A spotting scope is a big investment and one that can last you the rest of your days if properly cared for. Unnecessary damage can occur if and when the scope is not properly cleaned and that damage can end up costing you hundreds of dollars or perhaps even needing to replace the scope altogether.
The scope can accumulate dirt, dust, and grime from almost any outdoor excursion, especially in windy, rainy or foggy conditions. While these pieces of birding equipment are designed, to some extent, to handle the outdoors, too much debris can cause an array of problems moving forward. Particles of dust or dirt can easily clog your focus wheel, obscured or scratched lenses can really obstruct your view and a mis-functioning tripod can be frustrating during set up.
Cleaning Spotting Scopes
Maintenance is cheaper than replacement and that is something you should live by with regards to your spotting scope. After every trip out into the field with your equipment, you should allow some time afterward to thoroughly clean the scope.
Using a can of compressed air, a small paintbrush or lens pen and a damp, clean cloth, you can easily and quickly clean your scope and leave it ready for its next use. Use the damp cloth to clean the body and barrel of the scope, the compressed air to clean tight crevices like focus wheels and lightly use the lens pen or paintbrush to gently clean the areas surrounding the lens.
The only material that should touch your lens should be a clean microfiber cloth, typically supplied by the manufacturer when the scope was purchased. If you no longer have one, you can easily find a replacement at most camera stores. Any time you are cleaning the lens, pay careful attention and be sure not to add any unneeded pressure or force which could unintentionally scratch the lens.
Spotting Scope Storage
After a thorough cleaning, you will want to ensure the spotting scope is properly stored and ready for use when the next opportunity presents itself. Place all lens covers back on the scope, place it in its appropriate case and ensure it is stored in a cool, dry area to prevent any damage from moisture.