In today’s world, projectors have made a permanent place in almost every office, school, and obviously in movie theaters. Because of their cheap price, simple layout, and easy-to-operate design, projectors have become the alternate for giant LED screens and television. Even in some households, cinephiles have made their own home theater using the latest projector available in the market.
Even though they look simple and operating them is a piece of cake, projectors have a very complex mechanism inside. There are myriad moving parts. But what’s most important is the lens.
The lens is the heart of the projector, which radiates the image onto the screen. A little stain or a bit of dirt on the lens can hamper the quality of the produced images.
Find out from this essential article on how to always keep your projector lens shiny and glossy.
1. Items/Materials For Cleaning A Projector Lens
Cleaning a projector lens is easier than you might think, but you cannot just use a regular glass polisher to bring back the projector lens’s old charm. You need to buy some things from the local supermarket or the hardware shop though much of this should be available in the same place that you purchased your projector. Fortunately, they are not going to put a huge dent in your pocket.
A. (ESSENTIAL) 1 Microfiber lens cloth
Do not use a cotton fiber cloth or paper towel. These will scratch your lens. Though the scratches may not be immediately apparent, you will cause many micro scratches that will negatively impact the projected image.
B. Can of compressed air, or a manual lens blower
C. Lens cleaning paper
D. Lens cleaning solution
Important: make sure that the cleanser you are using is specially made for the projector lens.
Cleansers with toxic chemicals like benzene, isopropyl alcohol can easily damage the coating of the lens. Speaking of isopropyl alcohol, it is widely known as mild rubbing alcohol, and it is widely present at many house kitchens. However, please do not use it! Your projector is very sensitive.
E. Lens cleaning brush (optional)
F. Tissue papers
2. Cleaning The Projector Lens From the Outside
A. Turn off your projector and take off the power cable if you have recently used the projector for watching a movie or doing a presentation.
B. Make sure that the glass of the lens has cooled down.
When projecting, the lens gets really hot. Cooling time can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. Only start cleaning when the temperature of the lens is similar to the room temperature or less.
C. Once the lens has cooled down, take the lens cleanser in your hand and gently put a few drops of it on the lens’s glass.
Always use less amount of the cleansing solution. Since your lens is small, it requires a tiny amount for cleaning. Using a lot can make it difficult for you to clean your lens later on.
D. Use the manual lens-blower/compressed air can to blow compressed air onto the glass of the lens. Do this gently because compressed air is heavier than normal air and can break the lens’s glass. Remember, the glass of the lens is not as strong as mirror glass!
E. Gently wipe the lens in a circular motion starting from the middle and ending towards the lens’s edge with the cloth until it looks quite clean.
However, if you use a lens brush, do the same you would with the cloth.
Things To Avoid While Cleaning The Lens
A. Do not use a t-shirt to polish your lens. Even if the T-shirt is soft, it will leave the lens with scratches.
B. Restrain yourself from using your breath to wipe the lens. Human breath has acidity, which can damage the coating of the lens.
C. Be aware of putting your fingers on the glass of the lens. Fingerprints don’t go away easily.
D. Using household cleaners are totally forbidden. These cleaners have very harmful chemicals and can destroy the light lens coating.
E. Remember that our skin has oil on it. If you accidentally touch the lens brush with your fingers, you will leave oil on the lens brush. This oil will later smudge the lens coating.
3. Cleaning a Projector Lens From The Inside
Dust particles are not only on the top of the lens. Over time, they have been colonizing the insides of your projector as well. And with too much dust, it will be less likely that your projector will work in 100% efficiency like it used to. Though this part is optional, we recommend that you at least have a glance.
A. Opening The Projector
IMPORTANT: Opening up the projector casing will likely void your warranty. Only do it if you are 100% confident that you will not cause damage to the interior of the projector.
To clean the inside of the projector, you obviously need to open it. How you open the projector varies from brand to brand. Every projector comes with an instruction manual. If you haven’t thrown it away, look for the instructions in that. If you have thrown it away, most instruction manuals can now be found as PDFs from the manufacturer’s website. Written below is a general guide:
1. Locate the button or latch to open the projector. If the projector does not have either of these, you will need a screwdriver to remove the screws and open the casing.
2. From a distance of 3-4 inches, blow air inside the projector using the manual lens blower. Blow in those corners where dust has accumulated a lot. You can also wipe the dirt using the microfiber lens cloth.
- Do not put moisture inside the projector.
- Do not touch the insides with sweaty fingers.
- Remember, dirt sticks more easily to places with moisture.
3. Clean the last remains of dirt from the projector.
4. Reassemble the projector.
5. Use the tissue papers for a final polish. Don’t rub the lens with the tissue paper as it can leave a scratch on it.
4. Solving A Scratched Lens
While it’s bad news if the lens has been scratched, that doesn’t mean that we cannot fix it. A scratch is not easy to fix, and we cannot bring back the lens to 100%, but we can always try our best.
A. Utilize Customer Service
Usually, manufacturers provide customer service in cases like this. So call your projector brand customer service to get help. But the help isn’t free.
B. The DIY Solution
1. Use a plastic polish kit from and local hardware shop. This will ease the problems caused by a scratch if the scratch is on the lens’s plastic coating.
2. Use a little bit of white toothpaste. This is proven to effectively remove scratches, though it is not a 100% guarantee to work. You can at least give it a try.
Cleaning a projector lens is no joke. You cannot treat it like your phone screen or your television. But if done with care and love, getting a well-polished lens is not as difficult as you’d think.
Take your time and follow our steps – the effort is certainly worth it.