How to Clean Lens Fungus: A Step-by-Step Guide

Fungus growth in vintage lenses is a common problem that many photographers encounter. It occurs due to trapped dust particles and moisture inside the lens, some of which carry fungal spores that grow in warm and moist environments. Leaving the fungus untreated can cause it to spread throughout the lens, covering the elements completely. However, cleaning lens fungus is possible, and in this post, we’ll show you exactly how.

Tools Required

To clean lens fungus, you’ll need a few essential tools, including:

– Hydrogen peroxide 3% solution

– Lens spanner wrench

– Rocket air blaster

– Rubber vacuum pads

– Lens sucker tool

– Microfiber cleaning cloths

– Vinyl gloves

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Begin by putting on latex gloves to keep everything clean. Examine the lens to see how to open it up. In some cases, a lens spanner wrench is essential, while in others, rubber vacuum pads do the trick.

2. Once you’ve opened the lens, arrange the elements in a row to remember their order and position inside the lens.

3. Place one of the elements inside a dish with the hydrogen peroxide solution so it can soak for about five minutes. Ensure it is entirely submerged in the solution.

4. Remove the element from the solution after five minutes and use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off. Clean the element several times until it’s entirely dry and free of any streaks or smudges.

5. Repeat the same process with the other elements.

6. Use an alcohol wipe to clean the inside of the lens barrel thoroughly. Use an air blaster tool to get rid of dust particles inside the barrel.

7. Put back the elements in the same order and position that you took them out, using a lens sucker tool to avoid touching them.

8. Examine the back of the lens and clean it using an alcohol wipe.

9. Unscrew the retaining ring holding the rear element in place using a lens spanner wrench. Use a rubber vacuum pad to remove the rear element from the lens.

10. Place the rear element in the hydrogen peroxide solution for five minutes, clean it with a microfiber cloth, and put it back in place using the lens sucker tool.

11. Screw the retaining ring back in place and ensure everything is tight.


Cleaning lens fungus is an intricate process that requires patience, attention to detail, and the right tools. By following these steps, you can clean your vintage lenses effectively and restore them to their former glory.