How to Clean a Projector Lens

How should you go about cleaning the projector lens? Even though the projector and its lens require almost no little maintenance, it still should be cleaned occasionally to ensure it doesn’t break down from neglect. A modicum of care is still needed from you, the electronics owner, to make sure your investment doesn’t break down within its warranty period or beyond it when you can’t replace it anymore. You should also do projector lens cleanup in such a way that doesn’t involve voiding the warranty or causing customer-induced damage (CID).

With that in mind, keep on reading. Here are the things you can do in order to properly clean your lens before it gets damaged permanently. Also, remember to avoid cleaning the lens while the projector is turned on. This is because the bright beam of light from the lens could hit your eye and damage it. Projector light can be quite bright so it’s best to clean the device while it’s turned off.

See more: How to Clean a Projector

The Proper Way to Clean the Projector Lens

When cleaning your projector at large or the projector lens, in particular, you must never remove any parts of the device except the lamp. If you’re not well-versed when it comes to disassembling electronics to the point that you feel like you could incur more harm than good, then hire a technician to do the removal for you. At any rate, here are the tips you should follow to clean your projector lens without damaging it.


  1. Before Cleaning The Lens: If you’ve just recently used the projector you should let it cool down before cleaning it. Leave it alone from 30 minutes to an hour. You should also turn it off to allow it to cool. Don’t put it on standby mode or anything. Outright unplug its power cable from the socket. You should also disconnect it from the video sources for good measure in case it’s the model of projector that gets its power from the HDTV, laptop, or BD/DVD player. When you go about cleaning it, it should be cool to the touch. Don’t clean it while it’s still hot or warm. You should also prepare a no-lint microfiber lens cloth to help clean up the lens itself.


  1. Cleaning Agents to Use or Avoid: You should use a little bit of mild soap mixed with water for lens cleaning. You can otherwise buy a lens cleaner from the nearest camera shop. Don’t use laundry detergent or dishwashing liquid to clean your projector lens. It’s the same deal when it comes to harsh cleaning chemical detergents like thinner, benzene, alcohol, or wax. Avoid abrasive cleaning pads and solvents on your lens because that can damage the lens itself. Paper towels or tissues have hard fibers that could scratch the lens. They can also bunch up and get torn apart into wads of lint when wiped on something while wet, thus leaving particles behind. This isn’t ideal.


  1. Actually Cleaning The Lens Itself: Periodically clean the lens of your projector when you notice dust or smudges on the surface of the glass. Again, wait 30 minutes or so for the projector to cool down before cleaning the lens if the device has been in use prior to the cleanup. You should move the shutter to the side and wipe the glass surface of the lens with lens-cleaning paper or microfiber cloth to remove the smudges and dust. Close the shutter once cleaning is done. If you’re dealing with stubborn smudges, you should use a lens cleaner applied to the lens cloth. Don’t directly spray any liquid on the lens, that could accidentally seep into the circuitry.


  1. More Precautions When Cleaning The Lens: The cloth shouldn’t be soaking wet with lens cleaner liquid. It should be moistened instead. Don’t rub too hard on the smudges. Remember—rub gently but thoroughly. Also, avoid any flammable type of lens cleaner. The high heat from your projector can cause it to ignite and put your projector on fire. That’s right; a projector can be a fire hazard if you use flammable liquid cleaner on it. What you can get away with when cleaning your laptop you can’t do so with a projector. Harsh materials are a no-no too as well as ammonia glass cleaner. Don’t subject the lens to impact as well. Don’t touch the lens with your fingers either. That could leave oil residue on the lens surface as well.

How to Clean a Projector Lens

  1. What to Do with a Cracked Lens: If you accidentally drop your projector and crack a lens then your main recourse of action is to replace the lens part if it’s part of the warranty. Some warranties are particular when it comes to customer-induced damage or CID though. Subjecting your lens to impact can lead to more than scratch but a deep crack that’s seen whenever you turn on your projector and project the image on-screen. Don’t use canned air that might have residue in it. Instead, use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the internals of your projector. The filter is removable so that you can clean it carefully without damaging the internal electronics of your device.


  1. The Problem with Using Harsh Chemicals on Your Lens: The main thing about cleaning your lens is that you should avoid damaging it. There are many ways you can go about cleaning it that could leave it worse for wear than before. As a projector owner, you should be more aware of the dangers of lens cleanup. You might think that buying a lens solution is too expensive for cleanup but it prevents needless residue from forming on your lens. What’s more, you can always use mild soap mixed with water when push comes to shove. Your lens cleaning solution can also have abrasive properties. You should specifically hunt for a lens cleaner that’s non-abrasive instead of settling with an ordinary mirror cleaner.


  1. Avoid Alcohol in Cleaning The Lens: As mentioned earlier, you should avoid using alcohol to clean your lens even though it’s the go-to all-around cleaner for everything else in your home electronics. This is because the only thing that can possibly get hotter than your projector while in operation is your oven or your microwave. Like those equipment units, you shouldn’t flood or soak your lens with alcohol with the mistaken belief that it makes the smudges go away easier. The residue of alcohol, no matter how minute, can catch fire when you turn on your projector even though alcohol normally evaporates at room temperature.


  1. To Use or Not To Use Compressed Air: Quite a bit of dust can be shaken or blasted out of the lens with a can of compressed air. The problem with this piece of advice is that other guides recommend to not use compressed air and to instead have you get a shop vacuum to suck up the dust. The truth of the matter is that a right type of compressed air can be bought that’s lens-suitable and doesn’t leave aerosol residue with it. Check your local photography store or the store you bought your projector for more details. When spraying the can of air, make sure to stand at least seven inches away. If you’re too close, the impact might shake something inside the projector loose. It might even crack the lens altogether.


  1. Tissue versus Cloth and Projector Placement: Using tissue paper or paper towels that bunch up and turn into wads of tissue residue can do more harm than good when cleaning your projector lens. It’s better to use a tougher microfiber or lens cloth to do the cleaning to ensure a lint-free result. What’s more, you should avoid placing your projector in dusty areas in the first place to keep it from accumulating excessive dirt as it operates. The device will last longer the fewer dust particles and “bunnies” you have t contend with. Otherwise, vacuum your home cinema regularly.


  1. Photographic Lens Brush for Stubborn Stains: Aside from rubbing the lens gently with a soft, dry and lint-free cloth made of microfiber or some other material, you can use a proper photographic lens brush as well. Such brushes can agitate the sticky stains enough for easy removal with a moistened lens cloth without scratching the lens surface or even cracking it apart like a nut. When wiping your lens, do so in a circular motion that doesn’t put in too much pressure on the glass. Use gloves to prevent your oily fingers from touching the lens if you have to. If you’re not planning to use the projector, always place back the lens cap for safety’s sake.

To Summarize 

Having a dirty lens defeats the purpose of getting an HD or Ultra HD projector in the first place since everything looks hazy on a smudged or dusty lens. In fact, many instances where the image is blurred on-screen typically involve a sticky lens rather than any software or digital issues. Sometimes, if you neglect the stain for long enough, it could end up burned unto the lens, necessitating replacement of the lens or the projector itself! In such instances, you can try using lens tissue and cleaning fluid from the camera shop to salvage the lens. That should remove the glue-like substance and make the lens clear again. When all else fails, you might be forced to look for a replacement lens in case that’s cheaper than buying a new projector altogether.




Image Credit:

James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

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