by Marko Lewis

If you want to ensure that your spotting scope is in working order, simply cleaning the lens from time to time will do the trick. However, if you want your spotting scope to retain its reliability and quality, you’ll need to put some extra effort into it.

In this article we’re going to talk about how to keep proper maintenance of your spotting scope, so without any further ado, let’s get straight to it.

Routine check-ups

Whenever you are using your spotting scope, there’s a chance that something didn’t ‘click’ right as it should have. Placing it on a rocky surface might result in tiny cracks appearing here and there, that time you dropped it and thought it wasn’t a big deal might’ve been actually. Performing regular routine check-ups is the easiest way to find out if anything’s gone awry.

You should inspect each component separately, both the interior and the exterior of your scope. If there’s even the slightest damage on your spotting scope, you should fix it before you even consider using it again (so as to prevent smaller damages ‘evolving’ into major ones).

Disassembling your scope

In most cases you will be able to tell if a part of your scope isn’t functioning properly. However, routine check-ups sometimes give off the impression that everything’s alright while in fact, it isn’t.

The best way to make sure every little piece of your scope is functioning in the way it should be is to disassemble it before you get to the cleaning part. Take off the screws (and don’t forget to count them so you can re-assemble the scope later), remove the tube from its axis and use the following tools to help make the disassembly process easier:

  1. Cotton swabs are pretty handy for dusty surfaces
  2. Soap or grease if some of the screws are screwed in too tightly
  3. Tongs go a long way for the tiniest screws
  4. Magnetic screwdriver for the smallest screws

Cleaning the lens

A spotting scope lens is rather delicate. The special type of glass used in spotting scopes might or might not be durable, but the fastest way to damage it even if it’s robust as can be is by using hard brushes.

Using soft brushes and dry cleaning cloths will make a big difference. Furthermore, the method by which you clean the lens will have a huge impact on whether you’ll damage it or not. If you start from the very center and spiralling towards the edges, you’re doing a good job.

Lastly, you should avoid applying too much pressure when you’re cleaning, even if there are some persistent stains on it. Exercise patience if you want to avoid damaging, or even breaking your spotting scope lens.

Cleaning the exterior surface

Cleaning the lens was the easy part. Cleaning the exterior surface is a bit trickier. There are so many small bits and pieces on your spotting scope, all of which are quite flimsy.

You will be able to spot lumps of debris, mud, and dirty, so you shouldn’t have any problems cleaning them with a piece of cloth. It’s highly recommended that you clean both interior and exterior of your scope before each use, but more importantly, make sure to clean it afterwards as well.

If you’ve been using a piece of cloth to clean the exterior of your spotting scope without much success, it’s most likely that heavier debris got stuck onto it. Again, if you want to avoid doing damage to your scope, you shouldn’t apply too much pressure, so how should you deal with the persistent debris then?

There are various specialized cleaning products which were specifically made and intended for spotting scopes. Most of these ‘special’ cleaning tools are in liquid form, so they will be able to dissolve the debris and dirt that’s stuck on the exterior of your scope.

Proper way to storage your spotting scope

Regardless how good of a job you did with disassembling, re-assembling and cleaning of your spotting scope, it would all go to waste if you don’t store it properly.

The spotting scope lens should be covered with a special type of cover (not too big, not too small), all the screws should be put back in place, and that’s about it as far as the mechanical parts are in question.

As for the ‘where should you store your spotting scope’, it mainly depends on your personal options. Some people don’t have a shed, others live in cramped apartments, so the general rule of the thumb would be to keep it in an area that’s dry and humid-free. Obviously, moisture tends to be the biggest enemy of a lens, but it could also potentially do damage to the exterior, screws, and such.