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Basic (but important) cleaning tips!

Set of brushes from hardware shop.Before attempting to clean the image sensor, the best advice I can give is:
to thoroughly clean and brush off all external parts of the camera body and lens.

There’s no point in opening the shutter to clean the sensor, just to have bits drop into the camera, because of a dirty exterior.

A basic set of brushes, available at your hardware store, plus a good quality Air Puffer such as the famous Giotto’s Rocket Air, are essentials.  

I use a small pencil type brush, a medium round brush, with the bristles trimmed at an angle, and an edge paint brush.

Thoroughly brush off the exterior of both the camera body and the lens. Do this before you remove the lens from the body (or have a body cap fitted). Clean all crevices, corners, buttons, dials, inside card door and battery compartment.

Use the edge brush to clean crevises and around the lens mounting.Once you have cleaned thoroughly around the lens mounting area, only then should the lens be removed from the camera.
Dirt and dust accumulates around this area, and bits can easily drop into the camera as the lens or body cap is removed.

Remove the lens with the camera pointing downwards. While holding the camera downwards, tap the lens mount several times with the free hand, to make any loose bit drop out. Now remaining bits around the lens mount can be brushed off.

With a clean camera exterior and the lens removed, the mirror chamber can now be cleaned.

Fluff, fibres and other particles like to stick to the anti-reflective material, applied to side walls and the bottom, inside the mirror chamber of most cameras.

Removing most of these bits, before they end up on the sensor, can be done with a simple, effective little tool. See description on the right side bar.

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A simple tool for cleaning inside the mirror box:


Cut the tip off a cotton bud, or use a tooth pick. Wind a layer of sticky tape around the end of the stick, but so that you end up with the sticky side out.

You now have a sticky tool that will pick off all the loose bits, stuck to the sides of the mirror chamber, by simply rolling it up and down, while holding the mirror up.

Just keep adding tape around the stick, until the mirror chamber walls are clean.

Using air

You can gently puff out any loose bits lodged on the mirror and focusing screen.

Gentle puffs only, with the camera facing down, so the bits drop out.

Never use canned air!
Propellant may expelled onto or below the sensor surface, making for an expensive clean-up.