How to Clean a Drone? Step-By-Step Guide

Cleaning your drone is essential because it reduces functionality problems and helps it last longer. Hence, there’s a need to learn how to clean a drone. 

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend an arm and leg to clean it. Additionally, you don’t need professional training.

Also, you don’t need expensive tools; a soft brush, microfiber cloth, and alcohol are enough to clean your drone correctly.

It’s essential to clean your drone often because dirt and dust can cause the sensors, propellers, batteries, and motors to malfunction. Moisture, on the other hand, may cause essential parts of the drone to corrode. 

Drone Cleaning Essentials

It’s essential to have a tool kit with all the necessary drone cleaning essentials, especially the most vital, such as a soft brush, microfiber cloth, screwdriver, and alcohol.

Let’s take a closer look at how you should use them.

  • Alcohol: Use alcohol, preferably isopropyl, to clean the drone shell. Alcohol helps to remove bugs, stubborn grass stains, dirt, or blood.

    However, when working with alcohol, you must be fast because it evaporates quickly.

    Also, use it sparingly, as too much of it could enter into the drone’s delicate parts and damage them.

    In addition, don’t spray it directly, as it could reach delicate drone parts. So, apply only a tiny amount on the microfiber cloth and use it to clean all the necessary parts
  • Soft brushes: Paint brushes are soft and can be great for cleaning the crannies and nooks of your drone without scratching any parts.

    Use these soft brushes to remove debris, dust, and dirt from the propellers and any hard-to-reach parts.
  • Canned air: Canned air is essential for cleaning hard-to-reach and delicate parts such as the circuit board and the motors.

    It removes the dust and dirt from delicate areas without damaging them. You can also use an air blower instead of canned air. 
  • Microfiber Cloth: A microfiber cloth is soft; hence, it won’t scratch the drone’s camera lenses.

    Besides, this cloth effectively cleans without leaving lint on the lenses. You can also use it to clean the motor and other delicate parts.
  • Screwdriver: In case you need to disable your drone, use the recommended screwdriver size to remove the screws.

    Screws can easily get misplaced, so have a small bag to store them until you’re done cleaning the interiors. 

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Clean a Drone Like the Experts!

In this section, I’ll take you through how to clean a drone professionally. 

First, turn off the drone, disconnect it from a power source, and remove the battery for safety.

Based on the drone model, slide, release a latch, or disconnect the wire to remove the battery. 

How to Clean the Drone’s Body

Cleaning the drone’s body is essential, especially after flying away and crashing or even getting trapped in a tree.

  • Step 1: To minimize obstructions, remove the drone’s propellers. 
  • Step 2: Use the soft brush to remove debris and dust from the drone’s body. You can also use an air blower or canned air to remove any extra dust or dirt from the corners, motor vents, and crevices.
  • Step 3: Finally, apply alcohol on the microfiber cloth to clean the drone’s body. If necessary, use a dry microfiber cloth to dry the body.

How to Clean the Propellers

Dirt, dust, and debris can cause the propellers not to spin effectively, thereby causing a drone crash. 

Here’s how to clean them. 

  • Step 1: Based on the model of your drone, unscrew or twist the propellers to detach them from the drone.

    If you need to unscrew them, put the screws in a small bag or container to avoid losing them.
  • Step 2: Use a soft brush to clean the drone’s propellers, especially the surfaces and edges, as these are the hiding places of dirt, dust, and debris. 
  • Step 3: To loosen any stubborn stains on the propellers, soak them in a mixture of alcohol and water. 
  • Step 4: Use clean water to rinse the propellers. Leave them to air dry as you attend to the other drone parts. Alternatively, use a dry, clean cloth to dry them. 
  • Step 5: Once completely dry, re-attach the propellers (after cleaning the circuit boards).

    If the propellers had screws, ensure that they are securely attached and the propellers aligned according to the user manual.

How to Clean the Drone Motors and Circuit Boards

Regularly cleaning the circuit boards and motors prevents possible drone malfunctions arising from dirt, dust, and debris build-up. 

  • Step 1: The circuit board is delicate, so use canned air or an air blower to remove debris, dirt, and dust.

    To avoid damaging any delicate parts, use low pressure. You can also dip a soft brush in alcohol and use it to clean the circuit boards gently.

    Pay more attention to the vents, as debris, dirt, and dust could hide there. Alcohol dries fast, hence ideal for these delicate parts.

    If there’s any debris stuck on the circuit board or motor, use tweezers to remove them. 
  • Step 2: Allow a few minutes for the circuit board and motors to dry completely. Using heat to dry the circuit boards is risky as it could damage them.

    Also, avoid exposing your circuit board to direct sunlight, which could damage it. 

How to Clean the Drone Cameras and Lens

Regularly clean the drone’s camera and lenses for explicit videos and images. Here’s how to do it. 

  • Step 1: To avoid scratching the camera and lenses, use a microfiber when cleaning. Also, don’t use too much moisture.

    A slightly damp cloth will do a perfect job. Use a circular motion for best results, starting from the center towards the edges.
  • Step 2: Dry the camera and the lenses with a clean microfiber cloth.

How to Clean the Remote Controller

The remote controller allows you to send commands to your drones. Hence, cleaning the remote controller to have a seamless flying experience is equally essential. 

Here’s how to control the controller. 

  • Step 1: Power off the remote controller and disconnect it from a power source. 
  • Step 2: Remove the battery compartment (if it is removable) and use a soft brush or canned air to remove dirt and dust. 
  • Step 3: Use canned air to remove dirt and dust from the controller. A soft brush is suitable for removing dirt and debris trapped in the switches, buttons, and knobs. 
  • Step 4: Use alcohol to dampen a microfiber cloth slightly and use it to clean the entire remote controller, including the buttons, switches, and touch screen (if your drone has one). 
  • Step 5: Allow the remote controller to dry or wipe it using a dry microfiber cloth to prevent malfunctions.
  • Step 6: Reassemble and test the remote controller to ensure it works perfectly before storing it.

Cleaning the Drone Battery

Taking a moment to clean your drone battery can extend the life of your drone. Follow these steps to clean it. 

  • Step 1: The battery is delicate, especially around the contact points. So, use a soft brush to remove the debris or dust.
  • Step 2: Next, slightly dampen a microfiber cloth and use it to clean the entire battery.
  • Step 3: Wipe the battery using a clean, dry microfiber cloth or place it in a clean, open place to dry completely.

Once all the drone parts are clean and dry, re-assemble them and re-install the battery according to the instructions in the manual.

Fly the drone in a controlled environment to ensure everything is connected correctly and functioning accordingly. 

Pro Tips: 

  • While cleaning, also check if there are any damaged parts, and if any parts need replacement. 
  • If you have a landing pad, dampen a soft cloth with alcohol and clean it. 

Parting Shot

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced drone pilot,  learning how to clean a drone is essential. 

Whether you have a high-end drone or not, failing to clean it will cause debris, dirt, and dust to build up in its interiors, compromising its performance.

So, have a microfiber cloth, soft brushes, and alcohol in your drone kit, and thoroughly clean the drone whenever necessary and as often as possible.

While the process takes just a few minutes, it can extend the life of your drone by preventing drone crashes,  accidents, unnecessary repairs, and replacement of parts. 

Never reassemble the drone until each part is dry, as that could cause it to corrode, resulting in a malfunction. 

Peter Karanja

Peter is a licensed drone pilot and drone fanatic. He owns a DJI Air 2S that he uses to shoot videos for fun, enjoyment and for clients.

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