When you purchased your high-quality rifle scope, in exchange for its ability to significantly improve your shooting, you committed to keeping it in superb condition. Fortunately, it’s not hard to keep your promise, as cleaning your scope is reasonably straightforward. Here’s how to clean a rifle scope in a way that guarantees years of top-notch performance.

Proper Maintenance Is a Must

Wouldn’t rifle use be a whole lot simpler if you didn’t need to spend any time performing routine maintenance? Unfortunately, a poorly maintained rifle is a dangerous and ineffective tool. No one wants to depend on an unreliable firearm. Proper gun cleaning will go a long way to keep your rifle in tip-top shape. Adequate rifle cleaning will reward you with a high performing firearm that will be by your side for years to come.

While cleaning your gun is a given, it’s also important you give careful attention to your scope. Today’s scope technology is the result of highly sophisticated optical engineering. There’s no doubt your investment in a scope makes you a more effective hunter.

Improper Rifle Scope Cleaning

Unfortunately, improper scope cleaning does just as much damage as not cleaning it. Incorrect cleaning can ruin your rifle scope much faster than any amount of dirt and dust on the lens. Here are some things that have no place near your rifle scope:

  • Windex and other ammonia-based cleaners
  • Human saliva
  • Rough fabrics

In general, as Patriotic Hunter reminds us, it’s helpful to think of your rifle scope as the advanced optical system that it is. Treat it with the care you’d use on the lens of an expensive camera.

How to Clean a Rifle Scope

With modern rifle optics, you’ll find that a little bit of regular cleaning is all you need to do to ensure your scope is ready to perform in the field for years into the future. The entire cleaning process is as follows:

Dusting– Most of the cleaning you’ll need to worry about is covered by a gentle dusting.. Be very careful during this step. It’s too easy to scratch the surface of the glass and severely diminish the ability of your rifle scope to perform at a high level. Experts recommend you purchase a lens pen or lens brush to dust your rifle scope. Gently use the brush to sweep the dust and debris away from the lens. OpticsReviewer gives an excellent overview of lens pens here. The article, from 2012, is slightly out of date, but it’s well worth a read if you’re new to the lens pen world.

Polishing– Shining your scope is just as easy as shining a pair of glasses. Many scope owners use a lens pen to perform the polishing while others trust a microfiber cloth to do the job. Whichever item you choose will work well if you use a gentle circular motion.

Liquid Cleaners– You can usually skip this step unless your lens has a sticky substance on it that doesn’t want to come off. If necessary, there are plenty of outstanding lens cleaners and anti-fog solutions on the market. Make sure you don’t use any household cleaners that contain detergent or ammonia – there’s a strong chance you’ll end up with a severely damaged lens.

It’s also vital to avoid spraying the cleaner directly onto the lens. A much safer option to spray the cleaner onto a Q-tip and then use the Q-tip to clean the glass.

Scratches Might Not Be Fatal


There are few things as disheartening to a hunter than a scratched-up scope lens. Severe scratches compromise performance to the point that the rifle scope is unusable. The good news is that it might be possible to salvage a scratched lens. Try taking your rifle scope to a professional gun shop before you write it off as a total disaster. Many excellent shops have an optics expert on hand to fix cracked and scratched scopes at a reasonable price.

Scope Covers Offer Invaluable Protection


Did you know that using a scope cover is an excellent way to protect your rifle scope from a significant amount of dirt and debris? A decent scope cover offers protection from the weather and natural elements that you’ll confront out in the field. It’s the surest way to minimize the time and effort you’ll need to expend cleaning and repairing your scope.

ScopeShield is proud to lead the field with our extensive line of scope covers. Along with our best-in-class lens protection, we’ve designed our scope covers to protect your entire scope completely. Made of neoprene, the total coverage adds a cushion of security that will help to cut down on the amount of maintenance work your rifle scope requires.

Do you remember your excitement the first time you looked through a rifle scope and saw your target far off in the distance? As a hunter, you know the ability to visually track your prey from a distance makes you a more successful hunter. The best way to make sure you’re ready for the challenges you’ll face on your next hunting trip is to carry our “How to Clean a Rifle Scope” suggestions as part of your regular gun maintenance program.

ScopeShield is your go-to online destination for the most trustworthy scope covers in the industry. Contact our customer service team for friendly and professional assistance with all your scope protection needs.

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