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

First blow the lens off with a blower so there is no grit or sand on the lens and then use a lens pen to remove any fingerprints or smudges. If you can't get them clean with the lens pen use a pre-moistened lens wipe which are safe for lenses that come pre-packaged. After using the wipes you may have to touch them up with the lens pen. I have provided links for these items below.

 
Looks like those wipes contain 45 percent of isopropyl as main ingredient according to the comments below.
It would be interesting to find out how coatings can get chemically damaged? Like some alcohol threshold that is too aggressive for the coating. Are all coatings essentially made of the same stuff or of different ingredients?
 
It would be interesting to find out how coatings can get chemically damaged?
Well, the multiple current coatings are certainly trade secrets of the (few) manufacturers. I assume:
1. single coatings consisted of magnesium fluoride, MgF2. Multiple coatings could also contain that or similar substances.
2. with research, you probably can find the components of the T3M multiple coating ("multi coated") from Carl Zeiss Jena bins. Modern coatings could contain similar substances.
3. in Wikipedia or chemistry books you will certainly find chemical compounds that convert main substances (MgF2 or main compounds of T3M)
4. Joke: Check the results of the research on your Swaro NL and Nikon WX. If you don't find anything, sandpaper will help.
5. No kidding: Any multi-coated, defective cheap binoculars from Ebay? Ask repair shop or manufacturer's customer support (service) for a defective multi-coated lens free of charge?

Edit:
I just remembered: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flusssäure
(How it is called in English, I do not know. This stuff etches glass. Certain (complete) coatings protect against this.)
 
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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.
Has you're question been satisfactorily answered yet?
 
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.
Hi, Allen,

This is a topic of never-ending speculation and quasi ... fact. In 16 years of visiting binocular forums, I have NEVER offered practical realities of the matter without being followed immediately by some opto-newbie, with a magazine or a computer printout in his hand, offering NEWER or BETTER technology. It has always been a great ego pumper for those long on theories but short on practical experience. Yet, I will jump through the hoops, again.

These are some facts:

1) Given a few centuries, even purified water will etch glass.

2) Alcohol has been ONE tool of professionals for over 150 years.

3) IF the AR coatings are put on at the correct thickness AND temperature there is NO PROBLEM.

4) Even the simplest magnesium fluoride coatings are HARDER THAN the glass beneath: 575 on the Knoop Hardness Scale Vs. 520 for Bk7 (Crown glass). Multi-coatings can make it harder.

5) The first layer of coatings is only 6-millionths of an inch thick and, if not put on at the correct temperature, will be too soft to stay on when exposed to LIGHT ABRASION. This causes the inexperienced to assume the coatings came off their cheap binoculars because of alcohol, a 1/32 mixture of ammonia, or acetone, which has also been used by professionals for years.

6) There are some realities. They were offered to the magic 3% who want more reality than opinion.

7) If you chose to clean your optics with horse dung, jet fuel, or sandpaper, you may not have the best results, but your understanding of optics vs. time-honored opto-nonsense will blossom.

Back in my hole, now. Bah, Humbug!

Cheers,

Bill
 
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Hi,

We have a variety of cleaners on our shelf - Acetone, isopropyl alcohol/petroleum ether mix (a Zeiss formula), methylated spirit, ROR, Windex, alcohol and a number of other solutions.

We use medical swabs, cotton wool, silk cloths, lens tissue and Zeiss cloths.

None of these have ever removed coating, melted lenses, stained lenses or caused any other damage.

Gary
 
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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!

Just because alcohol is a solvent doesn't mean that it will degrade lens coatings. Water is also a solvent.

Here are the material safety data sheets (MSDS) for Swarovski lens cleaner, and Zeiss lens cleaner. They both contain isopropyl alcohol, as do most commercial lens cleaning solutions. The Swarovski formula uses the same percentage of alcohol that Bill suggests in the lens cleaning solution in his attachment.

Okay with Swarovski and Zeiss, okay with me.
 
“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!”

I believe in science; I believe in chemistry. And in decades of repairing, restoring, and collimating binoculars—being a mover and shaker in the industry, having taught optical PhDs, and being respected by some at all of the BIG THREE—I have come to believe in the fact that, well-meaning or not, some people talk over their heads. Please, back it down a notch.

Screen Shot 2021-01-17 at 1.04.32 PM.png
 
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For much of the time all you need to do to clean your bino lenses is to brush them gently with a soft lens brush to remove any dust particles holding the binos so that the lens you are brushing is facing the floor. This helps any dust you dislodge to fall away rather than simply gather in the eyecups or at the edges of the objectives. If there are any marks on the lenses, perhaps left by raindrops, then breathe on the lenses and use a clean microfibre cloth to gently wipe.
Lee
 
WKC why don’t you back it down a bit. You’re blatant attacks on my post prompted my response. Use as much alcohol as you want
 
WKC why don’t you back it down a bit. You’re blatant attacks on my post prompted my response. Use as much alcohol as you want
I attacked nothing. I just corrected your folly that flies in the face of every professional optician for the last 150 years. I just agree with jmepler:
"Okay with Swarovski and Zeiss, okay with me." I realize the talkative often get their tails in a crack when trying to elevate opinion to fact. However, opinions don't drive nails. My comments were as much FOR you as anyone else. My enemies are not people. They are the bovine excrement that has been going around unchallenged for years. More people need the guts to put their feet down.

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” — Aristotle
 
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I found that it's easier to find a pharmacy mostly anywhere you go. This pharmacy will gladly sell you a small bottle of non-toxic (non altered) ethanol. I guess you can drink that without excessive harm, or use it as a desinfectant for cuts etc, but the same pharmacy will also sell you non-fiber bandage squares, and between those squares and the alcohol bottle and your tap water or bottled water you have: 1) a way to gently dump some water on the lenses and get rid of large particles 2) a way to gently nudge particles to the edge of your lens if needed 3) a way to get your lenses clean of thumbprints etc. And because the bandages are throwaways which you will of course renew during a cleaning session you won't run the risk of getting a sand particle trapped in your microfiber cloth ...

Generally I hate anything that isn't disposable for cleaning lenses, including brushes because all can trap abrasive particles.

Bill's advice is excellent; however professional tools should only be employed by professionals - I don't like having stuff with me that I can't drink :)

I'm not sure, though that my advice applies to non-weatherproof waterproof instruments. Probably cleaning antiques with water will allow same to get inside the telescope barrels. As for cleaning stuff in the field ... avoid.

Edmund
 
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For much of the time all you need to do to clean your bino lenses is to brush them gently with a soft lens brush to remove any dust particles holding the binos so that the lens you are brushing is facing the floor. This helps any dust you dislodge to fall away rather than simply gather in the eyecups or at the edges of the objectives. If there are any marks on the lenses, perhaps left by raindrops, then breathe on the lenses and use a clean microfibre cloth to gently wipe.
Lee
Seconded.
I usually reach for my Giottos Rocket first, and then a lenspen - the latter being used in exactly the fashion you described.

NB There are better uses for alcohol than washing binos.
 
WJC ask any optician and they will tell you Alcohol can harm lens coatings. Years ago there were no coatings on bino lenses so it didn’t matter. There are plenty of more advanced alcohol free lens cleaners available now that are designed not to harm coatings. If one wants to use old style alcohol cleaners so be it. I choose to follow experts advice and use the most advanced products available. Go ahead and have the last word. I’m sure it will be most enlightening.
 
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WJC As long as I’ve been a member here I’ve seen lots of BS from you a self proclaimed internet Expert. Ask any optician and they will tell you Alcohol can harm lens coatings. Years ago there were no coatings on bino lenses so it didn’t matter. There are plenty of more advanced alcohol free lens cleaners available now that are designed not to harm coatings. If one wants to use old style alcohol cleaners so be it. I choose to follow experts advice and use the most advanced products available. Go ahead and have the last word. I’m sure it will be most enlightening.

Did you bother to look at the images that I posted? The Swarovski lens cleaning fluid contains 15% isopropyl alcohol.

Who is the self proclaimed internet expert here?
 
WJC As long as I’ve been a member here I’ve seen lots of BS from you a self proclaimed internet Expert. Ask any optician and they will tell you Alcohol can harm lens coatings. Years ago there were no coatings on bino lenses so it didn’t matter. There are plenty of more advanced alcohol free lens cleaners available now that are designed not to harm coatings. If one wants to use old style alcohol cleaners so be it. I choose to follow experts advice and use the most advanced products available. Go ahead and have the last word. I’m sure it will be most enlightening.
Interesting. Which would mean my advice was wrong too, but then I'm not an "expert".
Maybe we should ask the manufacturers for their opinion on this topic.
One -minor- issue is that what is good for lenses is not necessarily good for the human. I used an optician's spray to clean my glasses until I got an excema, and then I went back to soap and water.

Edmund
 
About isopropanol: The instructions for one of my binoculars recommend it. But these are only mid-range binoculars.
The 2nd sentence was a hint with the fence post direction Zeiss, Swaro. ;-)

isopropanole:
Synonyms: 2-Propanol, Isopropylalkohol, Propanol-2, i-Propanol, Dimethylcarbinol, Alcohol isopropylicus, Persprit, Petrohol, sek-Propanol, Propol, β-Hydroxypropan

Edit:

Direct contact with isopropanol may cause severe irritation of mucous membranes and eyes. Vapours of the alcohol have an anaesthetic effect. For some time, a carcinogenic effect has been suspected.
Translation from:
 
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... The Swarovski lens cleaning fluid contains 15% isopropyl alcohol. ...
So does the Zeiss one, but I am not sure of the concentration ... possibly similar.

ZEISS-Pre-Moistened-Eyeglass-Lens-Cleaning-Wipes-250-ct.-1.jpeg
I was going to attach the pdf data sheet for their cleaning solutions and cloths/pre-moistened wipes, but I could not find how to do that.

Theguys at dpreview know a thing or three about lenses too. You might want to read this test they did some years back.
 
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