How to Clean Your Fingerprint Scanner Device

How to Clean Your Fingerprint Scanner Device

How to Clean Your Fingerprint Scanner Device

A fingerprint sensor or scanner is an electronic device used to capture a digital image of the fingerprint pattern.

 For the fingerprint scanner to function properly, it is essential to maintain a clean surface and without scratches. Otherwise, there could be problems with the image scanning and degraded performance of the scanner.

 Let us look at what causes fingerprint scanner problems and how to properly clean and maintain fingerprint scanners for optimum performance.

Common issue: “fingerprint scanner not working”

There are cases where end users reported that their fingerprint scanner had mysteriously been damaged and was unable to scan properly.

 It turns out that the glass surface where the finger rests during the scanning process had become scratched and hence could not properly capture the fingerprint image.

 Sometimes fingerprint scanners can have problems reading fingerprints due to various reasons such as sensitivity to moisture, lotions, oils, sweat and dry skin.

Activities such as swimming, showering or exercising can also temporarily affect the proper scanning of fingerprints.

Taking into consideration the fact that fingerprint scanners are an investment and have a shelf life just like most other electronic equipment, it is important that end users are aware of how to properly clean biometric hardware.

This will prolong the hardware longevity and ensure that they get the most out of their investment.

The regular use of biometric hardware devices, especially fingerprint scanners leaves residues and other foreign materials on the surface.

In this article, we will look at the tips on how to clean fingerprint scanners on a timely basis to ensure their smooth functioning and proper maintenance.

What causes the issue: why is fingerprint scanner not working?

Irrespective of the location where the biometric system is deployed, the biometric hardware tends to undergo wear and tear as end users place their fingers or palms on the device for recognition and authentication.

Also, fingerprint scanners are liable to have shorter life spans due to the fact that end users must make physical contact with the fingerprint scanner in order for the biometric device to capture the print and recognize it through a biometric software interface.

As such, the sensor of a fingerprint scanner is in constant human contact and might accumulate dust and foreign particles causing damage to the sensor. Hence the scanner might fail to register a fingerprint or it might capture a fingerprint incorrectly.

In work environments, such as a factory or manufacturing unit, the staff is prone to having dirty, greasy, or grimy fingers due to their job responsibilities.

When the fingerprint scanner comes in contact with dirty or greasy fingers, it might not be able to properly capture the print. It is recommended to end users to clean their hands properly before using a fingerprint scanner.

Any dirty residue, oils or other materials on the surface of the fingerprint reader can obscure the image causing performance degradation in terms of false acceptance and false reject rates.

Under heavy usage, the fingerprint window coating may turn cloudy from the salt in perspiration. Depending on the usage of the fingerprint scanner, the sensor may need to be cleaned periodically. Cleaning the device once a week is ideally recommended.

Step-by-step instructions: what do you do when your fingerprint scanner is not working?

The following infographic will show you the step-by-step process of cleaning a fingerprint scanner device:

Protect your scanner against the risk of damage: fingerprint problem solution

  • Do not pour any liquid directly on the reader window.
  • Do not clean the device using organic solvents such as gasoline and alcohol. This may cause malfunctioning.
  • Never submerge the reader in liquid.
  • Never rub the window with an abrasive material, including paper.
  • Do not poke the window coating with your fingernail or any other item, such as a pen.

How to use fingerprint scanner properly: fingerprint sensor working principle

Most of the unique, repeatable fingerprint information is located in the “pad” of your finger, not in the “tip”. Flat finger placement as shown below will result in fast and accurate fingerprint authentication.


This article focuses on the ways of cleaning fingerprint scanners. Though the fingerprint reader is quite tolerant of residues left on surface, it performs optimally only when kept clean. Proper maintenance of fingerprint scanners is essential to give them a longer lifespan and sustain their workability.

Shop online for high quality USB fingerprint reader & fingerprint scanner software

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Fingerprint SDK

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How to Clean Your Fingerprint Scanner Device

How to Clean Your Fingerprint Scanner Device

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