How to Clean a Film Camera

Any gadget you own will require a lot of care in order to sustain its performance. The most important part of this care is cleaning. Since all devices have several delicate features, extreme caution is required during cleaning. In fact, it can become a complex and elaborate process.

That’s because even a slight lack of care can damage the gadget, in this case, a damage on a film camera can be a permanent damage. The cleaning process is not a difficult task as long as you follow the process step by step, and be gentle with the materials during the cleaning process.

Everything used to clean the device should be of good quality, from the cleaning fluid to the cloth or swabs should be non-abrasive. Your film camera should be handled with the best care because it is a valuable item.

We’ve listed here the best way of cleaning a film camera, with simple instructions to make your task easy.

Separate the parts

A film camera is not just one delicate device. It is made up of several different parts. So, there’s the lens, eyepiece, battery packs, flashes, and the straps. Additionally, each of them requires its own special cleaning procedures. Therefore, you need to begin by separating all of them, but of course, be gentle and careful with every process.

Cleaning the exterior

After taking your camera apart, the next step is to remember that this gadget, like all others, has an external body apart from its various internal components. Cleaning the exterior is a relatively simpler task compared to the interior parts of your film camera. Best way for using a film camera for better results is cleaning it first. This requires a clean, soft lint-free cloth, with which you’ll have to wipe the exterior clean, ensuring that you get to the corners and difficult-to-reach places. If the latter is difficult to manage, use soft cotton swabs.

Be gentle as you wipe down the exterior. If the camera is too dirty and the cloth gets grimy after a few wipes, change it and use a fresh cloth.

Cleaning the mirror, lens mount & lens

In addition, the mirrors and the lens mount on the exterior of the camera are more delicate than the rest of the exterior parts of the camera. The natural corollary to this is that these parts require more sensitive handling and care than some others. The camera mirror should be gently wiped with a cotton swab after putting a drop of cleaning fluid on it. And you can use the same swab, unless it’s got really dirty, to wipe the lens mount too.

Caring for the lenses

On that note, we’ll also inform you about the importance of cleaning the lens itself. A clean swab with a clean drop of fluid is what you need to use to gently wipe the lens fibers to ensure a good cleaning job. Wrapping a lens tissue around the swab to wipe down the front and rear lenses will enhance the cleaning quality. Choosing the best film cameras is also important here.

Cleaning battery terminals and flash contacts

When cleaning the flash contacts you’ll also need a soft and clean cotton swab. You can certainly use the same one that you used to clean the mirror and lens mount. However, if that becomes dirty from cleaning the lens mount, you will need to get a brand new fresh swab. The flash contacts will simply need to be wiped down with the swab. In the case of the battery pack, you’ll need to clean the terminals, which you’ll also have to do for the interior terminals of the camera.

Eyepiece needs delicate care too

Your eye is a very delicate part of your face, and so is the eyepiece of your film camera. So, you should not even consider using a used swab for this part, and definitely use a fresh cotton swab, with a drop of cleaning fluid to clean the eyepiece.

Cleaning the camera interior

The internal body of the camera also ends up with a lot of dust and grime, which can end up accumulating and damaging your gadget unless it’s routinely cleaned. For this, a blower brush is your best cleaning option. You can use it to gently blow away any grim or loose dust lying around inside the camera.

Strap just needs a wash

Cleaning your camera strap is quite a no-brainer, requiring no effort on your part at all. You can easily run it in a dishwasher or a washing machine, and restore the strap to its original condition without a worry.

Cleaning the storage box

To make your camera cleaning task easier, make sure you are storing your gadget properly in a good condition box. However, with the best of storage conditions, there comes a time when you need to clean up the storage box to remove the dust and dirt that may have been collecting in it. In some cases, if there’s been prolonged neglect of the box, you may find the chrome surface becoming tarnished or the light seal crumbling in black powder. For cleaning the box, you will need a dust blower and a soft micro-fiber cloth. If the tarnish is tough, you can use an eraser to rub it away gently.


As you can see, managing to care for your camera isn’t a difficult task. If you have figured out the know-how’s of cleaning a camera, you should be able to do it routinely without any issue. Quality care is really the main principle of keeping your device clean and last a long time. Therefore, if you want to hold on to your camera for a long time or possibly lifelong, be sure to use a good quality cleaning product. Sometimes, trying to save money on cleaning products will make you spend more money when your camera gets damaged by harsh and cheap chemicals. Be gentle with your camera and all its parts.

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