Right Way to Wipe Fingerprint Smudges from a Gun Safe

This is one of the basic practices in keeping your biometric safe functioning well. You have to wipe your fingerprint smudges from it for your own safety! You will find that it will also extend the life of your gun safe.


How Does Biometrics Work?

Let’s first take a look at the way that biometrics work. Biometrics are automated methods used in the recognition of persons based on their physiological or behavioral characteristics. These can include fingerprints, handwriting, iris, voice, and hand geometry.

Basically, the fingerprint scanner on your gunsafe works by recognizing your unique physical attribute. In this case, it’s your fingerprint.


This is because no two fingerprints are exactly alike, not even among identical twins. The fingerprint scanner has two basic jobs:

It gets an image of your fingerprint for storage in the database. It needs to verify whether the pattern on the pre-scanned image matches the pattern on the fingerprint. (The pattern includes the fingerprint’s ridges and valleys).

As such, you must first have your fingerprint scanned and saved on the gunsafe’s memory. You can then open it just by pressing your scanned finger on the scanner. There Are Two Main Ways of Finger Scanning:


Optical Scanning

An optical scanner takes a digital photograph by shining a bright light over your fingerprint. The image is then fed into a computer scanner with either a CCD or a CMOS image sensor.

optical scanner

The scanner automatically analyses the image and turns the fingertip into a code. This is done using a sophisticated pattern-matching software.


Capacitive Scanning

​A capacitive scanner works by measuring your finger electrically. The scanner measures the varying distances between the ridges and hollows of your finger and the surface below it.

The image produced comes from the measurement of these distances. The ridges of a fingerprint touch the surface of the scanner. The hollows between the ridges stand just a bit clear of the surface.

capacitive scanner

When your fingerprint is in code form, you just have to put it into the scanner to gain access. Of course, the unique codes and your fingerprint must match for this purpose. With that said, there are several reasons to wipe the smudges off the scanner.

Reasons to Wipe Your Fingerprint Smudges

You can transfer dirt, dust and oil into the scanner’s surface. For the first few uses afterwards, the scanner works well. But after several tries, the scanner may fail to recognize your fingerprint. This is because of the dirt and dust build-up.

You will then be unable to access your gun safe. You can grow increasingly frustrated because of it, too. You may even call the service technician to find out what’s wrong with it.

fingerprint (2)

The result: You spent needless time and energy on a simple issue. You may spend money on the service, too, only to find out that it was unnecessary.​

Plus, being locked out of your own gunsafe has its risks, too. For example, your home may be under attack by thieves but you can’t get your guns. You’re putting your family’s life in danger because of a preventable issue.

Tips to Clean The Fingerprint Scannes

The fingerprint scanner only needs a few basic cleaning supplies and steps to clean. In most cases. The scanning surface has a thin film coating of silicone. The layer helps the gun safe’s reader capture the fingertip’s image in greater detail.

This is especially useful when rough or dirty fingers are being scanned. But remember that the silicone layer isn’t replaceable or removable. You have to treat it with utmost care.​

You should avoid the regular use of industrial cleaning solvents on the scanning surface. This is because the silicone layer can be damaged otherwise.

The damage can result in decreased capture sensitivity, which means reduced scanner performance. Instead, a piece of scotch tape can be used in cleaning the scanner’s surface.

Just place the sticky side down on the surface. Peel it off to remove the dust, dirt and oil from normal use. For a personal gun safe, the frequency of cleaning will vary.

You can do it once a week or every two weeks, for example. For sticky substances, you can keep these steps in mind:

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    Spray a mild ammonia-based cleaner, like Windex, on a soft, non-abrasive cloth.
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    Blot or gently wipe it on the stain.
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    Blot the area with a dry soft, non-abrasive cloth.
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    Use the scotch tape method to remove any leftover on the surface.

Paper-based products, such as toilet paper or paper towels, shouldn’t be used on the scanner’s surface. The small paper particles can become stuck on the silicone layer.


Never directly spray any cleaning products on the scanner. These can mess up the electronics and surface layers.

Final Verdict

Cleaning the fingerprint scanner on your biometric gunsafe should be done in a regular and proper manner.

This will ensure the scanner’s proper functioning and contribute to the gun safe’s extended life. You can also keep yourself and your family safe from unauthorized access into its contents.

Be sure to use the right cleaning supplies for the fingerprint scanner. These include scotch tape, soft non-abrasive cloth, and ammonia-based cleaner. Gentle blotting and wiping motions should be used.

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