IF IT AIN’T BROKEN, DON’T FIX IT.
Welcome to a guide on how to remove scratches on camera lenses. First off, please take note that a few faint minor scratches will not affect the optical quality too much. You don’t need to attempt any “repairs” unless you have a pretty banged up lens. As the wise old saying goes – If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
Also, this a collection of “Internet remedies” that I have found all over the place. No guarantees that they will 100% work, do these at your own risk.
AN HONEST DISCLOSURE
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THE LENS COATING
Before we start, you need to understand that most modern lenses are not simple “pieces of glass”. They have a layer of lens coating that will enhance the optical quality, and protect the glass from damage. When handled incorrectly, you will remove the lens coating altogether and damage the lens even more.
So assess the damage yourself, and determine if it is worth the risk of “self-repair”; Sending the lens back to the service center is still the safest way to repair a scratched lens.
METHOD 1) USING RUBBING ALCOHOL
You can get clinical grade rubbing alcohol from any pharmacy. Damp (not wet) a piece of microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol, and try to remove the scratch with it. Personally, I doubt this method will work.
Scratches are physical damages and the rubbing alcohol probably does nothing to it… Maybe except sanitize and kill germs. One thing I do know, is that alcohol has a bad reputation for causing damages to the lens coating. Use this method at your own discretion.
METHOD 2) USING TOOTHPASTE
Toothpaste is known to be slightly abrasive, and the “go to” method for removing scratches on glasses, smartphones, and watches. Personally, I have tried this on my eyeglasses, and it worked pretty well. Not too sure about camera lenses, although my gut feeling tells me that it will remove scratches at the cost of a layer of lens coating.
METHOD 3) USING VASELINE
Vaseline (or any petroleum based product) is an old-school method we techies use to repair scratched laptop screens. I must say that it works wonders for plastic surfaces, and I have repaired countless monitors and smartphone cameras with Vaseline. Not sure about how it will react to glass lenses though.
METHOD 4) GLASS COATING POLISH
There are plenty of car windscreen polishing products out there, why not try it on your lens? I actually heard this method from a certain photography forum, and that someone is crazy enough to polish an old camera lens already stripped of all lens coating – It worked miracles, restored the old lens to its former glory, and gave it a new layer of “lens coating”.
Not sure if that is credible, but if you want to do it, try it on a cheap old lens first. Also, don’t just use any “normal” polish, use the “advanced formula” polish with nano glass coating protection.
METHOD 5) ERASER
This is another old school method that we use to remove scratches on tablets and smartphones. Never tried it on lenses… But guessing that it will work for minor scratches.
METHOD 6) USING BANANA AND BAKING SODA!?
Welcome to the strange side of the Internet. This is the weirdest fix that I have ever seen, and I have absolutely no idea how effective this will be. Add some baking soda to a piece of banana, and use it to “wipe” the scratches off. Remember to clean the lens later and not eat the banana… But maybe it will be fun to bake it.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
All right, we have come to the end of this lens scratch removal guide, and I hope it has been useful to you guys. So far, I am proud to say that I have never scratched a lens before, because I permanently attach a UV filter to all my lenses. Prevention is better than cure. If you have not already done so, go spend a few bucks on a UV filter. Save yourself from the pain.
Have you tried any of these methods? Did it work? Share your experience and let us know in the comments section below.