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Best way to clean filters without smearing?

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Apologies if this question has already been ask, I couldn't seem to find a thread on this topic. I own a set of 4x4 filters, a variety of glass Tiffen FX and ND filters. I just haven't found a way of cleaning them without smearing the filter. I've tried a variety of methods, including rosco fluid/tissue, pancro, some other brand of spray on lens fluid I have in my kit; I haven't found a way that works yet.


What is the best way you have found to clean filters? Circular cleaning from the centre like a lens, or just go crazy? :)


Any specific fluid/tissue brand combination that seems to work best?


Also a fun story for everyone. I was prepping kit for a shoot at a rental house the other week, and the filters had all been repackaged in the plastic like most rental houses do. The word 'OK' (after being cleaned by the rental house) was written onto the plastic for each filter with permanent marker, which had gone through onto every filter!

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I'm surprised lens fluid doesn't work, but since it's glass I'd try a plain supermarket glass cleaner.

I use Sainsbury's blue spray-on stuff for my monitors and it doesn't smear with a chamois-type leather. Failing that, a big selvyt cloth or Calotherm.

I'd try without the fluid first,, unless you've been shooting in a steelworks.

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For square filters, first blow off any dust or particles, then use Kimwipes and Panchro. Spray directly onto the filter and wipe up-and-down and side-to-side the full length of the filter on each side, reapplying as often as necessary. Finish with some breath on the glass for moisture and a dry Kimwipe. Or use a clean microfiber cloth.


The circular wipe method is for lenses and circular filters with a metal ring around the edge. On those you want to spray the Kimwipe, not the lens or filter directly as the fluid could get past the edges and inside the housing.


Also, it could be that the filter pouch has become dirty and is adding smudges every time you put the clean filter back in. I've had this happen a lot with old pouches that have been exposed to moisture. You can try hand washing them with warm water and drying them out with a hair dryer and desiccant pouches. Or just buy new pouches. I like the Filmtools 6-hole pouch for NDs.

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