How to Take Binoculars Apart for Expert Cleaning 

How to Take Binoculars Apart

Are you searching online for how to take binoculars apart safely? We have to warn you that taking your binoculars apart can result in damaging the lenses or poor lens alignment, so you shouldn’t attempt this unless you have experience.

Binoculars are made up of many small pieces, so as you take it apart you’ll want to label each piece and include which side each piece came from. This can aid in the assembly process.

A pair of binoculars consists of two optics that contain lenses and prisms. These are held together by a mounting assembly. This process can be complex, especially if you’re working on a more expensive pair. The following steps can guide you through this process, but again, if you don’t have any experience disassembling binoculars you may want to leave it to the pros.

The Disassembly Process

You’ll want to start by taking apart one scope at a time. Begin by gently turning the external guard ring. This will be the outermost ring that’s on the forward facing portion of the binoculars. The ring should be turned counterclockwise.  If you can’t turn the ring by hand you can try using a strap wrench.

Next, unscrew the retaining ring. This is the second ring and it’s found on the front of the objective housing. To do this you’ll need a spanner wrench.

The notched ring found behind the retaining ring is the objective ring. This ring manages forward lens motion. You can remove this ring using a straight slot screwdriver. Doing so will free the objective cell. The cell is about two inches long but can be as short as one inch. The length will all depend on the power of the binoculars.

Now, hold the cell in one hand while unscrewing the bell housing from the front of the binoculars. To do this you’ll need to use a strap wrench.

Once these steps are complete you can repeat this process on the other scope.

While this isn’t a complete disassembly, it’ll allow you to safely clean the prisms and lenses in addition to lubricating any of the moving parts. The eyepieces can unscrew from the scope housing using a counterclockwise motion. This will allow you to access the interior of the eyepiece lenses for a thorough cleaning, in addition to the back of the prisms. Further disassembly isn’t needed and can lead to a more complicated reassembly process.

Make sure you take your time during this process so you can avoid marring the lens glass or warping the rings.

When you remove the rings, always make sure you do so by gripping the body of the scope or you can end up misaligning the lenses or damaging the mounting assembly.

How to Clean Binocular Lenses

Now, that you know how to take binoculars apart, you should learn how to maintain them properly, to keep them in perfect working order. Before you begin the tedious cleaning process we recommend checking out the owner’s manual. Some contain information on the types of chemicals or products you need to avoid using which can end up damaging the binoculars, so it’s worth checking out.

Additionally, you’ll want to be extra careful if your binoculars have a special lens coating. Many of these coatings can be very easy to damage or scratch so you must be extra careful when you’re cleaning the lenses.

How to Clean Binocular Lenses

When you’re cleaning the lenses, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the less rubbing you do the better. Even the softest microfiber cloth can damage the surface. Because of this, it’s vitally important that you closely inspect the lenses before you clean them and remove any small particles.

To do, blow on the lenses to remove dust and debris. Some people even recommend using compressed air cleaners, but we don’t recommend this type of product considering some contain petroleum distillates, which can end up damaging any lens coating.

Next, depending on how dirty the lenses are, or if there’s still dirt on them, you may want to carefully rinse them using warm water or lightly brush them using a fine haired brush.

Never use eyeglass cleaner or household glass cleaner because both can damage any special coating.

Use a lint-free, soft cloth to gently rub the lenses. The best kind is specifically designed for binocular use.

Most new models of binoculars will come with their own cleaning cloth. However, these tend to vary in quality.

Cleaning Kits

If you prefer a more thorough cleaning you can purchase a cleaning kit. These kits come with special brushes, pens, and cloths designed to expertly clean prisms and lenses. They work well to remove debris, markings, and all types of oily substances from the lenses while ensuring they don’t become damaged during the process. Look for a kit that contains a dry cleaning compound that’s alcohol-free. This will ensure that the delicate coatings on the lenses will get cleaned properly and without damaging the surface. They’re also great for low maintenance surface cleaning because they can easily remove oils and marks from the surface of the binoculars.

A Warning Against Internal Cleaning for Special Models of Binoculars

If you notice dirt, dust, or moisture inside your binoculars, of course, you’ll want to take them apart to clean them, but should you? Keep in mind that some models, especially higher end pairs, are filled with nitrogen. Nitrogen sealed binoculars prevent the optics from fogging up and will be lost if you end up opening them.

If your binoculars are waterproof then you definitely don’t want to take them apart. Doing so will probably destroy any of the waterproof seals. It can make your binoculars unusable if you end up accidentally jarring the alignment of the prisms or lenses. If the inside of your binoculars needs to be cleaned and you have no idea how to go about it, we recommend contacting the manufacturer for more information. You can also check out a local camera repair shop. These places often work on binoculars as well and can offer a low rate for a routine cleaning.