Clean Fungus From Your Camera Lens

Yes, your lens can really grow fungus

Camera lens fungus is one of those problems that you may not have heard about much, but, depending on the climate in your location, it could be a problem with which you should familiarize yourself.

Lens fungus is caused by moisture trapped inside or on the surface of the camera, where, when combined with warmth, fungus can grow from the moisture. The fungus, as it grows, almost looks like a small spider web on the interior surface of the lens.

In the spring and early summer, when rainy conditions are common and there's a lot of moisture in the air, you may be more likely to find yourself facing the issue of camera lens fungus. Photographers in areas where humidity in the air is high and where temperatures are consistently warm should be especially on the look for the possibility of lens fungus. These tips should help you avoid camera lens fungus problems.

Hand holding camera lens/
Lucas Batistel / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Keep the Camera Dry: Obviously, the best way to avoid lens fungus is to prevent moisture from entering the camera. Sometimes, unfortunately, this is unavoidable, especially if you live in an area where humidity is common in the summertime. The best you can do is try to avoid using the camera on high humidity days and during wet weather. Stay out of the rain, even on a cool day, as moisture may enter the lens on this rainy, cool day, and then cause the formation of lens fungus when the temperatures warm up again.
  • Take Precautions to Dry a Wet Camera: If your camera does become wet, you're going to want to try to attempt to dry it immediately. Open the camera's compartments and seal it in a zipped plastic bag with a silica gel pack, for example, or with uncooked rice. If the camera has a lens that can detach from the camera body, remove the lens and seal it in its own plastic bag with a gel pack or rice.
  • Store the Camera in a Dry Location: If you must operate your camera in high humidity, make sure you store the camera later in a dry, cool location. It's best if the container allows light to enter, as most types of fungus prefer darkness. However, don't leave the lens and camera in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, which can damage the camera if it's exposed to excessive heat.
  • Attempt to Clean the Lens Fungus: Because the fungus tends to grow inside lenses and between glass elements, cleaning the lens yourself is extremely difficult without damaging the lens components. Sending the affected lens to a camera repair center for cleaning is a good idea. If you don't want to send in your camera to a repair center, try drying it completely using the tips above first, which may fix the problem.
  • Clean Fingerprints and Oils From the Camera: Fungus can be introduced to your camera and lens when you touch the lens surface and viewfinder. Try to avoid leaving fingerprints on these areas, and clean any fingerprints immediately with a clean, dry cloth. Although fungus typically grows on the inside of the lens or viewfinder, it may occasionally appear on the outside after you've touched an area.
  • Avoid Blowing on the Lens: Try to avoid blowing on the lens with your mouth to clear dust or breathing on the lens to purposefully fog the glass for cleaning purposes. The moisture in your breath could cause the fungus you're trying to avoid. Instead, use a blower brush to remove particles from the camera and a clean, dry cloth to clean the lens.
  • Clean the Fungus Immediately: Finally, if you do encounter a lens fungus problem on the exterior of the camera, the lens will need to be cleaned. A mixture of vinegar and water placed on a dry cloth can clean the fungus. 
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