How to Clean Rifle Scope Lens the Quick and Easy Way in 2023

How to Clean Rifle Scope Lens

Properly cleaning your rifle scope lens is one of the most overlooked aspects of maintaining a rifle scope. Clean rifle scope lens is a task that might seem trivial, but neglecting it can significantly impact your shooting accuracy and overall experience. So, let’s delve into the world of clean rifle scope lens cleaning and discover why it’s crucial and how to do it right.

Why Should I Clean My Scope’s Lens?

Cleaning your scope’s lens is not just about aesthetics; it’s about performance. Here’s why it matters:

Importance of Lens Cleaning

Clean your scope’s lens is paramount. Contaminants like pollen, mud, and fingerprint marks can build up over time, affecting image quality and clarity. You want a clear, crisp view when aiming at your target.

Risk of Mishandling

I’ve seen many shooters make mistakes while cleaning their scope’s lens. Using improper methods or materials can lead to unintentional damage to the lens coating. It’s crucial to avoid these mishaps.

Avoiding Damage

Simple and careful cleaning steps can go a long way in preserving your scope’s lens. You certainly don’t want scratches or chips on it. Let’s discuss how to clean your rifle scope lens the right way.

The Right Way to Clean Your Rifle Scope Lens

how to clean scope lenses

Tighten Up

Before cleaning, regularly check and tighten all fastenings, such as screws in rings and bases. This ensures that your optic remains firmly in place. Loose fastenings can lead to accuracy issues, and you might need to re-sight your rifle.

Keep It Clean

Maintaining the cleanliness of your optics is crucial for maximum light transmission. Clean the lenses whenever they become obstructed by dust or dirt, as this can affect your visibility, especially in low-light conditions. But here’s an important tip: avoid using materials like shirttails, tissues, or paper towels. Instead, opt for a microfiber lens cloth or paper for lens cleaning.

Preventive Maintenance

Prevention is often better than cure, which also applies to lens cleaning. Use lens covers when your optics are not in use or during transport to protect them from dust and potential damage. Consider applying an anti-fog solution to the lenses to prevent moisture buildup. Keep your guns and binoculars in case during transport to avoid dirt and potential damage.

Protective Lens Covers

One of my go-to solutions for protecting my scope’s lenses is lens covers. Brands like Schmidt & Bender offer high-quality protective covers that shield your lenses when the riflescope is unused. These covers help prevent scratches, dust, and debris from affecting the lens quality.

Cleaning Kit

I highly recommend investing in a quality cleaning kit for proper lens maintenance. Schmidt & Bender offers a Cleaning Kit with various tools and solutions to clean lenses effectively. It’s an essential companion for any rifle scope owner.

Removing Loose Contaminations

Before cleaning, you must carefully remove loose dust and coarse particles. This can be done using a LensPen brush or a bellows. The goal here is to prevent micro-scratches that can affect your optical performance.

Removing Stains and Contaminations

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of cleaning. Stains from fingerprints, rainwater, and grease should be removed promptly to prevent harm to lens coatings. I recommend using a cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to do this. This combination works wonders in restoring your lens’s clarity.

Microfiber Pad

A microfiber pad with the LensPen can be your best friend for more stubborn stains, especially water stains. Use it with gentle pressure and slightly circular movements to tackle those persistent marks.

Removing Fingerprints, Oil, and Grease Splashes

In my experience, removing oil, grease, and fingerprints is crucial, especially when you’ve been handling your rifle scope in warm and humid conditions. Combining a cleaning spray, microfiber cloth, and the LensPen with its microfiber pad is your winning formula.

Removing Water and Lime Residues

Sometimes, you might encounter crusty stains from raindrops or saltwater. In such cases, moisten the colors with the cleaning spray and remove them with a microfiber cloth or pad. It might take some effort, but it’s worth it for a crystal-clear lens.

Avoiding Harmful Cleaning Agents

Here’s some critical advice: avoid using solvents like acetone, thinner, petrol, or other cleaning agents. These chemicals can react with the lens coating and cause permanent damage. Stick to the recommended cleaning solutions and materials for your rifle scope.

Special Lens Coatings

Modern sport optics lenses feature special coatings that are permanent and abrasion-resistant, but they do have limitations. These coatings can make water bead up, ensuring clear image quality even in wet conditions. So, it’s essential to protect them.

Importance of Cleaning Rifle Scope Lenses

how to clean a scope lens

Despite their durable construction and scratch-proof coatings, rifle scope lenses are exposed to contaminants during expeditions that can compromise image quality and scope durability. Regular cleaning ensures that you get the best performance out of your investment.

Right and Wrong Ways to Clean

Cleaning rifle scope lenses is more than just a one-size-fits-all task. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Using improper methods can damage the lenses and coatings, which you’d want to avoid at all costs. Here’s what not to do when cleaning your rifle scope lens:

Say No to Shirttails

Never wear shirttails, handkerchiefs, sleeves, or clothing to wipe your lens. They can contain particles that scratch the lens surface.

Avoid Direct Spraying

Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the lens. The liquid can seep into the scope, potentially causing internal damage. Always apply cleaning solutions to a cloth first.

Preventative Care with Lens Caps

One of the simplest yet most effective preventative measures is to use lens caps. Keeping lens caps on when the scope is not in use is common sense. Lens caps protect lenses from potential damage during storage, gun cleaning, field use, and when passing through rough terrain. Gun cleaning solvents and powders can harm lenses even if wiped off immediately, making lens caps a crucial preventative measure.

FAQs About Clean Rifle Scope Lens

cleaning scope

What is the best thing to clean scope lenses with?

The best thing to clean scope lenses with is a microfiber lens cloth or lens paper designed explicitly for lens cleaning. These materials are gentle on the lens surface and effectively remove dust and contaminants without causing scratches or damage. Avoid using materials like shirttails, tissues, or paper towels, as they can potentially harm your lens.

Can you clean a scope lens with alcohol?

Using alcohol to clean a scope lens is not recommended. Alcohol can be too harsh and may damage the lens coating or other components of the scope. It’s safer to stick to recommended lens cleaning solutions and materials to ensure that you don’t inadvertently harm your optics.

How do you clean optic lenses?

Cleaning optic lenses, including scope lenses, involves a careful process to ensure they remain in good condition. Here’s how I suggest washing them:

  • Start by removing loose dust and particles using a brush or bellows to prevent micro-scratches.
  • For stubborn stains like fingerprints, rainwater, or grease, use a cleaning spray designed for lens cleaning and a microfiber cloth. Gently wipe the lens in a circular motion.
  • In case of persistent stains, a microfiber pad, such as the one included with a LensPen, can be used with slightly more pressure and circular movements.
  • For water and lime residues, moisten the stains with the cleaning spray and then remove them with a microfiber cloth or pad.
  • Avoid using harsh solvents like alcohol, acetone, or petrol, as they can damage the lens coating.

Why is my scope foggy?

In my personal opinion, a foggy scope can result from various factors:

  • Temperature Changes: Rapid temperature changes, such as moving from a cold environment to a warm one, can cause fogging on the lens due to condensation. To prevent this, keep your scope in its case until it reaches the ambient temperature.
  • Moisture: Moisture buildup inside the scope can lead to fogging. Using an anti-fog solution on the lenses can help prevent this issue.
  • Sealing Problems: If the scope isn’t properly sealed, it may allow moisture to enter, leading to fogging. Ensure that your scope is in good condition and that all seals are intact.
  • Internal Fogging: Sometimes, internal fogging can occur due to a damaged or compromised scope. If you’ve ruled out external factors like temperature and moisture, it might be worth having your scope inspected by a professional.


In conclusion, cleaning your rifle scope lens is essential to maintaining your equipment and ensuring peak performance. By following these guidelines and using the right cleaning tools and materials, you can enjoy a clear and crisp view through your scope, ultimately improving your shooting accuracy and overall shooting experience. Remember, it’s not just about how you see the target; it’s also about hitting it accurately. So, take care of your lens, and it will take care of your shot.

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