VR headsets are one of the most exciting developments in entertainment in decades and are one of the most futuristic and incredible devices available today for gaming and other amazing experiences.
However, VR headsets are still quite expensive, and while the latest models do sport the best technology at increasingly reasonable prices, they are still fairly delicate and intricate machines that need to be looked after well in order to ensure they continue to offer a great experience into the future.
One of the most important aspects of a VR headset is the lenses, as these are what allow you to view the images and what creates the all-important sense of immersion that VR thrives on.
Much like dead pixels in a display or monitor, a scratch or smudge on VR lenses can totally break your immersion, taking you out of the experience and ruining your fun.
What’s more, poorly maintained lenses will reduce the value of your headset and are also quite difficult and expensive to replace. This makes properly maintaining VR lenses even more important, regardless of the specific headset you use.
Regardless of the mode, whether it is an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive, or even PSVR, the lenses need to be looked after with care.
In this guide, we’re going to look at how to preserve and clean lenses to ensure they present a clear picture without putting them in danger of being scratched or damaged.
Why do VR Lenses Need to be Cleaned?
VR lenses need to be cleaned because VR tends to be quite an active and sweaty endeavor most of the time, particularly on your face where your headset is affixed.
The moisture can get on lenses and lead to smudges, and dust and other debris can get onto the lenses making them hard to focus on and ruining the immersion of a VR experience.
Cleaning them is essential to prevent this, but they can’t be cleaned haphazardly as VR lenses are delicate and even a small amount of debris can ruin them, leaving them permanently tainted.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need a few things to properly care for VR lenses.
First and foremost, a quality microfiber cloth, which ideally is specially designed for use with VR lenses to reduce the chance that the cloth may carry debris or scratch the lenses.
Second, you’ll want some compressed air to help remove hidden dust and debris.
How Often Should they be Cleaned?
It can vary depending on the amount of use your headset gets, as well as how sweaty you get using it and how dusty your home is.
Giving them a wipe after each use with a microfiber cloth is prudent, especially after long sessions, but for a more effective clean, you should consider doing this every week or two if you’re an avid user of your VR headset.
How to Clean VR Lenses
In this section, we’re going to look at how to clean the VR lenses themselves, to make sure they present the best images possible while reducing the risk that you damage the lenses while you tend to them.
1. Do NOT Use Any Cleaning Fluids!
First and most important of all, DO NOT use any liquid or cleaning fluids to clean your VR lenses.
Do not use alcohol, cleaning fluids, or disinfectant wipes on the lenses, as the harsh chemicals and solutions these products use can damage the lenses permanently and ruin them and their finish, totally defeating the purpose of cleaning the lenses, to begin with.
You may use a small amount of a gentle cleaning solution on the exterior of the body where the surfaces are harder and generally less sensitive, but for the lenses, this is an absolute no-go regardless of the specific cleaning solution available.
Even using water is a no-go, as this can have impurities and can damage the internals of the headset as well.
2. Use Some Compressed Air
Use some compressed air to clean out the interior nooks of the headset, but be careful not to aim the spray directly at the lenses as this can damage them! Spray the nozzle 2 to 3 cm away from the surface being cleaned, and only aim into the nook or cranny which you’re wanting to clean or remove debris from.
Use short bursts and make sure you don’t overuse the air, as it can become chilled by use and make moisture fly out of the nozzle, which can damage the lenses and headset much like the cleaning solutions mentioned above.
3. Wipe With Microfiber Cloth
Now for the lenses themselves, simply wipe them gently with the microfiber cloth. Use circular motions, starting in the center of the lenses and moving outwards slowly and gently.
Before you do this, always make sure you’ve checked your cloth and ensured that no debris or liquid is on it at all, as this can damage the lenses by causing scratches.
It’s best to have a dedicated microfiber cloth specifically for your lenses to avoid damage, so consider this and keep one spare and well preserved specifically for this purpose.
While it may sound risky and somewhat tense to clean your VR headset, it should be ok as long as you follow the rules mentioned above.
Always ensure you’re using the right equipment for the job to avoid issues and make sure the headset is turned off when you’re cleaning it to make things easier.
Abiding by these tips and cleaning the headset when necessary is the best way to make your experience as immersive as possible and make your headset last a very long time in great condition.