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How to Clean a Digital Camera

Cleaning the entire camera, including the body, can help make the device last longer. See more pictures of cool camera stuff.

Digital cameras are far from immune to the environmental challenges that affect so many electronics. In fact, some digital cameras are actually more susceptible to problems arising from dust, fingerprints, liquids of all varieties and other random particulates that cause major headaches.

Just a small fragment of dirt or debris can cause huge exasperation on your part. For example, a tiny bit of dust on your camera's lens can create dots in your images.

In many cases, you won't notice these specks because they blend into parts of the image -- into the shadows of trees behind your family, perhaps. Once in a while, though, those dots wind up in exactly the wrong spot, like on someone's face, ruining the entire picture or sets of pictures.

In addition to messing up your carefully composed photos, grime can gunk up your camera, causing physical problems that might eventually lead to a complete malfunction. For instance, using your camera in a dust storm or in blowing sand is asking for trouble -- that airborne dirt will certainly find its way into the miniscule crevices of your camera. This is doubly true if you use an SLR camera, in which switching lenses exposes the high-tech guts of your camera to open air.

So perhaps the first lesson of cleaning your digital camera is this -- do your best to keep that camera squeaky clean from the start. Use a well-sealed carrying case with a zipper and zipper flap that keeps the majority of dirt from contacting your camera during transport. And if you anticipate encountering very dusty areas, seal your camera in a large plastic bag before you go.

No matter how careful you might be, however, your camera will eventually need at least a little cleaning. Keep reading to see how you can keep your camera clean and taking the sharpest, clearest photos possible.