Sensor Cleaning Tips From A Pro Repair Tech

–>We’ve talked about dirty sensors before- how to identify, preventative measures, and a few tips for cleaning. Since it’s so important and such a big concern, we thought it was worth mentioning again and adding to what we’ve already shared. This time, we have Bill Tomlinson, Manager at KEH’s Camera Repair Center, offering up his advice on the matter…

Dust and dirt are one of photographic equipments worst enemies. It has a tendency to get into places you would think impossible. When it settles on your lenses or sensor, it may show up as a dark spot or smudge on your images.

I have found many articles on the internet, that in my opinion, are detrimental to your equipment and I would not suggest following along with those tips. I have found articles that range from using a dry tissue, to believe it or not, using a pencil eraser. One of my biggest concerns with some of these suggestions is that not only can they damage your equipment and lead to costly repairs, but they could also cause your manufacture warranty on your equipment to be voided because of improper cleaning. I highly suggest you read your owners manual and follow the manufacturers suggestion on cleaning sensors over and above any hints you get from the internet. When in doubt, always defer to the manufacturer of your equipment!

If you do need to do a sensor clean yourself, first try the cameras sensor cleaning function (if it has it, which almost all newer digital cameras do). Do not use the bulb setting because the sensor is electrically charged in this setting and can attract more dust. I have seen many repairs come in our repair center where the shutter closed on the swab requiring a new shutter to be installed. First step in trying to solve this problem is to blow the equipment off by using a hand blower bulb, compressed air, or specialized compressed CO2 products. Many canned air products are liquid based and should not be used for the cleaning of dust and dirt from your equipment, so be sure to check your air first. The keyword in trying this done correctly is GENTLE, so gently try to blow the dirt and dust off of your equipment. If stubborn specks or spots will not blow off, there are several statically charged brushes available for purchase. This requires touching the sensor and using gentle swipes to dislodge the specks. If specks or smudges are still present, the use of a liquid cleaner with a sensor swab can be used. This requires a swab the size of your sensor. Move/sweep the swab gently from one side to the other of the sensor without lifting the swab off of the sensor.
If these hints for cleaning dust and dirt from your equipment do not work for you, or if doing it yourself is out of your comfort zone, then visit us here at KEH’s Camera Repair Center, and we will be glad to professionally clean it for a nominal charge. 
Contact our repair center at:, phone: 770-333-4210
DISCLAIMER: Perform these camera care tips at your own risk. We take no responsibility for any physical damage you may cause your equipment.


  1. Thanks for sharing this one to us! This is very informative.

  2. If the thought of cleaning the sensor makes you nervous, don’t worry — it should — a lot can go wrong if you aren’t careful.

  3. Just note that “liquid based” compressed air products are nearly all of them for good reason: when you compress a gas, it liquifies.

    Some will be remain gas at lower temperatures and be less likely to spray, and some propellants might be scarier than others if you accidentally spray some liquid out, but that’s neither here nor there. Blowing gaseous hydrocarbons (like the office supply canned air) at the AA filter isn’t going to do anything worse than any cleaning liquid you use, and the risk of freezing your sensor with N2 would be even higher.

    It’s more important that you understand how holding your dispenser sideways will propel the cold liquid out like a spray can instead of just releasing the gas sitting on top. Keep the can upright, use short deliberate blasts, and stop blowing when the pressure goes down and the can gets cold.

  4. It is very necessary to track these sensor errors and take measures to prevent any further problems too. Nice information shared here.

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