How to Clean your Camera Sensor

In this post I’ve got two videos showing you how to get a clean camera sensor – even one with lots of dirt stuck to it.

A dirty camera sensor is the one of the most frustrating things, because often you don’t notice it until you’ve taken a lot of photos – like on a holiday. I’ve been there!

First, let’s check if you have a dirty sensor. To do this, take a photo of the sky or a wall.

clean camera sensor

This is an example of a really dirty sensor

Look for those tell-tale dark spots or smaller dust spots. Six big spots are jumping out at me in the photo above.

Method 1 – Dry brush “static” cleaning a dSLR sensor

If you can’t see the video above, watch it on YouTube.

This method uses a dry sensor brush or an Arctic Butterfly. Using a blower bulb, you statically charge the brush and wipe it across the sensor to lift off the dust. With an Arctic Butterfly, you don’t need to use a blower bulb, but they are handy to have around to do general dusting of your camera and lenses.

When purchasing the sensor brush, make sure you get the correct size for your specific camera sensor.

Having said that, I’ve been using the same 1.6x brush for all of my cameras, including full frame dSLR and M4:3 mirrorless, so it’s not critical.

And remember, if you’re cleaning a dSLR, you’ll also have to get the mirror out of the way first. To do this, follow the instructions given by the camera manufacturer, or look for a menu in your camera, called “Sensor Cleaning” or something similar.

Tools needed for the dry sensor cleaning method:

If this method doesn’t work, you’ll have to try the wet fluid method, which is demonstrated in the next video.

Method 2 – Wiping with sensor cleaning fluid

If the video above doesn’t show up, watch it on YouTube.

This video demonstrates how to use the sensor fluid and cleaning sticks to clean a mirrorless camera sensor. It will also work with a dSLR, but you need to flip up the mirror first. If your sensor has a lot of grime on it, or the dry brush method doesn’t work, use the wet wiping method.

clean camera sensor

Tools needed for the wet sensor cleaning method:

  • You can buy the cleaning solution and Pec Pads, separately or just get this sensor cleaning kit which has the supplies I used in the video.
  • You don’t need much of these supplies unless you change lenses outside a lot or work in very humid and dirty environments.
  • I purchased my sensor cleaning fluid, application sticks, and extra Pec Pads over 10 years ago and I’ve only used them twice.

I think that covers the best ways to get a clean camera sensor.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, or on the YouTube videos if the comments are closed here.