Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop to Remove Dust and Scratches

Photoshop has a wide range of post-processing tools to do minor edits of an image. When it comes to making any major editing like removing dust and scratches or flyaway hairs or correcting imperfections, etc., you can use a Clone Stamp tool Photoshop spot healing brush, or healing brush tool.

With the clone stamp tool, you will get the result for sure. Now you might be thinking, why am I so confident with my statement.

Well, in this article I will share definitions, working processes, tutorials, and advantages of the clone stamp tool Photoshop. I believe after reading this article, you will also agree with my above statement.

Let’s begin the tour.

What is the Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop?

In Adobe Photoshop, the clone stamp tool selects and samples an image’s area and uses the sampled pixel to paint over any blemishes or imperfections.

Characteristics of the clone stamp tool are similar to a brush. As a result, changing the size and opacity level of the clone tool allows you to make a subtle change to your image.

Generally, the characteristic of the clone stamp tool is to remove any object from an image. In simple words, airbrushing out an unexpected portion of your image is the main functionality of the clone stamp tool.

Other common uses of the clone stamp tool are

  • Removing skin imperfections
  • Removing dust and sketches from the image
  • Fly hair removing

We will discuss the tutorial of every use of the clone stamp tool. If you are a beginner, this guide will help you a lot.

Know more: A Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop CC 2020 | Photoshop Tools & Toolbar

Clone Stamp tool Photoshop

How does the Clone Stamp Tool Work?

Working with the clone stamp tool is so easy. All you need to do is, input 2 information in Photoshop

  1. The targeted area of replacing the pixels
  2. Sourced area of the replaced pixels

Below are a few simple steps for using the clone stamp tool.

Step 01: Clone Stamp Tool Selection

Go to the toolbar menu, select the clone stamp tool. You can also press the shortcut key “S”. After selecting, ensure setting up the brush size and hardness.

Step 02: Hover the Cursor on the Selected Area

Now select the area that you want to work in.

Step 03: Selection of the Sourced Area

Pressing the Alt key, move your cursor to the sourced area, and click on the location.

Step 04: Working on the Targeted Area

Once the pixel of the sourced area is selected, release the Alt key. Move the mouse to the targeted location. Click on the left button and without releasing it, paint the sourced pixels on the targeted area to remove the imperfections.

Isn’t the process so simple? In fact, when you remove unwanted objects from an image with the clone stamp tool, you will realize that many other things are involved with the process. And without practice, you won’t be able to become a master of it.

Now we will look into more detail working with a few tutorials of using clone stamp tool Photoshop.

(Tutorial 01)

How to Remove Dust and Scratches From an Image With the Clone Stamp Tool

The sampled image in this tutorial has lots of dust and scratches. In some of the areas, the dust spots are highly visible. 

Let’s start working on it to remove those dust and scratches.

Step 01: New Layer Selection

Select the new layer icon from the layer panel.

How to Remove dust and scratches

Step 02: Clone Stamp Tool Selection

Go to the Tool panel and select the Clone Stamp tool. You have to select Current & Below from the Sample menu in the Options Bar also. This way, no effect will happen in the background, and a new layer will get affected.

Clone Stamp Tool Selection

Step 03: Sampling Point Selection

Clone stamp tool pulls its sampling points following aligned and non-aligned options. When you select the non-aligned option, the clone stamp tool pulls information from the same sampled area repeatedly. While working with the Aligned option selected, the sampling point will move along with the cursor position.

Sampling Point Selection

Step 04: Working with Aligned Option

In this tutorial, we will select aligned options since we want to change the sampling point. It is because when the sampling point takes a sample from the same area repeatedly, the image will receive an unnatural look.

Working with Aligned Option

Step 05: Painting Process

Larger brush size will give the best result. So, select a little bit larger brush to remove dust and scratches. Set the brush hardness to 0.

Remove Dust

Unnatural lines will come if you select a hard-edged brush to accomplish this tutorial. The cursor needs to be moved to that place where a suitable replacement of the spot is available. When doing so, press Alt/Option so that the cursor takes a look at a target. Paint over the spot and see the magic. The spot will start removing. 

Step 06: Final Touch Up

Continue the process in the entire image. And resample where necessary. When selecting the sampled area and brush size, ensure to do this carefully. 

If you find that some of the areas are unrealistic, you can use the Eraser tool to rectify those areas.

Remove Dust and Scratches


Another great feature of the Clone Stamp Tool is, Blending Mode can be changed to Lighten or Darken. As a result, you can comfortably remove dark or light spots. Using the Lighten blending mode helps us to work faster with this image. 

Remove Dust and Scratches With the Clone Stamp Tool


  1. Concentration is mandatory when working with the Clone Stamp Tool. Ensure working with the areas where dust and scratches need to be removed.
  2. Opacity settings of the Clone Stamp Tool have to be less. The touchups blend surroundings will be better when you do so.

(Tutorial 02)

How to Remove Unwanted Objects From an Image with the Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

A great image can become dull because of unwanted objects. The good news is; with the clone stamp tool Photoshop, you can remove unwanted objects quite comfortably.

Let’s look at the below image. I want to eliminate the sandals from the image. Below are the steps to follow.

How to remove unwanted objects

Step 01: Zoom in After Opening the Photo

First, you have to open the photo, and then it requires zooming in on the work area. Ensure not to zoom in too much because you have to understand what is happening in the image.

remove unwanted objects

On the left side of the toolbar, you will find the clone stamp tool, click on it.

It is mandatory to duplicate the background before starting the work. Copying the background will allow you to return to the actual image whenever necessary.

Hover your mouse to the background layer, right-click on it and choose duplicate layer.

Step 02: Selecting the Sourced Area

A soft brush needs to be picked. Also, ensure setting up the clone stamp size so that the tool can easily cover up the area you want to remove.

remove unwanted objects

However, in the beginning, you will face difficulty knowing the exact brush size to cover up the unwanted object. Little practice will allow you to get familiar with selecting the right brush size.

Start with a medium-soft brush which will help you in achieving a smooth edge.

Now, move your cursor to the sourced area. At this point, the sourced area is sand. To confirm the sourced pixels, press Alt. And the cursor will get changed to a crosshair.

Remove Unwanted Objects From an Image

Just after clicking crosshair will appear, and the cloned pixels will be shown.

Step 03: Start Painting Over the Targeted Area

Now with the selected sourced pixels, paint on the unwanted object. Make sure that you have chosen the right pixel to remove the object.

Remove Unwanted Objects with the Clone Stamp Tool

If you select the wrong pixels, return to the earlier process, choose the right pixel, and remove the object.

Continue painting until you get the required result. Ensure the image looks natural.

Suppose you require to return a few steps of the process, choosing Undo. For windows, Ctrl + Z and Mac Cmd + Z.

remove unwanted objects with clone stamp tool

Patterns are what you need to look for. Due to different patterns, the image may look unnatural.

Avoiding patterns to get a natural look in the image

When you need to avoid patterns from an image, you can comfortably do it from the clone source panel.

the clone source panel

The 2 mirror buttons will allow you to give a natural look to the clone. The pixels will get mirrored when you draw on the unexpected object.

Undoubtedly, the result will be much better.

You also can play around with the brush opacity level. The best result is confirmed when you combine multiple sources of clones and settings of opacity.

object removed with the clone stamp tool

Clone stamps edges have to be smooth to get a natural look.

(Tutorial 03)

How to Remove Imperfections using Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

This is another use of the clone stamp tool. Skin imperfections are a common problem of an image, and using the clone stamp tool is the best solution in solving this problem.

We will work on an image that requires removing spots from the skin.

Step 01: The Photo Needs to Open, and the Background Layer Requires Duplicating

The image that requires perfection opens it and duplicates the layer.

How to Remove Imperfections using Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Zoom in the image in the areas where skin perfection is needed using the clone stamp tool Photoshop. It would be best if you do a 100% zoom.

Remove Imperfections using Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Step 02: Selecting the Clone Source

Follow the same instruction from Tutorial 01 and Step # 02.

Step 03: Brush Mode Selection

Due to this, removing skin imperfections with the clone stamp tool becomes an effective technique. You can focus on the precise details you want to eliminate.

Remove Imperfections using Clone Stamp Tool

The Brush mode needs to be set on “Lighten”. This selection will let the clone stamp tool work on the skin areas that are darker compared to the clone source selection.

The darker colored area will get affected only, and no change will come in the other areas of the image.

And if you choose “Darken” in the brush mode, it will work vice-versa.

When removing any wrinkles or black spots from the skin, is an effective method. The result will become natural when you remove any dark spots selecting the brush mode to “Lighten” or “Darken”.

 Step 04: Paint Over the Targeted Area

2/3 times painting on the targeted area will allow you to remove the dark spots from the image.

Remove Imperfections

(Tutorial 04 )

How to Correct Flyaway Hairs Using Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Flyaway hair can be a distracting portion of an image. And this time also, the clone stamp tool is the problem solver.

We also have an article on the tutorial on the topic: how to fix frizzy hair in Photoshop. You can check the tutorial too.

Read the below steps for a better understanding.

Step 01: Open the Image and Follow the Settings

Your required image needs to be opened in Photoshop. Then select the clone stamp tool from the Menu bar and follow the below settings.

How to Correct Flyaway Hairs Using Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Mode: Normal

Opacity: 100%

Flow: 100%

Sample: Current & Below

Step 02: Selecting the sourced Pixel

For windows, press Alt and for Mac, press Option and hold it down to select the sourced pixel.

How to remove Flyaway Hairs

Then roughly paint on the targeted area to remove the flyaway. At this moment, it doesn’t require perfection because, within the next few steps, we will go through to make the result perfect.

Step 03: Adding Mask

Once you remove the flyaway hairs, the image will look unnatural. To give the image a natural look, add a mask to the layer.

Remove Flyaway Hairs

At the bottom of the layer palette, you will find a rectangular icon that has a circle in it. Click on it. Make sure the Foreground color is selected as Black.

Step 04: Applying the Brush Tool to Reveal a Few Hairs

This section is to restring some of the flyaway hairs that we removed in the previous step. Select the brush tool and apply it to the mask so that some of the removed hairs appear.

Correct Flyaway Hairs using Clone Stamp tool

Step 05: Adjust the Brush Settings

Follow the below directions.

Window > Brush Settings.

Brush tool setting to reveal a few hairs

Once the menu appears, select the “Transfer” and the Control option should be changed to “Pen Pressure”.

Step 06: Using the Foreground Color

Use the black foreground color to paint the mask. This way, some flyaway hairs will appear. And when you use white foreground color to paint over the mask, some flyaways will disappear.

Correct hairs Using the Foreground color

Altering the foreground color between black and white can easily be performed by pressing “X” on the keyboard.

Step 07: Checking the Result

Are you satisfied with the result? If yes, don’t proceed to any other process. If the answer is a big No, continue to the next step.

Correct hairs

Step 08: Zoom in For the Precise Result

Now zoom in on the image to work on more details. You can remove flyaway hairs more precisely with zoom-in.

remove flyaway hairs more precisely

Step 09: Fine-tuning of the Brush Settings

To give a natural look to the image, more flyaways and hair volume need to be removed.

If the edge is too soft, don’t hesitate to adjust the brush settings.

remove flyaway hairs precisely

The next step will show you how to adjust the brush settings of the clone stamp tool.

Step 10: Play With the Brush to Get a Satisfactory Result

The flow setting is changed to 79%. Also, more definitions of the edges will be ensured with a hardened brush.

remove flyaway hair

Continue playing with the brush until you receive a satisfactory look. Don’t bother to do this because you can conveniently return to the previous step by undoing it.

Step 11: Final Image

This is the final image after doing a lot of processing. Undoubtedly, in this image, the hair receives a soft look.

Correct Flyaway Hairs Using Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Step 12: Comparison of the Before and After Image

See the comparison below.

Correct Flyaway Hairs with Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

12 Tips and Tricks on Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Follow the brilliant 12 tips and tricks on Clone Stamp Tool and become the master of removing dust and scratches.

01 Always Create a New Layer

Before you start working with a clone stamp tool, make sure to create a new layer. You should work on the new layer and keep the original layer intact. If required, make the original layer invisible by clicking on the EYE icon placed on the left side of the original layer. Once you finish working with the new layer, flatten the image.

Create new layer to be Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop Master

Why is this necessary? Due to many reasons, it is needed.

First, this is a non-destructive process which means the underlying pixels are not getting changed in this process. Additionally, if you don’t like any changes that you made in the layer, you can delete them without hesitation. Also, creating a mask is similarly beneficial if you can decide what changes you don’t require later.

In the end, you can work with the targeted area only in the new layer.

However, the new layer creation is not a big deal.

For windows, press Ctrl+J and for Mac, press Cmd + J to create a duplicate layer. One thing needs to be remembered when doing so, the “All Layers” option needs to be selected in the Clone Stamp Tool settings.

It would be best if you work on the new layer.

02 Zoom In

Zoom-in is one of the mandatory things that need to be followed when working with the clone stamp tool. If you look at the tutorials, you will find that zoom-in is used in every tutorial. Even if zoom-in requires 100%, don’t hesitate to do it. Zoom-in will allow you to work precisely. Moreover, to get a natural and indistinguishable look, zoom-in is necessary.

You can quickly zoom in on an area following the shortcut. Press the Alt key with one finger of your hand and use another hand’s finger to scroll the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Furthermore, pressing Ctrl (for Windows) and + key, Cmd (for Mac), and + key together will let you do zoom in and out.

03 Right Brush Size Does the Trick

You will need to change the clone stamp tool’s brush size more frequently. You must do this often to ensure the size of the brush matches the change you are making. However, it is quite tricky to change the size of the Brushes Panel. Using the shortcut keys is best to adjust the size of a brush. Follow the below procedure.

  • Smaller brush size: Press [ left bracket
  • Bigger brush size: Press ] right bracket

Following the above process will allow you to change the brush size without any hassle.

04 Brush Hardness has to be Appropriate

You can set the clone stamp brush hardness as per your requirement. The hardness allows you to determine the cloning level at which it gets blended with the surrounding pixels. To get definite and hard edges, set the hardness level to more toward 100%. On the other hand, when you move the slider to 0%, the edge will blend with the surroundings.

Brush Hardness has to be appropriate

Generally, 0% hardness level delivers the best result. Seamless blending is achievable with this brush hardness level. At the same time, if you want to achieve a nearly defined edge, choose to increase the hardness level.

05 Do Cloning Without Fine-Tuning

Don’t forget to do the cloning before you make fine-tuning in contrast, color, or any other changes. After creating those layers, if you clone the stamp tool, you are permanently baking modifications to your image when cloning.

Do cloning without fine-tuning

Though in a few cases, you have already changed an adjustment layer and you need to decide whether those adjustments should be included in your cloning. Photoshop allows you to choose whether your cloning should come with those changes.

After selecting the clone stamp tool, you will find a circle with a line through it at your screen’s top row. By default, Photoshop applies changes to adjustment layers when cloning, with the icon clicked, adjustment layers will be ignored by Photoshop when cloning.

06 Clone the Easy Objects First

In an image, it will be both comfortable and harder to clone out things. It is advisable to start with the most relaxing things. When you clone out the easiest things, this will boost up your confidence to clone out the more challenging things.

07 Be Careful with the Patterns

Sometimes, patterns are inevitable in cloning. At this point, when selecting the sourced pixels, it will help if you look for ways in your image that match with the targeted area. For instance, replace a building with the same colored building to get the expected result.

Object Removing Using Clone Stamp Tool

08 Ensure Following the Lines

When all the lines of an image get matched after using the clone stamp tool, then only you can say that the image has received the required result. Otherwise, the image will receive an unnatural and fake look.

Let’s say when cloning an image that has many roofs or window lines; you have to clone those areas carefully.

Object Removal Using Clone Stamp Tool

When cloning an image, start with the lines and then go with the other areas.

09 Don’t Select Pixels from Adjacent Areas

Hopefully, you have already understood that the clone stamp tool removes dust and sketches with the repetition process. So, while picking the pixels, you have to be careful enough. Viewers can identify the repetition if you select pixels from an instantly adjacent area.

Creating a pattern unknowingly is an easy trick to read because instantly adjacent portions are generally the nearest to the colors and tones you want to replace. Matching the colors and tones become more challenging when you move further away. If you work hard to find ways to use pixels from elsewhere in your image, dividends will be paid because a viewer will be unable to notice the repetition.

10 Accept the Muddle

By now, you have already started fixing the small areas and are ready to tackle the significant areas. Big areas might be full of lines, curves, people, cars, and many other things. Using the clone stamp tool in those areas is the scariest thing.

Don’t fear facing the challenges. Don’t try to fix all the problems at a time. You will never achieve a good result if you do so.

Below are 2 different ways to handle it.

Select big brushes first: Decide to go with a bigger brush than usual in the beginning. One fell swoop is enough to replace the whole area.

Go slowly:

  1. Pick a smaller brush to clean up the area and paint over the targeted area gradually.
  2. Continue the process without hesitation.
  3. Even if you can’t use the clone stamp perfectly, continue working.

You can go over the same place again and again until you get the expected result.

The most important thing is to continue to process without stopping.

11 Using Mirror Function is Beneficial

Clone source panel comes with a wide range of settings involved with the clone stamp tool. For example, changing the brush shape or replacing the pixel’s angle are 2 significant features.

The flip-horizontal option is another worth mentioning feature of the clone source panel. It is positioned in the middle of the panel. Clicking on this icon will allow you to replace in the reverse horizontal direction as the source. This feature is much beneficial when handling symmetric subjects since you can now easily paint from the opposite side.

flip-horizontal option

The below-shared image is a typical example of a flip-horizontal option. This option is one of the best clone stamp tool features when you have any symmetry in your photo.

12 The Cloned Area Needs to be Changed with Adjustment Layers

Sometimes you will find the difference between the cloned and surrounding areas. Either the cloned site will be too light or dark or off. The fixation process is also easy, and the surrounding area will not get affected.

Out of many different benefits, the most noticeable use of the adjustment layer is, it affects only the cloned regions.

What is the Advantage of the Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop?

Even when you use a quality camera to capture an image, you may require to retouch it. It is because sometimes photo retouching gives the required result instead of the camera settings. And in terms of retouching an image, a clone stamp tool fulfills every requirement of a photographer.

Clone stamp tools can improve the quality and appearance of an image. Eye-catchy image is significantly essential because it can enhance the sales of a product. And with the help of the clone stamp tool, an image can get an attractive look through retouching.

The clone stamp tool can add value to an image by removing unwanted objects from a photo. Removing unwanted items from an image will not only improve the quality of an image but also create a brilliant impression to a potential customer.

FAQs on Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Where is the Clone Stamp Tool in Photoshop?

The clone stamp tool is placed in the toolbar. You also can use the shortcut key “S”, and this shortcut key is applicable for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

How to Increase the Clone Stamp Size?

The functionality of the clone stamp tool is to remove dust, scratches, or blemishes from an image. After selecting the stamp tool, you will get a smaller stamp size when you move the “size” tab to the left. And stamp size will be bigger when the “size” tab is transferred to the right.

What is the Difference Between the Clone Stamp Tool and the Pattern Stamp Tool?

The key difference between these 2 tools is the sourced and targeted area. The clone stamp tool samples the pixel from an image and replaces it on another region of the same image.

Last Words on Clone Stamp Tool Photoshop

Working with the clone stamp tool can be tricky for beginners. You will require to undo the changes or make a mistake selecting the wrong brush size.

Be patient and continue practicing. Undoubtedly, the clone stamp tool can save many images compared to other Photoshop tools. This tool will allow you to remove almost anything with the right process.

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