Professional Camera Sensor Cleaning (Step by Step)

This post is also available in: Español Bosanski

It has probably happened to you: you go out to take photos on a sunny day and capture many spectacular images, but when you get home and start reviewing the details, you see those annoying little black dots interrupting your portraits and landscapes.

Removing dust from the sensor

Sensor dirt, like any other camera fault, can happen. It is more common than one might think, especially when working in the field or when manipulating lenses on the streets.

Cleaning the sensor by a specialist makes sense, but it can be expensive. Plus, you must “hand over” your camera and will be without a work tool for up to several weeks if things don’t go well.

That’s why I’m going to show you all the options for cleaning the sensor of your cameras in the comfort of your home safe way.

Choosing proper location

Clean the sensor in a closed, safe place and, as far as possible, free of dust. Don’t do it on a patio or terrace. Better in the living room or study of your home.

Accessing sensor

Cleaning camera sensor

In a mirrorless camera (without mirrors), just remove the lens to expose the sensor as you see it in the image.
In a mirror camera (DSLR, DSLR), you must go to the menu, locate the option “Sensor cleaning,” and select “Clean manually.”
By activating this function, the camera discovers the sensor, and we can see it to clean it easily. Check it out and turn off the camera.
Always remember this rule for cleaning: camera off and sensor open.

Choosing Sensor Cleaner

Sensor cleaner

When you buy a sensor cleaning kit sensor cleaner comes with the liquid and long paddles with special cleaning tabs, similar to mini brushes. Keep in mind that these can be for APS-C sensors, i.e., for small sensors or for Full Frame sensors. Buy the one that suits the sensor/model of your camera.

Add Sensor cleaner to cleaning swab

Using sensor cleaner and cleaning swab

Carefully open the cleaning swab and add two drops of the liquid, one for each side of the mini brush. You can add more drops if you consider it necessary, but do it little by little because it should not be too wet.
The important thing is to be able to see that the liquid has completely covered the mini brush.

Cleaning sensor

Removing dust from the sensor

Once when your mini brush is ready, proceed to pass it over the sensor, from left to right, as if you were very delicately “painting” the surface of the sensor. Don’t push too hard; just what is necessary. Then flip the mini brush over and run it across the sensor surface again, this time from right to left. Ready! Your sensor will be clean.

Estimated Cost: 16.99 USD


  • 15ml sensor cleaner


  • Cleaning swab

Final words

Bear in mind: that the air pump or dust blower is the most common, fast, simple, and safe resource. Therefore, it is the first instance in which you should resort to cleaning the sensor. Only in the case of dirt that cannot come out with air pressure is it advisable to use the cleaner with the mini brush. This I hardly ever do; it is for exceptional cases. The less you touch the sensor, the better. In this guide, I used a regular Sensor cleaner kit from amazon.

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