We have received inquiries regarding disinfecting camera equipment. Before offering suggestions, we need to point out that we are not infection control experts. We have researched the topic and can only offer guidance based on information we have found from the CDC and camera manufacturers. This information will more than likely change going forward.

The CDC offers the following guidance in their Infection Control "Dental Instruments" section:

"CDC has divided noncritical surfaces in dental offices into clinical contact and housekeeping surfaces. Clinical contact surfaces are surfaces that might be touched frequently with gloved hands during patient care or that might become contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious material and subsequently contact instruments, hands, gloves, or devices (e.g., light handles, switches, dental X-ray equipment, chair-side computers). Barrier protective coverings (e.g., clear plastic wraps) can be used for these surfaces, particularly those that are difficult to clean (e.g., light handles, chair switches). The coverings should be changed when visibly soiled or damaged and routinely (e.g., between patients). Protected surfaces should be disinfected at the end of each day or if contamination is evident. If not barrier-protected, these surfaces should be disinfected between patients with an intermediate-disinfectant (i.e., EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with tuberculocidal claim) or low-level disinfectant (i.e., EPA-registered hospital disinfectant with an HBV and HIV label claim)."

Saranwrap/clingfilm makes an effective barrier and will not damage any part of the camera. It can also be quickly replaced between patients or if a different photographer needs to use the camera.

Not all camera manufacturers have offered guidance for disinfecting their equipment but Olympus has listed the folowing information on their website and it should apply to most camera equipment:

  • Use a camera body cap if no lens is attached, and ensure all covers are closed and sealed (including battery door, SD card door, USB door, grip cover, hot shoe cover, sync cap, etc.).

  • For lenses detached from the camera body, ensure that the front and rear caps are on.

  • Wipe down the exterior of your product with alcohol-based sanitizing wipes. We recommend choosing products that are labeled as effective for killing 99.9% of bacteria and viruses and are also bleach-free. Lysol or Clorox wipes are examples of suitable products, although any product meeting the above requirements may be used.

  • Use a glass cleaner or a store-bought solution for cleaning lenses. Apply a small amount to soft lens tissue or a microfiber cloth. Gently rub in a circular motion until clean and repeat if necessary. Glass lens elements should not be cleaned with alcohol products as these may damage the coating on the lens.

Canon has released a short video regarding disinfecting camera equipment:

It is important to state that nothing should be sprayed onto camera equipment.
If you are using a liquid disinfectant, it should be applied to a lint-free cloth and you should only clean exterior parts. You do not want any liquid to enter the camera, lens or flash. The cloth should be just damp to allow the surface of the equipment to be disinfected.

Be aware that isopropyl or ethyl alcohol may affect rubber parts such as the viewfinder eyepiece cover or hand grip. Over time, rubber parts that are exposed to alcohol/cleaning solutions may discolor.

Some vendors are offering UV-C disinfecting lights/wands that claim to kill all pathogens. We have not been able to verify that these devices are completely effective. The FDA has stated:

"UV disinfecting devices are devices that use UVA or UVC light to produce a germicidal effect. They are intended to augment disinfection of health care environmental surfaces after manual cleaning has been performed".

The FDA also recommends that UV disinfecting devices be labeled with the following information:
1. A caution that the UV disinfection will reduce the number of pathogens on the device, but it will not eliminate them completely
2. A statement that the device is an adjunct to currently existing reprocessing practices and not a replacement or modification to such practices.

We hope this information helps - please let us know if you have any other questions.