In many previous articles, we’ve mentioned and spoken so much about the importance of tripods and how they play an important role in our day to day photography or our career overall as photographers. Tripods, in my opinion, are of that tools that always come in hand when you need to make your work even better but does not get much recognition or appreciation as it deserves. Some of us photographers, which I am guilty as well, tend to throw our tripods around and treat them like they are less than what they actually are which is our saving grace. In this article, I will be giving some tips on how we can treat our tripods a little better and give them a clean that will make them sparkle as if they were brand new. Some of these tips may be subjective to the size or material your tripod is made out of but some of the principles are pretty much the same so let’s begin.
To properly clean your tripod you will need a few things that can possibly be found around your house if you’re lucky. Some of the things you will need are:
– Microfiber Cloth or Cotton Cloth
– An Old Toothbrush
– Soapy Water
– Some Tools To Disassemble The Tripod
– A small bowl
– Canned or Pressurized Air
Once you’ve properly looked around your house and find these tools then you’re pretty much ready to go and start the process of taking care of your tripod and giving it a well deserved clean.
After you’ve got all your trusty tools together and cleared a space as a work station then it’s time to start. The first towards cleaning your tripod is to first disassemble the legs of the tripod. Some if not most tripods come equipt with the tools made to disassemble it but if you’re not certain then take a quick a look in your owner manual to make sure you’re doing the right thing. If you got your tripod second hand and not completely brand new which was what happened in my case then you can type in the name or model of the tripod and find details or an online manual. Remember, the internet is your friend. Anything you’re not completely sure about, don’t be afraid to take a moment to do your research before moving forward.
This second step is pretty easy as most tripods use the method to pull the legs apart. This method is to simply twist the lowest part or sections of the leg as if you’re trying to extend it and keep twisting until it eventually comes off. Once you’ve successfully done that, then you should be able to slide the leg out of the tube it was. While doing this be very careful not to make plastic parts fall out of place as they are usually crucial to the functionality of the tripod itself.
If your tripod consists of a series of screws or nuts to do a complete removal of the legs then you should carefully remove those as well and put them into the small bowl we mentioned earlier. Once you’ve successfully removed the legs from your tripod then its time to start a bit of the cleaning process.
You want to start by grabbing your canned or pressurized air and using it to blow off any dust or dust particles that may be in the grooves or threads of the legs parts. You then take your old toothbrush and dip it into your soapy water and then proceed to brush the areas that are evidently dirty or better yet, brush everywhere regardless. Just to make sure we don’t miss any spots that we will end up regretting. Once you’ve successfully brushed these areas until you’re satisfied and they seem clean enough, then you can use your cotton or microfiber cloth to dry off the areas.
The feet of your tripod is probably the most used and abused part as it often placed in many undesirable places such as mud, dirty water or even snow in my case. It is important to clean and maintain the feet of your tripod as often as possible because that’s the part you rely on when using your tripod.
The possibility that you will get the feet dirty again tomorrow is probably high but it’s important to clean them regardless. Give the feet a proper brush with your soapy water and make sure to get into every little space there is because of it very possible to have a build up of dirt in these areas. Once you’ve cleaned it properly then you can get your cotton or microfiber cloth again and dry the area.
This is another heavily used area of your tripod that will require some attention as well. This is the area where your camera sits when the tripod is in use. Cleaning your tripod head might be a bit tricky as most tripod heads are not designed or meant to be disassembled by their users. Some tripod heads are actually sealed from the factory and any attempt to remove this seal may result in your tripod becoming useless to you. To be safe, only remove the part seem easily accessible or like they are capable of being removed. Once you’ve accessed the head of your tripod and carefully removed the parts that were able to be removed then you grab your old toothbrush again. Repeat the same thing you did with the tripod feet and brush everywhere until satisfied and then dry off with your cotton or microfiber cloth.
Some tripods may have a few extra bells and whistles for your benefit so don’t be afraid to detach those as well and give them a quick clean. It’s important you get as much clean as possible to ensure you get the best use out of your tripod.
Once you’ve completed all those steps, then its time to put everything back together again like a puzzle. However before you do that, remember to add some waterproof grease on threads that are meant to tighten or loosen any parts on your tripod. After you’ve done this then you can gradually put all the screws and bolts back in their place.
I hope this article was a great help in making your tripod look and feel brand new. It’s always a pleasure helping out you guys and I look forward to doing it again. Thank you!