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A Guide to Properly Cleaning Your Air Rifle Scope

Buying an air rifle scope may have been the best decision you’ve made when it comes to target practice. But keeping the scope clean is the second best decision you’ll make.

If the scope is dirty, you may find it hard to see through at twilight or dusk. You might also have trouble seeing in the midday if the lens has dust or dirt on it.

It’s important to keep the scope clean at all times so you can easily see your target. This ensures an accurate shot.

Plus, the cleaner the scope, the longer it will last.

Let’s discuss the three steps to cleaning your air rifle scope in great condition: brushing, wiping and deep cleaning.

Round One: Brushing

Use a soft-bristled brush to dust any dirt or particles that have adhered to the surface. You can use a brush designed for a camera.

The brush should be soft and completely free of oil. Oil can damage the surface of the scope and make it harder to keep clean.

Look for a brush that can retract into the case when not in use. A good brush that features a nice cap is also a great choice because it keeps the brush clean between uses.

If the brush gets wet, you should toss it out and get a replacement.

Another option is to use a pressurized can of air to clean the lens when the lens is dry.

Round Two: Wiping

Next, use a microfiber cloth to remove any fingerprints or smudges. The cloth must be soft and must not be made with or come into contact with any chemicals. These can damage the lens surface.

A microfiber cloth has tiny fibers that are much smaller than a human’s strand of hair.

A normal cloth has fibers that form a circle and will just smear oil over the lens. Triangular strands give the lens a deep clean, so look for this kind of cloth.

This kind of cloth can prevent scratches from tiny particles scraping across the lens surface. The microfiber cloth picks up the particles so they don’t scratch your lens.

Round Three: Deep Cleaning

For water stains that have dried on the lens or pollen, use an anti-fog cleaner. Place a few drops of the cleanser on a tissue and rub the lens, from inside to out.

Then use a clean, dry tissue to remove the excess liquid.

Repeat as needed.

Just remember, be gentle and don’t press too hard. Save your energy for when you’re out practicing.

You’ll want to make sure the cleanser is not a quick-dry mixture so that it doesn’t dry while you’re trying to clean the scope. Don’t use glass cleaner because it contains chemicals that can damage the lens.

Check the lens out briefly before you finish cleaning just to make sure the lens is spotless.

If there’s still dirt, smudges or particles, give it another try until you’re satisfied. It may take a little longer than what you’re expecting, but the payoff in shot accuracy will make it worth your while.

More Tips

Never ever use a rag, a wet paper towel or your t-shirt to clean your scope. And don’t clean it with a new toothbrush, either. Or a used one, for that matter.

Although it may seem harmless, using the wrong materials and products to clean your scope can do a poor job of cleaning it, at best.

At worst, it can leave scratches that affect the quality of your shot. It’s like rubbing filthy sandpaper over the lens. You may have to replace your scope, depending on the extent of the damage.

You should also avoid using your finger to clear away debris. That can cause dirt to stick to the surface, and it might scratch the lens, as well.

Keeping Your Cleaning Kit Safe

When you’re not cleaning your scope, be sure to store your cleaning kit somewhere clean and safe. You don’t want your rag to collect dust that will end up on the scope.

If the microfiber cloth gets dirty, check whether you can throw it in the washer and dry it. Just don’t use any bleach or fabric softener.

Cleaning Your Air Rifle

It is just as important to clean your rifle as it is to clean your scope.

A lot of people think you don’t need to clean an air rifle, but cleaning it is the best way to keep it in tip-top shape. It also helps the rifle last longer.

When your rifle is dirty and you try to clean your scope, your scope inevitably will get grime and dirt on it in the process.

It’s like what happens when jellied toast hits the floor. It always lands face down.

But think about it this way — if your toast was free of jelly, it would always land face up.

Bring a cloth with you if it’s rainy out to dry your gun right after you shoot. You should dry your gun thoroughly with a paper towel as soon as you get home.

Use a Lens Cover

Using a lens cover can also help you keep the scope clean when it’s not in use. And be sure to keep the lens cover on the scope while cleaning your air rifle.

Check Out the Terminals

If your scope is battery-powered, check the terminals for any rust or smudges. If you find any, you can clean the terminals with a pencil eraser.

Change the batteries as often as needed.


Now that you know the basics of keeping your air rifle and scope clean, you are wise to put these suggestions into practice.

That will help your air rifle stay in good condition and last as long as possible.

Then you won’t have to shell out more money to purchase another scope if your first one becomes scratched or ruined from poor cleaning habits.

If you don’t have an air rifle and you want more tips on deciding which type to purchase, check out this article.

Or, to learn what to look for when purchasing a scope for an air rifle, always remember to check out the scope reviews!

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