How to Properly Clean and Maintain Rifle Scopes

You know as well as I do that your rifle scopes get dirty! Whether you’re out there hunting, target shooting, or even training for the military, your scope will go through the ringer. Dust, particles, mud, and more will cling to your scope like you hold onto your flashlight in the dark of night.

How to keep your rifle scope clean and healthy, you ask?

Well well, it may seem like an easy question but as you probably know (since you are here!) it is not! Why? Scopes are expensive and delicate and the last thing you want to do is scratch your lens or nick the body to cause permanent damage. You rely on the scope to see well and you definitely don’t want to mess around with that.

So if you’re using a rifle scope for the purpose of magnification, aiming precision, range estimation or simply enhanced safety, and you’re looking for top tier cleaning and maintenance instructions, you are in the right place!

First, we’ll list all of the big NO, NO’s. Which are hopefully self explanatory.


  • Use household glass cleaners
  • Use bristle brushes (yes, even soft bristles!)
  • Submerge your scope in water
  • Touch the lenses with your bare fingers
  • Store in a humid place
  • Use a toothpick to get dirt out of the crevices


Next, let’s discuss tips for your rifle scope which are not an absolute must but if used, will lengthen the life of your scope by a longshot (see what I did there? ;) ). The following tips are highly recommended.



  • Storing your scope in a padded case for maximum protection
  • Having your scope professionally serviced every few years to maximize wear
  • Check and tighten loose screws after each use to keep your scope in great shape
  • ReZero periodically to make sure the scope’s accuracy is still on its A game


Clear? Let’s move on to some practices you should always be using when cleaning and storing your scope. These pointers will guarantee a damage-free experience for your trusty rifle scope.



  • Use a microfiber cloth or lens tissue when cleaning to prevent scratches
  • Use a lens cleaning solution specifically designed for optics to circumvent adverse reactions to other, harsher chemicals
  • Use compressed air to get dirt out of tight spots without a nick or a scratch
  • Put the lens cap on when not in use to reduce exposure to elements
  • Make sure scope is dry before storing so that humidity doesn’t build up in the scope or its lens

Now that we got those out of the way, here is your step by step guide on how to properly, and gently, clean your rifle scope.

How to Properly Clean Your Rifle Scope - A Step By Step Guide

What you will need:
2 Microfiber cloths
Lens cleaning solutions for optics
Compressed air

Step 1:
Start by blowing off loose debris and dirt with compressed air.
Make sure to get in those tight spots - mud and debris love to hide in there!

(Remember not to use bristles, I know it might be hard to resist!)

Step 2:
Take a small amount of lens cleaning solution and apply to a microfiber cloth.

Step 3:
With the wet cloth, wipe the scope lens in a gentle and circular motion until it is clean.

(Keyword: GENTLE)

Step 4:
Use the same cloth to carefully wipe the body of the scope down.

Step 5:
Lastly, lightly wipe the scope down with the second dry microfiber cloth.
Make sure the scope is dry before storing.

And that just about wraps up the basic and very important tips to clean and maintain your rifle scope. You’ll thank us later!

Think there is something we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
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