Cleaning Your Security Camera and Lens

Cleaning Your Security Camera and Lens

In today's world, no one can deny the importance of CCTV cameras used for various purposes. In Australia, for example, the awareness of overall safety, preventing shoplifting and theft, or preventing fraud is growing at a rapid pace. And everywhere this little device is playing the most effective role. Below, we've covered a few security concerns as well as cleaning and maintenance tips for security cameras.

Security— an Issue

Just as swipe card access control systems provide security to your office by digitally marking everyone that logs in or out, your CCTV camera gets you a visual document of everything that comes within its range of vicinity. Both have their individual utility: the swipe card access control system is an inexpensive and easy security system for organizations where a large number of people access the same area and the security camera captures footage of a specific area of your home and property and keeps a digital video recorder that you can view from anywhere using an internet connection.

Users frequently observe the reduced performance of their security cameras but pay little attention just because they think it makes little difference whether you see a crystal clear view or something ‘just detectable’. The ‘difference’ becomes suddenly evident when it comes to the identification of the face or any small marks on the body of the suspected person.

Cleaning Vs Maintaining

Regular maintenance reduces the cost and labor of cleaning. Let’s first see how you can maintain your security camera:

Spider Webs

This is, probably, the most frequent nuisance that you experience with your camera. Spiders find cameras installed in an undisturbed, lurking position as a safe place to weave their homes. There is another reason. Bugs are attracted by the IR lights emitted from the camera and spiders know how best to trap them right in front of the lens.

A weekly brooming is enough, and when you do it regularly the spiders realize that it is not just as safe a place as they had assumed. Some kinds of insect repellents can do the same work, but they contain diethyl meta toluamide (DEET) that is likely to degrade your camera lens.

Another easy way to get rid of your weekly cleanup is to install dome cameras. Spiders will have little grab points to build their webs.

Moving Spots on Cameras

Though this does not directly involve reducing the cleaning of the lens, it bothers. In foggy weather water droplets suspended in the air reflect the infrared and ultimately cause it to appear that some spots were moving.

Cable Corrosion 

When the camera and its corresponding cables are exposed to water and moist weather corrosion occurs gradually reducing camera image quality, even sudden loss of video feed.

Regular cleaning of the cables can prevent corrosion.

Cleaning the Camera and Its Lens

First, let’s talk about some that don't.

  • ‘Take a piece of cloth and rub it hard’ is the easiest way as well as the worst one.
  • Breathing out on the lens and using a piece of your classic t-shirt is another very popular option. Though it does not do any potential harm to your lens it cannot clean fingerprints, or oil on the surface either.
  • So many people take up tissue papers, paper towels, or kleenex as the rumor goes, cleans well. The truth is these are entirely abrasive or, at least, softly harsh. Moreover, they tend to leave microscopic stuff all over the surface of the lens.
  • Others tend to clean too often hoping for something better but making it even worse. You don’t need to clean your security camera more than once a week. And if it is installed in a dry and safe place the frequency should be even less.

All these methods are just going to ruin your CCTV camera glass.

Now, let’s discuss the whole process of cleaning systematically:

The Equipment

Only three things are enough:

A clean microfiber cloth

There are two basic textures of microfiber cloth. One type has a very tight weave and feels silky. They stand up well to abuse, you can wash them, and they will not fall apart, but do not absorb liquids like lens sprays very well and smear the liquid all over.

A microfiber cloth is far better. They are more of a cottony soft towel, the absorbing quality of these clothes is good and they do a great job of cleaning as well.

A can of compressed air

This is needed for the initial cleaning, and dust off the outer, non-sticky layer of dust and dry particles. It entirely depends on where your camera is installed. If you’re living in places like Coober Pedy and Lyndhurst in South Australia (the driest known place in the country) you’re likely to start with the blower.

Lens cleaning solution

Never try to clean a lens with a dry piece of cloth. You require some kind of cleaning liquid, more specifically, an optical lens cleaner. All these solutions contain isopropyl alcohol as the main substance. So you can very well use isopropyl alcohol directly. It does a great job of cleaning fingerprints, oil, and other sticky stuff from the lens glass easily.

Remember not to spray on the lens. Instead, you spray on the piece of cloth.

There is another handy option that has recently become popular on the Australian market: the lens cleaning towelette— a towelette soaked with optical cleaner.

Probably, the best among the lens cleaners is the RoR— residual Oil Remover. It cleans more deeply where regular solutions don’t reach, and gives back the clarity and brightness of a brand-new lens until they don’t have scratches on them.

The Process

Though cleaning professionals do it better, there is no reason that you cannot do it yourself.

Step 1

Switch off the CCTV camera unit. This is important because if you start cleaning it while it is on, the moving mechanism of the camera could be damaged. 

Step 2

Dust the camera using the can of compressed air. Remember, if you start cleaning the lens without dusting any mole or dust particle, it could turn out to be abrasive even if you use a liquid solution.

Don’t use your ‘mouth blower’ because this will spray some moisture from your mouth (your breath contains 40%-90% moisture) and cause some dry dust to get sticky.

Step 3

Spray some cleaning solution on your microfiber cloth (and not on the lens). It needs to be moist but not drenched.

Step 4

Use the microfiber cloth on the lens and start cleaning with gentle pressure. Pressing hard could cause some sticky and hard particles (however microscopic they are) to act abrasively.

Final Thoughts

The entire maintenance and cleaning process is not at all very difficult or costly. All you need to do is maintain consistency. That’s the key point you need to follow to have a smart security camera.