Many hygienic measures have been put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Videographers are encouraged to disinfect their gear frequently.
However, you have to be careful when disinfecting equipment like cameras and lenses. There are a lot of misconceptions out there that we would like to clear up today. In this article, we will go over how to disinfect your video gear and what you should and shouldn’t do to avoid damaging your equipment.
Use isopropyl alcohol
According to Roger Cicala from LensRentals, it is okay to use isopropyl alcohol in 60% or greater concentrations on camera equipment. Though some camera manufacturers have said not to use alcohol of that concentration, Cicala is confident that your gear will be fine.
“Despite what some manufacturers have said, we, and every repair shop I know have used isopropyl alcohol in 60% or greater concentrations on camera equipment for a long time and haven’t seen any adverse effects,” says Cicala. He also disagrees that 99% isopropyl might affect lens coatings. However, it’s important that you don’t vigorously rub the lens, as that can affect the lens coating. Also —this should be obvious — don’t use a wire brush. Just rub the lens softly with a cleaning cloth.
Do not overuse disinfectant
While some might think more disinfectant will make their gear safer, it won’t. Do not soak your camera gear. It is unnecessary because a small amount of disinfectant will work just fine. Also, using too much disinfectant can actually damage your gear. When disinfecting, it is important to keep all of the liquid outside of the piece of gear. For instance, if water or isopropyl alcohol gets inside of your camera, that can spell trouble. The more disinfectant you use, the more likely the liquid will run inside.
Use a spray bottle and spray a light mist or use a cloth dipped in alcohol. Both work and can clean large surfaces. For small, tight spaces, you can use a Q tip or something similar. Dip the tip into the alcohol and softly rub the small areas and places that you can’t reach with a spray or places that run the risk of allowing liquid to run inside. Do not soak or saturate your camera.
Use soap and water in appropriate places
You can use a little bit of soap and water with a dipped cloth and rub appropriate places. That would include places like lens barrels, camera rubber and light stands. When cleaning these places with soap and water, let it sit for half a minute and then wipe it off with a cloth. Avoid using soap and water in places that are tight to get into. For instance, use a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol around a camera’s viewfinder.
Do not share camera gear
If you can, avoid sharing camera gear on shoots. However, if you can’t help it, disinfect it carefully. You do not want to over saturate your gear. Use a minimal amount of solution and don’t use the piece of gear for up to 48 hours to be safe. After two days pass, the virus will be gone.
Warning: repeatedly using alcohol could affect parts of your camera
There is a chance that repeatedly using alcohol may dull the rubber of lens rings and camera bodies. While Cicala hasn’t seen it himself, people have claimed it happened. He also heard that it can dull or fog the finish of LCD screens. While he hasn’t seen it himself, he says that it could happen to some cameras and that you should try to keep the isopropyl alcohol to a minimum.
Alternatives to isopropyl alcohol
Considering the conditions of the pandemic right now, isopropyl alcohol might be hard to find right now. Quaternary ammonium products can also be used to disinfect your gear. If you can get a disinfectant level product, it should be safe to use on your gear. The CDC says that these kinds of solutions are effective for disinfecting surfaces for coronavirus. These are powerful chemicals, however, and should be used sparingly.
Disinfect you gear
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it is important to disinfect your gear. Just make sure to not saturate your gear and try not to overdo it. Use common sense when disinfecting.