Yesterday on a photography forum, I encountered someone inquiring if it was justified to use 99% isopropyl alcohol for wet-cleaning their camera sensor.
In this article, I will answer this question and provide you with some tips and product recommendations for wet cleaning your camera sensor.
What Is 99% Isopropyl Alcohol?
99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) stands out among the most purified forms of alcohol available, making it ideal for any application that needs a higher concentration than what’s usually provided. Its effectiveness and practicality make IPA an indispensable product in many industries.
Isopropyl alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves no residue behind, making it safe to use on a variety of surfaces such as plastic. Also, IPA is often mixed with deionized water (DI Water), ranging from 1% to 99%.
So, Is 99% Alcohol Safe To Use On Camera Sensors?
Although some people say that yes, you can use 99% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to wet clean your camera sensor, I would not recommend doing it.
Unfortunately, 99% isopropyl alcohol tends to draw in moisture and leave behind a residue. In addition, it has an exceptionally low surface tension which can cause tiny particles of the solution to separate off and settle on your camera sensor.
Having said this, there are a number of camera repair specialists, who recommend using a 50/50 mixture of 99% isopropyl alcohol and distilled water to wet clean camera sensors. I haven’t personally tested this formula, so I cannot guarantee that it will work well on a camera sensor.
In my opinion, it is not wise to experiment with untested chemical solutions on a camera sensor as there is a great risk of permanent damage. The cost to repair will be far greater than the potential benefit – if any at all!
Instead, I recommend using specifically designed products to safely and effectively clean your camera sensor without causing any damage.
Recommended Camera Sensor Cleaning Kits and Products
Cleaning your camera sensor is a delicate process, so here’s a collection of products specifically designed to help you accomplish the task without any complications.
UES FFR24 professional sensor cleaning kit includes 14 pcs 24mm sensor cleaning swabs for full-frame camera sensors and 15ml sensor cleaning liquid. The sensor cleaning liquid is made from ultrapure water that cleans sensors without leaving streaks or blemishes on a camera sensor. This camera cleaner is safe to use on both CCD and CMOS image sensors.
UES DSLR camera sensor cleaning kit consists of cleaning swabs, a cleaner, an air blower, a microfiber cloth, a lens cleaning pen, and lens paper. The non-alcoholic and ammonia-free camera sensor cleaner has a non-aggressive formula and is safe to use on delicate optical surfaces. This camera cleaning kit is available for both full-frame and APS-C camera sensors.
VSGO VS-SO3E is a professional full-frame camera sensor cleaning kit that effectively sweeps away invisible particles and smudges from your camera sensor. The cleaner formula is based on ultrapure water and cleans camera sensors without leaving streaks or blemishes and is safe to use on both CMOS and CCD sensors and other optical surfaces. This camera cleaning set comes with 12 x 25 mm full-frame camera sensor cleaning swabs and a 10ml sensor cleaning solution (alcohol-free).
So, is 99% alcohol safe to use on camera sensors? While 99% isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean electronic devices, I would not recommend it for wet cleaning your camera sensor due to the risk of permanent damage.
Instead, I recommend using specifically designed products such as:
- UES FFR24 Professional Sensor Cleaning Swab Kits for Full-Frame Sensors
- UES DSLR Camera Sensor and Lens Cleaning Kit
- VSGO VS-S03E Full Frame Camera Sensor Cleaning Kit
All of these products are designed specifically for wet cleaning camera sensors and can be used safely without causing any camera damage.
Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products to clean your camera sensor or any other electronic device. If you’re not sure about how to use them, it is best to seek professional advice from a camera repair specialist.
Related Article: Essential Camera Care: Cleaning, Maintenance, and Protection