How to clean your smartphone camera lens for super sharp photos

You have a great smartphone with an even better camera, your gear is complete, and you are ready to shoot amazing images. But the result is not what you hoped for. The photographs are blurry and unsharp. It might be time to clean your smartphone camera lens. 

The most common and easiest way to clean the lens of your smartphone is by using a microfiber cloth folded into a triangle. Use the soft, tiny cloth to wipe off dust or sand, and brush unwanted fingerprints. 

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Your images will be much sharper after you have done some dusting with a microfiber cloth, lens pen, or compressed air canister. But it might not be the solution to the blurry results. We have put together some other common problems and solutions to help you on your way. 

Cleaning Phone Lens with Microfiber Cloth
Cleaning Smartphone Camera Lens

You can pick up my favorite microfiber cloth pack from Amazon for a couple of bucks.

Learn how to clean your smartphone lenses

The gear I used for writing this blog can be found on my favorite gear page.

What is the best way to clean your smartphone camera lens?

We are not as careful with our smartphone cameras as we are with our DSLRs. The phone falls every once in a while. It goes into our pocket or handbag. The lens has to battle dust, fat, fingerprints, and sand daily. It is just not comfortable being a smartphone camera these days. 

Therefore it is even more important to clean the lens regularly. Here are some ideas on how to clean your smartphone:

  • Use a lens pen to brush off dust and sand. 
  • A soft or microfiber cloth will help you get rid of fingerprints, water stains, and oil residue. 
  • Using compressed air from a canister is another solution for dust and sand. Use it from at least a foot away and choose the kind without additional chemicals. 

Microfiber cloth

Our favorite way to clean the smartphone camera lens is by using a microfiber cloth. It is an easy and cheap solution. It does not take up much space in your gear bag, and you can find suitable fabric in many (online) stores. 

Step 1: Breath lightly on the lens; it can provide just a bit of helpful moisture. 
Step 2: Use the microfiber cloth to make small circles on the lens. Use light pressure to clean it thoroughly. You can fold the fabric into a triangle so you can reach the corners of the glass as well.
Step 3: Do not forget to clear the flash near the camera lens. If the light gets dirty, it will reduce brightness. 

What not to use?

  • Do NOT use any chemicals like soap, amonia, or alcohol to clean the lens. It can damage the lens or reduce its quality. 
  • Do NOT use toilet paper or tissues on the glass. It might seem soft, but it can make scratches. Plus, they can shed, which causes extra dust instead of less. 

Where can I find the products to clean my mobile phone lens?

You can find our favorite cleaning products online. But every good photography store has ample cloths, lens pens, and more as well. Give some of the products a try and decide what your favorites are. 

These microfiber cloths are my favorites. I keep a couple of them in my smartphone gear bag and one in my wallet, so I am never without when a good photo opportunity arrives. 

The MagicFiber cloths were mentioned in The New York Times and Washington Post as the best holiday and tech gifts under $100. They are available in 2, 6, 13, 30, or extra-large packs. The fabric is a high-quality microfiber, which can absorb dust, oil, smudges, fingerprints, and dirt. You can even use these cloths on the screen of your phone, tablet, and laptop. Or you can clean your DSLR camera lenses and filters. They are very lightweight and pack small so that they will fit every smartphone photography gear bag. 

How to clean a phone camera lens on the inside?

It is one of the smartphone photographers’ nightmares. Dust or sand on the inside of the camera lens. How did it even get there? And how can you clean it? Once you have cleaned the outside of the glass and you still see dirt, dust may be trapped inside the lens. 

Cleaning the camera lens on the inside is a little more tricky. If you are at any moment unsure about what you have to do, let a professional help you. The experts know what they are doing and have fixed these kinds of problems daily. They can easily access the fragile components of your phone, without the risk of damaging the lens. 

Are you still willing to give it a try yourself? The overall process for a phone goes as follows:

  1. You need a tiny screw drive and case remover;
  2. Unscrew the phone (usually at the bottom of the phone on either side of the charging port);
  3. Attach case remover (or plastic suction cup you might have from changing light bulbs) and lift the screen;
  4. You will see a metal plate secured by a couple of screws located on the top of your phone. Unscrew them and remove the metal plate. This will allow you to remove the screen; OR
  5. You might not have to remove the metal plate because you can already reach the camera. Gently get the camera out of the phone (does not go very far); 
  6. Clean the lens and its surroundings with a microfiber cloth and an air blower (squeeze variation);
  7. Once everything is clean, retrace your steps, and put the smartphone back together. 

If you cannot open your smartphone, or you hesitate to do so, bring the phone to an expert

Protect Phone with Case

How can I Protect My smartphone camera Lens?

To prevent dirt from getting onto your lens, you can follow these tips:

Use a case: It does not have to be a very bulky case, but one that is just a little more elevated than the lens. You can find affordable and matching cases online. These phone cases from Redbubble are pretty awesome!

Buy a pouch: If you do not want to use a case, you can buy a small smartphone pouch. You can use it to put your phone in while you don’t use it. 

Put the camera upwards: Lay your phone down with the camera facing upwards. It will help to prevent getting scratches from surfaces. 

Store in a clean and safe place: Don’t bring your phone to the bathroom or kitchen. Water, dirt, and fat are always nearby in these rooms. Leave your mobile in the living room or your office. And don’t put the phone in your pocket with your keys. 

Use a camera lens protector: You can buy a scratch-free camera lens protector from Amazon. You can put it over your camera lens or lenses. They have different sizes for several kinds of cameras available.

How can I fix my blurry camera?

If you still have blurry results after cleaning the outside and inside of your camera lens, try these steps to see if it is a software-related problem. 

  1. restart your phone
  2. clear the cache of the camera app
  3. update the camera app
  4. tap the back of the phone (gently)
  5. scan for viruses
  6. download third-party camera app
  7. reset to factory settings

You can read more about these steps and how to carry them out in our blog post: “My Smartphone Camera Doesn’t Focus. A Quick Fix.

Repair scratches on your phone lens

Another common problem of blurry images is scratches. How can you remove them without compromising your phone? Some people have great results with using a tiny bit of white toothpaste. Rub it gently in a circular motion on the lens of your phone. Clean it with a clean and soft cloth. It only works on shallow scratches. For deep scratches, it is best to consult a professional. They might be able to fix it or replace the glass for you. 

Be careful and precise by using our tips. We are not responsible for any damage done to your phone. If you have doubts, consult an expert.

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