Sensor Cleaning: Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a selection of frequently asked questions and their answers. If you have a question that is not in the list's, send us an E-Mail to info(at) You get as quickly as possible to respond, and can thus contribute to the list of FAQs to complete.

How often schould the sensor be cleaned?

If you are taking photos and you see dirty marks on the lighter areas, then it is time to clean your sensor. Depending on your use of the camera, you can work for months with a clean sensor. Under especially poor conditions (e.g. changing your lens during bad weather conditions without any protection) you may have to clean up within hours.

The instructions for use of my camera state that you should clean both the inside of the camera and the sensor with a blow-ball. Does GREEN CLEAN offer such blow-balls?

In the beginning some camera manufacturers unfortunately did not pay enough attention to the problem of sensor cleaning. The method of cleaning by blowing - using either a blow-ball or pressurised air – is always bad for your camera as any fine particles stay in the camera and will sooner or later find their way to the sensor. These particles must be permanently removed from the camera housing and from the low pass filter. To do this we offer our MINI VACUUM, which will suck away any dry particles.

Some time ago when I wanted to clean the sensor in my camera, I could not see any dirt, on the other hand I always have marks on my pictures. What can I do?

It is most important to do any cleaning under a direct and powerful light, shining a spot-light directly into the camera will show you even the smallest dirt particles. You must place the light at least 50 cm away and the size of the lamp should not be smaller than 5 cm. This will give you perfect lighting conditions to check the sensor. Using a pointed form of light will cause extreme reflection. It may also help if you use a magnifying glass!

I always follow the instructions until I see the sensor, then I use an aerosol to blow the dirt away. However, the photos I take soon show the same marks as before. What am I doing wrong?

Dusting is the wrong way of doing this. When you are cleaning your home, you do not just blow the dust from one corner to the other instead you use your vacuum cleaner! Your camera needs the same treatment. GREEN CLEAN MINI VACUUM will permanently remove any dirt particles for you. This small vacuum cleaner was specially developed for cleaning cameras and sensors and will safely remove any dry particles without contacting any of the surfaces,

For cleaning our sensors our club has bought a special magnifying glass with a light. The dirt is easily seen, but we have to remove the glass when we want to clean the sensor, and then of course we cannot see the dirt.

Unfortunately that is the exact problem with such magnifying glasses, and there is also always the danger that the glass itself will attract dust, which can then fall onto the sensor. See that you have a good, well-placed source of light (halogen spotlight) and then you will be able to spot even the smallest particle with your own eyes.

I have heard so many opinions on how to clean the sensor, that my question is if it is not best to send the camera to be serviced?

Of course nothing can be said against having your camera serviced. However, it can be quite expensive and you will not have your camera for one to two weeks. If you do the cleaning yourself, it will only take you a few minutes and you can use your camera to take perfect photos again. You will only have to do the cleaning when it is necessary. Please watch our demo-video on to see how it is done.

Many features on photography state that pure alcohol can be used to clean the sensor. I have purchased your GREEN CLEAN cleaning swabs, but I cannot find any mention of alcohol being used. Is it possible that the sensor can be really cleaned without alcoh

Alcohol is never suitable for cleaning the sensitive surface of the sensitive layer on the low-pass-filter. It also leaves grimy streaks, which like the dirt particles you wanted to remove at first will show up on the lighter areas of your photos. GREEN CLEAN has therefore developed its own alcohol-free solution for this special application. Each of our foam swabs “WET” has exactly the right amount of solution.

Last Sunday I finally decided to clean the really dirty sensor in my camera! However, the camera would not let me reach the sensor and stated that this was due to the battery not being fully charged. What has the battery got to do with cleaning the sensor

This is a very important form of protection. The movement of the mirror and the opening of the shutter is done electrically. (Keeping the shutter open for the duration of the cleaning process also needs continous power)If the power is suddenly cut off (e.g. because the battery is not charged enough) the shutter would try to close up which would be prevented by the DRY SWEEPER you are just using for cleaning. The extremely thin lamella could become bent and so ruin the whole shutter. In order to stop this happening, the camera will prevent sensor cleaning if the battery is not fully charged.

One of my friends advised me to clean both the sensor and the mirror with cotton-wool swabs and alcohol. However, the sensor has not really been cleaned properly and now I have streaks on the lighter areas of my photos. Can this be caused by the cotton-wo

Neither cotton-wool swabs nor alcohol are suitable for cleaning the sensor (correctly speaking the glass protector of the sensor) or the reflector. Cotton-wool swabs nearly always leave fine hair particles, which are sooner or later transported to the sensor and then cause more trouble than the original dirt particles. Alcohol dries far too quickly, as the “streaks” such as you mentioned will show. Use the GREEN CLEAN method to clean your camera; first dry-clean it with the MINI VACUUM and then with our “WET & DRY” system. For more information please visit our website under www.sensor-cleaning-system.info

At our local photo club people often talk about sensors and that they can become dirty. I have just bought a digital camera D 350, must I really clean it and if so why?

Even if you do not change the lens of your camera, sooner or later fine dust particles will gather in the camera itself, e.g. caused by abrasion to the shutter. In the end the mirror will catapult these particles to the glass protector of the sensor. This is when a cleaning operation is absolutely necessary! However, no need to worry, our GREEN CLEAN two-phase cleaning system will allow you to do this quickly and efficiently. For more information please visit our website under

All new digital reflex cameras are now fitted with a “dust shake“, so that dirt can no longer be collected on the sensor. However, one of my friends, has a new camera and showed me his photos and there were a few dark marks to be seen on the sky views he

It is true, that many new digital SLR cameras are fitted with a device for cleaning the sensor. Any dry particles are shaken off and then collected on a tiny strip of sticky tape. That is certainly a great advantage against the older cameras! However, many dust particles stick to the glass protector of the sensor – sometimes simply caused by changes of temperature and the resulting condensation. Such particles can only be removed by a “wet – dry method”. For more information please visit our website under

I visited your homepage and watched your demo-video – looks good! But are you really sure, that I cannot damage the expensive sensor when cleaning it?

No need to worry! You need not clean the sensor itself, but only the glass protector in front of it. If you use the GREEN CLEAN method, which consists firstly of permanently removing any dust particles with our MINI VAC and then treating the protector with our “WET & DRY” applicators you have no risk of causing any damage! In fact all you are doing is first of all “vacuum cleaning” and then “window cleaning” even if only on a very small scale on your camera!

I have used GREEN CLEAN products several times to clean the sensor in my camera – it has always been very successful! The last time I cleaned the camera I also cleaned the reflector at the same time. However, at the moment I can still see some dirt partic

No, unfortunately not! Compared with the glass protector of the sensor and the mirror, which are both made of glass, the disc in the view finder is made of extremely sensitive plastic – and its fine surface must never be touched or brought into contact with any form of liquid (service centres remove the disc and clean it with an ultrasonic tool).

Up to now I have had hardly any problems at all with my „Digital“. My father-in-law has now lent me an old zoom lens for me to use on safari. The result is that I have a lot of dark spots on many of the sky-views I took. Can this have been caused by chang

As long as you don’t change the lens during a sandstorm, hardly any dirt will enter your camera. In your special case, we think that the problem is within the zoom itself, which may have contained dirt particles probably caused by abrasion which were then “pumped” into your camera when using the zoom. We recommend that you use the GREEN CLEAN MINI VACUUM to remove as many as possible of the loose abrasive particles from the back of the lens. The tube will allow you to reach far into the mechanics.

I have had my camera for about three years and have always used the same lens. In spite of this, I have recently noticed dark marks on my photos. What am I doing wrong?

It is not your fault at all – it is just that your camera is beginning to show the first signs of old-age! The tiny rubber suspensions of the mirror tend to become porous over the years and tiny particles break off. At the same time all the mechanical parts, mainly the shutter, are subject to abrasion and these particles are moved around the camera case by the mirror. These are the particles which cause the dark marks on your photos.

Why does dirt on the sensor cause far more problems when travelling abroad? A short while ago I spent some time in Asia and I was faced with a great deal of problems! Luckily I had your MINI VACUUM as well as your “WET & DRY” systems with me. On some of t

We think that your problems were caused by condensation forming inside your camera due to continual changes from air-conditioned rooms to outside conditions. This causes the finest particles within the inside of the camera to stick to the glass protector of the sensor very quickly, which is not normally the case if the camera is not subjected to such extreme changes in temperature.

I don’t really like messing around with my camera, but the manager of our photo club advises me not to keep changing the lens but to buy a second basic camera. What do you think?

A second camera case is of course a very nice option! However, sooner or later you will still have to clean the glass protector of the sensor. Both cameras and lenses are normally subjected to wear, the finest particles break off from the shutter and the lamellas. Some of these particles are automatically transferred to the glass protector of the sensor – which means you are going to have to clean your camera! Please visit our website to see how easy cleaning can be, and perhaps instead of buying a second camera casing, you may choose to buy another super lens!

I don’t really understand what people are talking about, when they go on and on about cleaning your camera! My photo-shop has always got rid of any marks on my photos and my camera hasn’t been interfered with.

That is of course both a question of time and opinion! One thing is however certain, you can only remove and dark marks from your photos if they are on a larger scale and not images of detailed objects. Should you want to produce the finest photos ´- maybe for an exhibition etc. - no photo-shop will be able to help you re-produce your photos!

Why doesn’t your company supply brushes for cleaning of sensors? It is a lot easier than with the vacuum bottle!

With each and every brush that comes into contact with the surface of the glass sensor protector, there is always a risk that “very hard” particles (e.g. quartz dust) may “scratch” the surface. GREEN CLEAN therefore decided to use the “contact-free” vacuum system with our specially developed MINI Vacuum.

I am not really sure about using your moisturised swabs for cleaning the sensor of my camera. Wouldn’t it be better to use a type of paste, which can then be removed together with all the dirt and dust, seeing that the inside of the camera is not damp?

The use of dry paste such as described by you for cleaning is probably the most dangerous thing you can do! Sometimes the dried “cleansing film” sticks so well to the protector glass, that the glass splitters when you try to remove the film. That means that you have to have a new sensor, which is often more expensive than buying a new camera!

At the same time there is no need for you to worry about the liquid used in our WET foam swabs. The dosage is exactly suited to the required use in the camera and can therefore cause no damage what so ever.

I have been using reflex cameras for the last 40 years and have never had any problems with dirt contamination. At present I am considering changing over to a digital SLR camera and am always being told, that modern cameras are so sensitive to dust. Does

The quality of digital SLR cameras is by no means worse than that of the previous analogue designs. There is only one main difference – they do not have back covers. You can be assured that dirt is present in your camera, only when changing your film most of the dirt falls out. We are sure, that at some time in the past you have felt certain, that your photo-shop has scratched one of your most important films. These scratch marks were caused by the finest possible dust particles sticking to the velvety surface of your film. With DSLR cameras, these particles remain in the camera housing, until they are removed, for example as recommended by GREEN CLEAN by using our MINI VACUUM cleaner. For more information please visit our website under

I have come to terms with the fact that I have to remove the dirt from the sensor of my digital SLR camera and using your GREEN CLEAN MINI VACUUM and you “Wet & DRY system” this is very easily done! I would just like to know if there is anything I can do

Of course any form of prevention has definite advantages: 1) Remove the lens and occasionally use the MINI VACUUM to clean the area around the shank fitting and the reflector casing. 2) Do the same with your diverse lenses, the area around the shank fittings and the rear lens and reaching as far as possible the inner mechanical parts. 3) Take great care that the rear cover of the lens and the protective cover of the housing are also kept clean.




I have heard such a lot of (really) good things about GREEN CLEAN sensor cleaning systems, but I am afraid, that I am somewhat helpless in such matters and therefore wish to ask you, if I can cause any damage if I do anything wrong and what I should be re

The best thing would be for you to visit our website and watch our demo-video there. You can watch the same under . This will show you all the steps you have to follow and we are sure that you will say that the cleaning process is both easy and perfectly safe. In addition our instruction sheets will inform you step by step of the correct procedure.

I cannot stand the thought of having dirt contamination on my photos! Where does the dirt come from? I have twice sent my camera away to be serviced, the last time it took two weeks and I still had to spend a whole night trying to stamp out the dirt marks

Your camera and with it the sensor can become contaminated in a lot of ways. One way is when changing the lens, but this factor is often overrated. In many cases the obstinate particles are transported by the lens itself. It is therefore extremely important than whenever you change the lens you always make sure that the used lens is always protected by a “clean” back cover. One special danger is caused by the protector cap of the housing. Usually people tend to carry the cap around in their camera bags. This can cause fluff and dust to fall into the camera. Both the camera and the lens can be source of causing“dust” due to abrasion. The older the appliance, the more you have to consider, that renewed presence of dirt may be due to the lens itself not being really clean.




I have tried to clean the lens with the wet swabs, which is very successful, the only problem is, that the dry swabs are too small. Do you have any other solution?

Our solution is GREEN CLEAN lens cleaner. Each individually packed sachet contains a clean and lint-free wet and a dry cloth. For more information, please visit our website under >> Products.Optic Cleaning System

How often can the Wet & Dry swabs really be used? I don’t really like the idea of throwing them away after having only used them once.

As described in our instruction sheets, our Wet & Dry Applicators can only be used once. As soon as you open the sachet, the liquid contained in the swabs begins to evaporate. The only exception would be if you have several cameras and want to clean them one after the other all at the same time.

Why is it necessary even with modern cameras with dust shacks to use a mini vacuum cleaner before using a wet cleaning system?

The answer is simple – you can never be sure that there is not a loose and very obstinate dust particle on the glass protector of the sensor. This may have been transported to the sensor when you were opening the shutter in order to clean it.

Isn’t it very risky to try to clean such a sensitive part of the camera as the sensor yourself?

We must point out straight away that the sensor is always protected by a glass protector better known as a low-pass-filter. This is a small glass disc similar to a slide glass cover and this has to be cleaned. For this GREEN CLEAN offers both the best and most efficient methods.

I have had a GREEN CLEAN MINI VACUUM for some time and am now planning a longer trip abroad. It is no longer possible to take aerosols onto the plane so how can I clean my sensor while I am abroad?

We can also supply a traveller can with 150 ml for the MINI VACUUM. You are allowed to take cans of this size – as for example any cosmetics – in your luggage – only not in your hand-luggage!

In your instructions you state that when using the vacuum cleaner you should make sure that a distance of 1 – 2 mm to the sensor should always be kept. I have tried to do this a few times using a small mirror, but I was unable to keep the distance. What w


When cleaning the area of the sensor on your camera you can give your ring and middle fingers support on the shank fitting – which you cannot do on a mirror. The special PICK UP protector tube has a crank and a specially designed trumpet shaped end piece. Should you come into contact with the low-pass-filter when using this appliance, there will be no abrasion particles deposited on the glass protector of the sensor. It is very important that the tube is always used in a vertical position. Should you touch the glass protector with the tube and run it across the surface, the dust particles under the end of the tube will cause scratching. You can find more information on the correct handling in our demo-video under