How To Clean Optics

General Rule of Thumb

  • Don't clean unnecessarily.
  • Clean gently.

Lenses

    • Blow particulates off using a handheld air blower.
    • Brush away particulates with a soft Nylon or camel hair brush.
    • For stubborn hard particles (eg: sand) use a vacuum and soft brush.
    • Clean with a soft cloth and lens cleaning solution.
    • 99% pure Isopropyl alcohol sometimes cleans better.
    • Small amount of Acetone can also be used to clean lenses.

    Caveat:  Don't get Acetone on plastic and rubber parts.  May affect painted surfaces.  Acetone will damage acrylic lenses, such as those found in magnifying glasses and eyewear.

     

    Mirrors

    • Blow particulates off using a handheld air blower.
    • Rinse mirrors under lukewarm running water.
    • Clean mirrors with a mild dish soap.
    • Rinse mirrors under water.  Distilled water is best for the final rinse.
    • Never rub the mirror.
    • Stand the mirror on absorbent towel to draw water off.
    • Pat the mirror dry with a lens tissue to remove residual water.

    Caveat: Avoid cleaners containing Ammonia, as that will degrade the coating.

     

    Lens Cleaning Solution

    Make your own quickly using this handy recipe.

    • 80% distilled water
    • 20% Isopropyl alcohol (99% pure)
    • A few drops of Dawn dish soap (mild)
    • (optional) 1 drop of Photoflo, a photo lab chemical