Tips For Keeping Your Projection Lens Clean and Clear
Even in industrial settings, projection lenses are fragile and delicate pieces of equipment that need regular maintenance and careful care in order to perform at peak capacity. They not only need to be cared for but maintenance should be done properly in order to avoid causing permanent defects to the equipment.
Here, we’ll discuss the proper equipment to use for these cleanings, as well as how often they should be done, and what you should not do when performing this maintenance.
Important to note here is the need for preparation; if you’re finding this article mid-clean, you might want to start the process all over again. The optimal strategy here is to minimize contact with potentially harmful agents and not to unnecessarily expose the lens to elements that could damage it. To that end, you’ll want to plan your procedure from start to finish.
How Often Does a Projector Lens Need to be Cleaned?
As The Home Theater DIY points out, there is such a thing as too much cleaning. Every time you go to clean the lens you risk damaging it via scratches and scuffs, so the best thing to do is to clean it as little as possible.
A small amount of dust can be fine on a high-quality projector lens, depending on the context you’re using it in, and more importantly, you should be constantly utilizing your lens cap to prevent dust from getting on the lens in the first place. Your lens cap is your lifeline to a clean lens, so always keep it near the projector, and even go as far as to attach it if you feel you need to.
To answer the original question, the projector lens should be cleaned whenever it is dirty, whether that be you noticing a visual dip in the quality of video or just observing debris on the lens. Importantly, you should open the projector every three to four months in order to clean the air filters and prevent the unit from overheating.
The method for opening the projector varies upon the model, but all can easily be cleaned with compressed air that can be acquired at a local office supply store or even online.
With the projector open, you can clean the entirety of its insides to keep the entire unit cleaned and performing at maximum capacity. This helps keep all of the components clean as dust inside the unit can circulate around, even onto the lens.
The Do’s and Don'ts of Lens Cleaning
There are numerous pitfalls that can easily be stumbled into if you don’t take a careful, thoughtful approach to clean your lens. From Blues Explosion comes a handy list of Do’s and Don’ts that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes people can make that may damage or smudge their projection equipment.
Wipe the lens in a circular motion to even out cleaner and allow it to evaporate quickly
Ensure your cleaning products are designed for lenses
Hold your compressed air upright, at least seven inches away from the lens
Keep your brushes and cloths clean
Apply solution directly onto the lens
Use household cleaner, these can contain harmful chemicals like alcohol
Use a t-shirt or your breath to clean the lens, this can smudge it
Touch the bristles or cloth you will use to clean the lens, oil from your fingers can smudge the glass
Blues Explosion recommends acquiring the proper materials and tools for cleaning a lens, which is always deliberately designed for the products. Lens cleaning papers and solutions are available and offer far better results than typical household cleaners.
Additionally, they remind you to prepare the projector by removing its power cables several hours ahead of time to allow the entire unit to clean, especially the lens.
Why To Not Use Harsh Chemicals On Your Lens
The liquid cleaner you use for your lens is of the utmost importance, and it is recommended to find a specifically blended lens cleaner from a local camera shop. This means you should avoid typical household cleaners and alcohol, the latter of which can actually ignite on a heated lens. Chemical detergents like thinner, benzene, or wax can also have adverse effects on your optical lens, as pointed out by Projector Ninja.
The problem is that typical household cleaners are specifically designed to disinfect surfaces, as opposed to removing streaks and residue like you want to for your lens. These disinfecting agents can be harmful to the quality of the lens by introducing it to potent chemicals that can be potentially dangerous or simply damaging.
For your optical projector lenses, you should be taking the utmost care of them to maximize performance, longevity, and the value gained from them. You can, of course, use some of these materials to clean other parts of the projector, such as external buttons that may have numerous fingerprints on them.
Your beautiful projection lenses will never last if you don’t give them the proper care and maintenance they need in order to remain free of smudges, scratches, and dust. Using best practices in a cleaning routine involves knowing exactly when to clean it and how to keep harmful or degrading materials away from the glass, such as alcohol or the oil from your fingers. With a careful hand and thorough preparation, your lens will remain as good as when you got it for years to come.