How to Clean a Telescope

Graphic of refractor lens being cleaned with the text how to clean a telescope being depicted

Telescopes are notoriously susceptible to dirt, dust and smudges and can hinder its ability to produce crisp images. So regularly cleaning and maintaining a telescope is of utmost importance as it will facilitate the longevity of the optics. This article will cover the basics on how to clean a telescope.

Firstly, avoid touching the lenses or mirrors. Take off any jewelry and wear anti-static gloves to avoid scratches and smudging. You will need the following items to clean your telescope with: lens cleaning tissues, microfiber cloth, cotton buds, dust blower and lens cleaning solution. The Saxon Optical Lens Cleaning Kit includes these items and more.

Graphic of Saxon optical lens cleaning kit. Greta for cleaning telescope mirrors and lenses.

Cleaning telescope mirrors

Step 1. Prepare a clean bowl or kitchen sink with a microfiber towel layering the bottom.

Step 2. Combine lukewarm water and a little dishwashing detergent

Graphic of bowl lined with a microfiber towel with a mixture of water and detergent.

Step 3. Dust mirror to remove any surface debris then submerge the mirror in water and clean with sterile cotton ball. Make sure not to touch the mirror with your fingers, instead, hold the sides and back firmly.

graphic of submerging reflector mirror into water and detergent solution and cleaning with cotton swab.
Graphic explaining not to use any spray to clean mirror

Step 4. Use de-mineralised or distilled water to rinse mirror

Step 5. Place the mirror on a separate towel with the mirror facing up and leave out to air dry.

Cleaning telescope lenses

Step 1. Use air-blower to blow away dust particles. Do not use air canister or breath due to moisture

Step 2. Ensure all dust is clear of the lens

Step 3. Dampen cleaning tissue with cleaning solution and wipe lens in a circular motion. Be gentle. Repeat this process a few times with new tissues till lens is clear of smudges of grime.

Step 4. Make sure to avoid dabbing too much liquid around the edges of the lens. This can cause the liquid to get into the internal components of the lens.

Equipment Maintenance

Eyepiece and tripod

When cleaning your eyepieces or filters, use a blower brush or bulb to blow dust off. You can also use a soft camel hair brush to remove and dirt. Then follow the same process as above to clean the optics.

Graphic of air blower being used to clean dust of eyepiece

Tripod and Mount

Mounts need to be kept free of dust and grime, so, wipe down your mounts with a microfiber cloth and use a lithium or silicon-based grease to lubricate the grooves and gears, so that it moves smoothly. Mounts may also need to be tuned from time to time; therefore, it is recommended that you contact a telescope service technician who can perform the task.

As for the tripod, use a rust prevention spray to protect it from rust and corrosion, as well as, using WD-40 on the hinges of the tripod to ensure the legs can be folded out without too much resistance. Remember to makes sure you keep all the Allen keys and other tools organised and stored in a safe place


Following these steps on how to clean a telescope will guarantee the longevity of the optics. Follow each step carefully and avoid touching the optics.

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