But, later in this article, I’ll discuss other methods to consider to clean your optics.

6 easy steps to clean a spotting scope

If you’re using a spotting scope indoors or outdoors, dust is going to settle into them. It’s inevitable. Depending on the environment, it can be less or more. Most of us are inclined to quickly grab a random cloth and rubbing away. Contrary to popular belief, this is honestly the fastest way to ruin your scope.

But, what is the right way to clean your spotting scope? Good question! Below are my 5 easy steps to clean a spotting scope.

1. Read your spotting scope’s owner manual

Most spotting scopes come with a user’s manual. This is an important key because not all spotting scopes are created the same. Within user manuals, your device may require a special type of solution to clean its optics. If you’ve had experience with spotting scopes, you’d know each manufacture uses different coating types and chemicals.

Read the owner’s manual that came with your scoping scope. It’s important to take into account the directions of the manufacturer. But, saying this, not all manufacturers include this in their manuals. If you can find their preferred cleaning method, continue on.

2. Remove dust and clean the surface

Remember, dust contains dirt and dirt can be just as strong as, if not stronger, than glass. If your lens is dusty or dirty, spray compressed air on it to blow away the debris. Compressed air doesn’t leave marks or scratches. It’s just going to blow away any debris on the lens. We want to make sure we’re clearing the surface area. Or, you can use an optics cleaning pen tool to clean your optics lens.

If you use a dustier or start cleaning with a solution, there’s a couple of issues that arise. First, if you use a dustier, there’s a chance of scratching the lens. Second, if you don’t clean the surface, you could be mopping the debris around the lens. This will create smoggy images.

3. Apply solution and start cleaning

By this point, you’ll need a proper cleaning solution. We recommend the Zeiss lens care kit which that contains the following:

  • 8oz (240 ml ) Lens Cleaner refill
  • 2oz ( 60 ml ) Refillable Lens Cleaner
  • 2 x Microfiber Cleaner Cloths ( 6×7 inches)
  • 10 x Disposable Cleaning Wipes ( 6×5 Inches)
  • 1 x Key chain Screwdriver with Heads

And please, do not try to blow dirt from your lens. This traps dust in the creases in the fine moisture due to your breath.

Only use the disposable cleaning wipes if you’re on the go. When you’re at home and cleaning the lens, use the microfibre cloth.

4. Dry the lens 

I like to start off by saying, you should have 2 separate microfibre cloths for your spotting scope. One for cleaning and one for drying. With the drying microfiber cloth, start drying off the lens after you clean the lens. Gently move it around the lens until it’s completely dry.

Never use fibrous materials like rugged towels, tissues or paper towels. They always leave a trail of marks and fibers. Ultimately, gouging the optics which is something we do not want.

5. Clean the body and creases

For this section, use a compressed air can or mini duster to remove debris from the crevices of your device. Once this is done, use your wet cloth to wipe down the surfaces of the spotting scope.

6. Store your scope carefully

The way you store your device is almost as important as how you clean it. In regards to spotting scopes, always cap the lens when you’re not using it. That’s the easiest way for it to collect dust.

If you have a carrying case, please use it. It’s there for a reason. When your scope is exposed while traveling, you’re more likely to damage it. Keep it safe but putting it in a carrying case while you move around.

Lastly, make sure you keep your spotting scope in a dry place. You want to avoid the scope of getting moisturized and eroded. Plus, this will affect the optics as well.

Optional: Quick tip to protect your investment

We suggest to never dismantle your spotting scope to clean it. There’s a couple of reasons why we’re against this. First, most of us reading this aren’t professionals, chances are we’ll damage the glass inside.

Second, according to some manufacturers, opening up components in a spotting scope voids the warranty. Companies like Vortex, Celestron, and others have amazing lifetime warranties. To void them simply to clean a spot would be a shame.

What I would suggest if you really feel it needs a deep cleaning, contact the manufacturer and see what options are available.  Only professionals should be handling this part. Remember, if you take care of your spotting scope, it can last a lifetime.

Conclusion

You have to use the right materials for your spotting scope. If you use the wrong materials, you potentially could ruin your spotting scope. Make sure the solution you use is a solution designed for spotting scopes.

Furthermore, overcleaning can cause issues as well. We suggest you go for a moderate cleaning schedule. When your spotting scope gets dirty, give it a good cleaning. Make sure to use the right cleaning tools when you’re cleaning your spotting scope. We recommend the Zeiss lens care kit to clean your spotting scope.

But, once it’s clean, store it properly so it doesn’t collect dust. Storing your device properly is almost as important as cleaning it. The two work together to give your spotting scope longevity.