Visible Dust Sensor Cleaning Swabs has become my first choice sensor cleaning supply
They get the job done quickly and reliably.
From Visible Dust regarding the Ultra MXD-100 (Fabric) Sensor Cleaning Swab specifically:
“These swabs, with their unique fabric folding system, are specially tailored for cleaning your delicate sensor without leaving streaks, pooling or abrasions. 12 per pack.
Compatible with: VDust Plus™, Sensor Clean™ and Smear Away™ [Visible Dust cleaning solutions]
The patented mini-channel, with contour, provides an even saturation of the paddles surface while preventing pooling and vertical flow at the edge. This reduces streaks associated with traditional flat surface paddles. The mini-channels also provide the extra reservoir to absorb the excessive liquid and prolonging the moisture life of the swab during the cleaning process.”
Prior to using a Visible Dust Sensor Cleaning Swabs, I always use a Giottos Rocket Air Blower to remove as much dust as possible.
Disclaimer: I have not seen Visible Dust or anyone else recommend the swabbing method I am going to describe – so you are on your own if you try this.
What is working great for me for normal light cleaning (no oil or other stuck on dirt), is a dry sensor cleaning swab.
Adding a cleaning solution to the Visible Dust Sensor Cleaning Swabs is what is recommended, but I find it very hard to get all of the lint off of the sensor when using the wet method.
If there is serious dirt on the sensor, I definitely use the wet method –
which involves adding a very small amount of the proper cleaning solution to the tip of the sensor cleaning swab and proceeding as with the dry method described here.
In a relatively dust-free environment, I hold the camera up with the lens mount facing downward so that gravity will cause any dust to naturally fall out.
I carefully place the swab into the sensor chamber (being carefull to not touch the chamber walls)
at a somewhat acute angle and so that it touches one end and side of the sensor.
As I swipe in one direction while applying gentle pressure, I reduce the angle of the swab until it is completely vertical at the other end of the sensor.
Think of reaching far away from you with a broom and sweeping toward yourself.
When the broom is farthest away, it is at an acute angle.
When the broom is at your feet, it is vertical (a right angle).
This action will tend to lift dirt instead of pressing it into the sensor cover surface.
When the sensor cleaning swab completes a full pass along one edge of the sensor, I blow the swab off with the Rocket Blower
(though I probably should use a second swab) and flip it over.
I run the swab down the other side of the sensor the same as the first.
Now there is a chance that some dust has been deposited on the side you were swiping to.
So I blow the swipe off and gently run the corner of the swipe along the potentially-dirty side of the sensor and lifting out from the corner.
Throw the swab away at this point – consider it contaminated.
I follow this sensor cleaning method with more bursts of air from the Rocket Blower.
I have been using this sensor cleaning method for years now with a success rate around 95%.
Cleaning time (with supplies in front of you) is a couple of minutes at this point.
If the sensor is still dirty, I usually repeat with another dry cleaning – or possibly a wet cleaning followed by another dry cleaning for final cleanup.
There are several types of Visible Dust Sensor Cleaning Swabs available.
Get the correct size for your sensor (smaller can work).
I specifically am using the Visible Dust Green Swabs and prefer the Vswab shape the best.
This shape has less edge to catch the chamber walls – which often causes debris.
Visible Dust Sensor Cleaning Swabs are expensive, but the cost is very worth the time (actual cleaning time and time to remove dust spots from my images) they save me.
The aggravation savings is worth many times the price.