Why You (Or Someone) Should Regularly Clean Your Security Cameras

Homeowners should regularly clean their security cameras.

Maintaining optimal image quality by preventing dirt and dust buildup is essential.

Cameras that are not cleaned on a regular basis can become less effective over time, making it more difficult to monitor your home, which is the exact reason you have security cameras.

By taking a few minutes to clean your cameras every month (or even every week), you can ensure that they will continue to provide you with the security and peace of mind you need.

Why Regular Cleaning Is So Important

  • Reliability
  • Visibility
  • Peace of mind

Keeping your security cameras clean is essential if you want them to work properly and maintain visibility. Dust and dirt can obscure the view through the lens, making it difficult to get a clear view. Regular cleaning keeps everyone in your home (or business) more comfortable, knowing that their safety is being taken seriously. Investing some time into cleaning your security cameras will help ensure visibility, and also provide peace of mind!

Dust And Water Spots Accumulate

Dust is a pesky intruder for most any electronic device, and security cameras are no exception.

Whenever dust accumulates on camera lenses, image quality declines noticeably.  If you’ve been in this area for any length of time, you know how much construction has been happening around The Woodlands and Conroe in the last several years.  That construction leads to our red Texas clay turning into dust particles and flying around wherever it wants to fly.  Some of that dust lands on (and unfortunately also IN) security cameras.

Without regular maintenance, images can become less sharp and have lower contrast views, causing colors to appear washed out or muted.  And night vision can become really poor.

Dust can even lead to total blackness in certain circumstances, resulting in lost footage that could be critical in

  • solving a crime
  • seeing if a package was delivered
  • keeping an eye on your kids or pets remotely
  • any other important footage you might want to capture.
poor night vision security camera dust in Conroe

This camera has significant red Texas clay dust and water spot build up – in front of the lens.  It basically makes the night vision on this camera pointless.

Camera lenses and protective covers can get dirty over time.  They need regular maintenance and cleaning in order to get the best images

spider web blocking security camera research forest texas

Spiders build webs in front of camera red lights (to catch their dinner!)

Red Lights And Heat From Security Cameras Naturally Attract Insects

Not only can dust, dirt, and debris affect the quality of images your cameras are capturing, but the heat and light given off by your cameras can attract small insects to the camera.

Small insects attract spiders.

Spiders build webs to trap those bugs and turn them into dinner (or lunch).

Of course, the webs themselves can obscure your camera view, but dust and debris can also settle on the spider’s webs in front of the camera’s view.

This dust, in turn, obscures the view further. And while this may not seem like a big deal initially (1 silk thread in front of a camera’s view with a little dust on it may not seem that significant), the problem can worsen if bugs are building homes around the camera.

Some small bugs may be able to get inside the camera housing.

When that happens, you risk damage to internal components, or risk having small holes created by the insects in the camera housing, which can then send dust into the lens and internal components.

That internal dust can cause more expensive damage and potentially require full camera replacement.

Regularly cleaning your cameras helps prevent these buggy scenarios, and ensures that you have reliable video surveillance that captures crisp, clear images.

Tips For How to Clean Your Security Cameras:

What’s the best way to keep your security cameras clean?

First, wipe down all surfaces using a soft lint-free microfiber cloth. A soft, dry cloth is an ideal way to dust off the lenses and housing of the camera. Wiping down the whole camera with a soft cloth can help keep the internal components free from dirt, debris, and other environmental contaminants. Clean the lens and glass parts first, and avoid using anything that may scratch the glass or cause damage.

Use a soft, dry cloth to dust off the cameras and housing.  Avoid using other harsh chemicals when cleaning.  Light mild soap and water are best. 

Use a DIFFERENT cloth for initial cleaning than you use for final cleaning.  Otherwise, you may get an abrasive particle on your cloth that can scratch your camera’s lens.

Second (and the order is important), if necessary, use a mild soap and water solution, to gently clean any stubborn dirt or debris that didn’t come clean with just the dry cloth. Do not soak your camera. Your cleaning solution should be applied to your cloth (not poured on the camera), and your cloth should be mildly damp, but not wet. Importantly, do not use harsh chemicals, as this may damage sensitive components like lens coatings, lenses, or circuitry. The lenses of security cameras can be easily damaged by bleach or Windex, so be sure to avoid using these and other harsh chemicals when cleaning. You can try using alternative cleaners that do not contain bleach or harsh chemicals, but if you are going to use something other than mild soap and water, be sure to check the manual provided with your camera, before deciding on a type of cleaner.

Third, use a separate (key word… separate – not the same cloth… but a different microfiber cloth) to dry any camera components that may be wet or may have water spots left on the camera after wiping the lenses clean. (Water spots can also obscure the view, and it’s important to do this step, especially if your camera is somewhere high up and hard to reach. It’s super annoying to discover water spots if you’ve just cleaned the camera and it takes a 12ft ladder to reach it.)

Finally, don’t forget to check vents, wiring coming into the camera, and any gaskets or open points on the camera for debris or foreign materials. (We’ve seen birds build nests right on top of cameras, for example). These are common culprits for reducing video quality in both indoor and outdoor camera systems.

For extra credit, regular disassembly and full maintenance of your security cameras will help to extend their lifespan and keep them working properly.

As a general statement, it’s a good idea every 6-12 months to disassemble cameras for proper cleaning and lubrication of mechanical moving parts. While you might not have the skills or desire for this kind of regular maintenance, full servicing can extend camera life and keep your cameras operating at peak performance. Most people won’t do this, but we mention it here because for those with the skills, this really can prolong camera life.

That said, camera technology is advancing rapidly, and you might instead just choose to replace your cameras every few years.

Whether or not you disassemble regularly, monthly cleaning of the camera and the area around the camera will also help significantly.

dirty security camera dome

This reduced visibility is caused by the dome that protects the lens. 

The dome can get dirty over time.  When the red lights kick on for night vision, the red lights reflect off of the dirt and prevent clear viewing.

This person who made this YouTube video has some great tips for security camera cleaning, but he doesn’t use a separate cloth when cleaning the camera after removing the dome… and it worries us greatly for the reasons mentioned in this article.  

It’s so easy to permanently scratch a lens in the process of cleaning, once the camera dome is removed.  So… be sure to use a different cloth.  If you have any concerns or questions, we recommend hiring a professional who knows how to clean your cameras.

In Conclusion

It’s important to keep your security cameras clean so that they can continue to work properly and provide you with clear images.

Dust and dirt can accumulate on the lenses of your cameras, which can reduce their clarity and image quality.

In addition, dirty security cameras can also attract insects, which can then get inside the camera and cause damage.

Avoiding exaggerated wear and tear from things like dust, dirt, bugs, moisture, and temperature changes is possible with regular cleaning of your security cameras.  Putting regular camera cleaning on your calendar will help to extend the lifespan of our outdoor electronics and keep them working properly – bringing you crisp, clear images every time.

If you need help keeping your security cameras clean, from North Houston to North Conroe, and from Katy to Old Town Spring, we do offer regular security camera cleaning as part of a suite of services for our customers.

– One final demonstration –
Dirty Camera Lens Vs. Clean Camera Lens

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