Can I Repair a Scratched Camera Lens?

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Q: I was climbing around a rocky shoreline this weekend with my camera around my neck when it swung forward and I scratched the front of my lens. I can see it faintly at certain angles and depending on the lighting when I snap a picture, I can sometimes see the scratch in photos. Is there an easy way to repair scratches from a camera lens easily?

Sent by Jeanie

Editor: Believe it or not, some people have been able to use (smooth) peanut butter and/or toothpaste to remove scratches from lenses, using the slightly abrasive quality of each to gently buff out scratches. This is actually an old trick people have long used to remove smaller scratches off eyeglasses, scratched CDs, or even to remove offending marks off of car paint finishes (in fact, others have used pre-formulated automotive paint scratch removal formulas to the same effect).

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Another recommendation is to gently clean and buff out scratches using rubbing alcohol, using 20 parts water to 1 part alcohol (I'd recommend using distilled water, just to be careful) with a clean microfiber cloth to hopefully wipe out a surface scratch.

Whether any of these techniques work is really dependent upon how deep the scratch is, and you may find the scratch is too deep to remove without further damaging the sensitive front face of a lens. 

And if by chance you've damaged any other part of the lens, once again, a jar of peanut butter may come in handy, as shown below.

Have any additional tips for Gerald's scratched up lens? Leave your suggestions in the comments below - thanks!

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(Image: Gregory Han; Amazon.com)

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