I recently purchased a new SUV with a backup camera. It constantly gets dirty from melting snow, rain, road grim, etc. How can I keep the lens clean, or clean it without causing damage to the lens?

I don't expect anything to be able to keep the lens clean while it is actively ugly on the roads, but I want it to be clean and free from grime when it is dry.

8 Answers 8


I cut a 3/4" flat square piece of clear plastic( from vacuum packed purchase of anything),carefully used silicon sealer as a waterproof glue around small trim bezel( mine has flat area around perimeter) ,do not smudge lens view. the flat surface does not trap water/dirt like the convex area of the lens. I found very little intervention is required. I think microscope slide covers 6$ per 100 18mm round would work ,plan on using on all my cars from now on.Can be undone.


My current solution:

Clean the camera lens area well, apply a light coating of Rain-x Original. I made sure I had had not left any streaks or hazing, by buffing well.

This was moderately successful, but grim still tended to collect on the lens.

I purchased a new empty spray bottle and filled it with tap water. I park in a heated garage so I was able to place the spray bottle for easy access when parked. When I get home from a grimy drive, I grab the bottle and give the lens area 3 - 5 squirts. I have not had need to physically touch the lens, decreasing the risk of scratching. The picture remains clear when the lens is dry. I have only been using this techinique for about 3 months so can not speak to the long term reliability of it. I suspect that there is some risk to the camera/lens from being subject to "mini power-wash" on a regular bases, but so far the benefits of clear view have outweighed my anxiety of potentially having to replace the unit.

On the few occasions that I did not spray off the grime immediately on arriving home, I have used a few extra sprays with good results, but spraying clean while still wet has shown the best results.

Edit A couple years later, spraying the lenses when I pull into the garage continues to be a fine solution.


I'm not sure how well it might work, but you could try NeverWet from Rust-Oleum. It is a super hydrophobic spray on solution which repels water very well. Could keep it clean by keeping it free of deposits. The only thing I am unsure of is how clear it goes on.

  • 1
    Similarly, the Rain-X product line works very well for this sort of thing.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 12:40
  • I had not heard of this product before but the couple of reviews I find 1 2 make it seem like an expensive and less then optimal replacement for Rain-x. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 16:24
  • The reviews I have seen say something totally different. I've seen this stuff in action where water rolls off of it like nobody's business. I also believe it is a little more permanent than Rain-X, but know Rain-X works well to keep the water off of the windshield. Commented Mar 15, 2014 at 18:46
  • 1
    I would not recommend NeverWet as it will not go on CLEARLY. It has a tendency to leave a residue, so the camera output will seem blurry at best.
    – jsanc623
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 15:01

I also have an SUV with backup camera, camera in the forward direction and two downwards cameras on the door mirrors. My experience has been that the forwards camera and the backup camera get most of the dirt, whereas the door mirror cameras get practically no dirt.

My solution? I have a microfiber cloth in the open storage area over the glove compartment. Whenever the cameras have a dirty picture, I will use the cloth to clean the cameras. I have done that about dozen times in 3500 km, and absolutely no damage to the lenses is visible. In theory, the scrubbing could damage the lens if it's dirty, but that probably occurs more slowly than in 3500 km. The microfiber cloth obviously gets dirty, but you can clean the backup camera using an area of the cloth that doesn't yet have dirt in it. One microfiber cloth will probably last for many years or more. When the entire cloth is dirty, you just replace it with a new one.

So, you need to clean the lenses more often than you fill up the gas tank. I don't see that as a problem, as it costs less than one minute of my time to clean the forwards and backup cameras.

Some car manufacturers have a camera that is held hidden when driving, and when the camera is active, electric motors move it out from the hidden position. This obviously eliminates the dirt problem, but also costs more, which is why all manufacturers don't do it.


one option is to have an auto electrician extend wiring and remount to a higher point.Some vehicles such as 4wds have masts at rear to mount camp lights & put camera there.You can affix a cowl plastic or metal top rear of your vehicle and achieve same result.Check sight picture before fixing in place permanently

  • This answer does not appear to consider aerodynamics, The back of the vehicle gets more dirt and grime for reasons of air flow, raising the camera would seem to only give you a higher view, not a cleaner one. Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 12:43
  • Plus raising it high in the air like this will make it harder to quickly wipe clean if it does get too dirty. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 14:19

I also got fed up with this so moved my camers's front/back to the inside of the car now the wipers do the cleaning perfect picture 24/7.

To be honest i dont know why they are ever placed outside of the car common sense says there going to get filthy i bought 2 brckets of ebay stuck one behind the mirror on the windscreen (perfect) the other at the top of the rear window on a slight angle looking down a little yet again perfect.

  • The camera is part of the vehicles build. Moving it is not really an option. Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 19:27
  • @JamesJenkins moving it is always an option - and had to move many things for customers over time.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 26, 2020 at 6:50

The only turnkey solution I've seen. My friend from Germany sent me. The protective cover of the rear camera that he installed perfectly copes with the problem of a dirty camera. Here is a detailed description

Backup camera protection cover


Mount the camera inside the vehical at the back window ,if it has a rear wiper/sprayer ..problem solved Or alternatively reroute windshield washer fluid line to squirt the lens when the window sprayer is activated.


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