Whether you’re a hunter, a hiker, or you just enjoy watching the behaviors of animals in their natural habitats, binoculars are an essential piece of equipment. In order to ensure they’re functioning properly, care and cleaning is essential. Maintenance and cleaning preserves the integrity of your binocular’s lenses so that they can continue to deliver clear, crisp, and reliable views for years to come.
Each time you pull out your binoculars, whether it’s in the field, on a trail, or in your backyard, they are exposed to dirt and debris, as well as oil from your hands, perspiration, moisture, and various other contaminants. Just like the reflections you see in your mirror or the images you see through your windows can become distorted when they’re dirty or damp, the images that you’ll see through the lenses of your binoculars will also become distorted when they’re coated in dirt and moisture. Furthermore, if sand, dust, and other particles are left on the lenses, scratches can develop. Scratches fracture light, blurring and further distorting the images you see through your binoculars.
How to Care for your Binoculars
While you should refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific care and cleaning instructions for your particular brand, here’s a look at four basic tips that will help to keep binoculars of all makes and models in great condition.
1. Remove Debris
As mentioned, each time you use your binoculars, they are exposed to all types of dirt and debris. After each use and before storing them, it’s important to remove as much dirt and debris as possible. To do so, you’ll need the following supplies:
- A small air blower (like you would use to clean out a computer’s keyboard)
- A spray bottle
- Distilled water
- Gentle cleaning solution
- Clean microfiber cloths
When you’ve finished using your binoculars, use the air blower to blow off small particles of dirt and dust from the lenses. Use the lowest setting and hold the blower away from the lenses to avoid applying too much pressure, which can damage the optics. Fill the spray bottle with a mixture of distilled water and gentle cleaning solution.
Spray down the lenses and use the microfiber cloths to wipe them down to remove any grease, fingerprints, and perspiration from the lenses. Use care to avoid completely saturating the binoculars. Make sure that they’re completely dry before storing.
2. Properly Store Your Binoculars
You should always store your binoculars in a padded case when they aren’t in use. For additional protection, you can wrap a clean cloth around them. Make sure that the opening of the case is fully closed once your binoculars are placed inside.
3. Avoid Extreme Temperatures and Direct Sunlight
Binoculars should be stored in a temperate environment. Keep them away from intense heat and frigid temperatures. For example, don’t store them in your trunk or in an uninsulated basement or attic space. You should also keep them out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
4. Use a Strap
You should always use a binocular strap. Make sure that the strap is properly secured and placed around your neck before using. This will help you avoid dropping them and causing irreparable damage.
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