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What should I clean binocular lenses with? (1 Viewer)

Allen

Well-known member
Having just invested in a new pair of Swarovski EL's I wanted to understand what the right cleaning solutions are for modern day coated lenses? Historically I had used a lens cleaning solution containg Alcohol Isopropyl but wonder if this is OK for current lens coatings or damages them. Any guidance appreciated.
 

Jessie-66

Germany
Did you not receive a user manual for the high end product you purchased? Is it incomplete? Is it not possible to download manuals also for similar binoculars from Swarovski's website? Sorry, I'm too lazy to do your groundwork right now.

About isopropanol: The instructions for one of my binoculars recommend it. But these are only mid-range binoculars.

In a document by a old former Zeiss employee, he also recommended ethanol, not denatured alcohol, because of the evaporation residue. In an "emergency" (holidays, hunting), you can also use a little of father's, barman's or hunter's clear schnapps with a soft cloth: At that time soft cotton or so.

Opticians offer lens cleaners, many lenses are made of plaste and have (anti-reflective) coatings.
It is therefore very unlikely that these agents will cause damage to binoculars. Opticians are also available in many holiday resorts.

Automated translated (DeepL):
Care and maintenance
The binoculars are equipped with the ZEISS LotuTec® coating. The effective protective coating for the lens surfaces noticeably reduces soiling of the lens thanks to a particularly smooth surface and an associated strong beading effect. All types of contamination adhere less and can be removed quickly, easily and without streaks. At the same time, the LotuTec® coating is resistant and abrasion-proof.
Please do not wipe off coarse dirt particles (e.g. sand) on the lenses, but blow them off the lens or brush them off the lenses with a hair brush. Fingerprints can stain the lens surfaces after some time. The easiest way to clean lens surfaces is to breathe on them and rub them with a clean optical cleaning cloth. Dry storage and good ventilation of the outer lens surfaces at all times will help to prevent fungal deposits on the optics, especially in the tropics. Your ZEISS VICTORY SF binoculars do not require any further special care.

And what does Swarovski write? You have to do your homework yourself. ;-)
 
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Allen

Well-known member
The manual just discusses breathing condensation and a soft, moist microfibre cloth but I'm not sure that will deal with any greasy residues which build up.
 

Jessie-66

Germany
Well, check out Swaro's website, on many manufacturer websites is often a support category with general advice for product classes. Otherwise, Swarovski certainly has telephone and email of their customer support.
 
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Tringa45

Well-known member
Europe
There are many acceptable methods but a couple of things to be avoided at all costs are failure to remove dust or debris with a blower or squirrel hair brush beforehand, and using a dry and/or soiled cleaning cloth.

My CR-39 (plastic) glasses lenses are cleaned at least once daily under running water and a drop of liquid soap on a fingertip. They are still flawless after 4 years, so binocular lenses could be cleaned for a lifetime without damage. Your ELs have hydrophobic coatings on oculars and objectives, so you don't even have to wipe them. Dabbing with a fresh cosmetic tissue (Kleenex?) will remove any remaining water droplets.

Alternatively you can spray lens cleaning fluid (or even window cleaner) on the tissue. Personally, I prefer to use a fresh tissue to a microfibre cloth, but if you do use the latter, wash it frequently and avoid softeners. If it is really necessary to clean your bins in the field, then the occasional use of a pre-packed impregnated lens cleaning tissue will do no harm.

John

PS:- For really stubborn deposits, saliva on a clean fingertip is often effective.
 
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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I remove the eyecups on my Swaro ELs and wash mine under warm water then dry them naturally. They can be buffed after with a dry eye glasses cloth. I avoid washing up liquid like the plague as sun light can cloud the glass if any remnant of the detergent is left. (Like you shouldn’t use washing up liquid to wash windows as it leaves a residue on the glass)

Avoid tissues as these can be abrasive - always use a proper lens cloth

You should never first clean the lenses with a cloth if you have been birding in windy/stormy weather/near sandy /dusty environments etc as you risk causing abrasive damage to the glass but rinse under a tap or pour bottled water onto them before cleaning. In the very least, puff air onto your lenses before wiping with fibre cloth so it blows any grit off the glass.
 

Jessie-66

Germany
Then why reply at all?
Because I help a lot of readers in forums, not just OPs who open threads without having done their homework first. Otherwise, I would keep it far shorter or not write at all. Moreover, the very first questions were a hint to self-help. Thanks for understanding.

Edit:
I consider the use of blowers or rubber bellows to be less good than soft brushes. Blowing can cause grains of sand or the like to get into cracks or crevices between moving parts such as the focus, diopter adjustment or eyecup mechanics.
If one urgently need 1 pair of binoculars (holidays without backup bins), rinsing under water is a high risk due to leakage of defective or porous sealing elements, which one should only take if absolutely necessary: Salt water residues or something.
 
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Upland

Well-known member
Brush first then use a cleaner without alcohol. It will dissolve the lens coatings you spent so much for! Lots of good ones out there. Stop by an opticians office and they’ll have what you need.
 

zdr

Active member
United States
Optics amateur here, but I just got a new pair of Swaro 8x32 ELs and the shop (timeandoptics.us) also sold me a small soft brush and a cleaning fluid from Zeiss. They also said to clean only as needed and not as regular maintenance.

z
 

Sebzwo

Well-known member
These are the ingredients of the official Zeiss cleaning fluid:

Ingredient datasheet according to 648/2004/EC: Regulation on detergents (Section D of Annex VII)

Carl Zeiss AG
ZEISS Consumer Products Carl-Zeiss-Straße 22
73447 Oberkochen Deutschland

Spray in Lens Cleaning Kit (2096-685)
AQUA
BUTOXYDIGLYCOL
DIMETHYLOL GLYCOL
GLUT ARAL
METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE AND METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE
 

Silent Observer

Active member
United Kingdom
This is a question that can yield 10 different answers, if asked 10 times...

I have resorted to using a soft brush + blower to remove any solid particles, followed by very gentle wipe with a lens cleaning tissue soaked in a few drops of ROR - Residual Oil Remover, followed by fogging the lens with my breath and gently wiping with a fresh lens cleaning tissue to get rid of any streaks...

works for me.
 

WJC

Well-known member
These are the ingredients of the official Zeiss cleaning fluid:

Ingredient datasheet according to 648/2004/EC: Regulation on detergents (Section D of Annex VII)

Carl Zeiss AG
ZEISS Consumer Products Carl-Zeiss-Straße 22
73447 Oberkochen Deutschland

Spray in Lens Cleaning Kit (2096-685)
AQUA
BUTOXYDIGLYCOL
DIMETHYLOL GLYCOL
GLUT ARAL
METHYLCHLOROISOTHIAZOLINONE AND METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE
For those feeling no need to outshine the over-the-top—sometimes expensive—secret formulae for cleaning optics that some would offer, I provide the down-to-earth methods and solutions I have used, professionally, for over 50 years. Sophisticated? No. Expensive? No. Full of bragging rights? No. Effective? Extremely so.

A few months ago, a fellow asked about cleaning lenses and prisms. I shared the attached with him to which he referred to it as “nonsense” and a “waste of time.” Fortunately, this paragon of optical wisdom, who was not prepared for either the English language or the nuances of good-natured humor (humour to my Brit friends), and whose inventory of optical knowledge could be written on the head of a pin in 4-foot letters, is safely spreading his wisdom over on brand X, where raising the bar is not nearly as important as keeping the sandbox clean.

The first 6 pages provided are from my first bino book. The single page is from a technical advisor from Zeiss, regarding that first book.

Bill
 

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WJC

Well-known member
Perhaps you've been consuming too much, making an unqualified statement like that ;)
There is an unending stream of people with much more reading, chatting, and theorizing under their belts than practical experience. But if you know what you're talking about, and don't feel the need to candy-coat anything, a target will magically grow on your back. And, of course, you must be prepared to defend your professional view against the onslaught of the “enthusiast” who makes certain declarations when, in fact, he’s only seen 5 or 6 binos ... 3 of which were in a magazine. There are many good, kind, and well-meaning people out there who are just as opto-clueless as they are well-meaning. And I am speaking COLLECTIVELY and not INDIVIDUALLY.

Bill
 
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Upland

Well-known member
It’s pretty much common knowledge and if you write to any optical manufacturer they will tell you the same. If you know anything about Chemistry you’ll know that alcohol is a powerful solvent. Of course lots of folks don’t believe in science these days!
 

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