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Cleaning Lens Rubber
Posted By: nanhi, 08-03-2016, 09:13 PM

A lens has lots of rubber - on the zoom, focus and other rings. In time they get very dirty with oil from finger foods, dust, dirt, grime, moisture etc. If not cleaned off immediately the rubber will deteriorate at a much faster rate.
Plus you will be surprised how much bacteria the rubber has attracted. The bacteria plus oil & grime have a great time hiding beneath the ridges which all lens rubber have. Cleaning with cloth or camel hair brush will not help as they don't do a deep clean between those ridges.
So don't throw away your old tooth brush. Give it a good clean with liquid detergent and water + some bleach to disinfect it. Now wet the brush. Soak up the excess wetness with a clean cloth.
If the lens rubber is very badly soiled, ad just a wee bit of liquid detergent to the water - just a wee bit please. Cover the lens with front & rear caps. Scrub the lens rubber in both X & Y axis directions with the tooth brush. Clean the brush with the detergent water, remove the excess wetness and scrub the lens rubber again.
Finish off with the brush dipped in clean water - at least two passes.
And finally dry the rubber with a clean cloth.
Photographs turn out much better & more colorful with clean gear - some kind of magic for sure.
Try it, it will cost you just 12 minutes of your time. And I do it sitting on my bed or the dining table - safety against nimble fingers, in case the lens gets dropped!!??
Regards happy Pentaxians.
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08-03-2016, 09:57 PM   #2
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Probably written with good intentions, but I would be very careful adding liquids, detergent, to any lens surface body - unless you have professional knowledge these are best left untouched.

The better actions would be ensure the lens and camera does not get to the stage it needs such cleaning by ensuring your hands are as clean as possible when using the equipment. I'm not a clean nut but none of my camera equipment ever needs more than a quick going over with a clean cloth or blower to remove fine dusts.

Just saying.

Kevin

Last edited by kev.pride; 08-03-2016 at 10:03 PM.
08-03-2016, 10:38 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kev.pride Quote
Probably written with good intentions, but I would be very careful adding liquids, detergent, to any lens surface body - unless you have professional knowledge these are best left untouched.

The better actions would be ensure the lens and camera does not get to the stage it needs such cleaning by ensuring your hands are as clean as possible when using the equipment. I'm not a clean nut but none of my camera equipment ever needs more than a quick going over with a clean cloth or blower to remove fine dusts.

Just saying.

Kevin
I totally agree. If the photographer keeps his hands clean, there is less need to clean your equipment. But this doesn't mean your equipment can't get dirty from other sources. But you should take a minimalistic approach to cleaning your camera and equipment. Do only what is necessary, nothing more nothing less. And I would avoid using bleach. At most, use a dry Toothbrush to remove any mud or visible dirt from the rubber portion of your lens. Use a damp toothbrush only when absolutely necessary, No soap. And dry the lens immediately.

Note: if I think my lens may get dirty, I will use a lens coat, or a towel wrapped around the lens to keep it clean. In nearly 40 years of photography, I have not had to do any significant cleaning on any of my lenses. Only the occasional smudge, dust and dirt on the lens glass itself. And I only used the proper lens cleaning solution for that. if you keep your lens dry, you do not have to worry about bacteria. bacteria only grows in moist environments. so anytime your equipment gets wet, make sure you dry it thoroughly, and don't put it in the bag until it is thoroughly dry. Inside and out.

Joe.
08-03-2016, 10:42 PM   #4
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Dear Kev.Pride, thanks for reading and the feedback.
a) But you are not cleaning the lens elements at all. Request please read the post again. The rubber on the Zoom + Focus Rings only are getting cleaned. b) Also I mentioned adding a wee bit of liquid detergent - double emphasis on the WEE BIT - and only IF the rubber is greasy / oily. Other wise use plain water only.
c) I mentioned wetting the brush and wiping off the excess with a cloth, so that the tooth brush is just DAMP. There is absolutely NO DRIPPING WATER. No way any water, let alone
moisture gets inside the lens.
d) Both ends of the lens are covered with caps. No chance of even moisture entering the lens, as the tooth brush is very slightly damp. There is no water spray from the tooth brush at all.

Why did I mention this cleaning?? We were at the Santa Cruz Beach & Pier with our family. It was a full day outing with Lunch and an early Dinner with lots of snacks in between. My camera would be handled by various members. I always ensure my fingers are clean, but can't say the same with the other folks. So the lens rubber had plenty of oil on it - NO DUST, maybe some dirt from dirty and soiled fingers.
The tooth brush was the only and the best way to get between the ridges. And Kev.Pride Sir, no WET tooth Brush, just ever so lightly damp - emphasis, a wee wee bit damp.
I have some (13) Lenses, some Limited & Star ones, and they remain in the best like new condition last (6) years with this tooth brush methodology.
Regards.

---------- Post added 08-04-16 at 11:35 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
I totally agree. If the photographer keeps his hands clean, there is less need to clean your equipment. But this doesn't mean your equipment can't get dirty from other sources. But you should take a minimalistic approach to cleaning your camera and equipment. Do only what is necessary, nothing more nothing less. And I would avoid using bleach. At most, use a dry Toothbrush to remove any mud or visible dirt from the rubber portion of your lens. Use a damp toothbrush only when absolutely necessary, No soap. And dry the lens immediately.
Note: if I think my lens may get dirty, I will use a lens coat, or a towel wrapped around the lens to keep it clean. In nearly 40 years of photography, I have not had to do any significant cleaning on any of my lenses. Only the occasional smudge, dust and dirt on the lens glass itself. And I only used the proper lens cleaning solution for that. if you keep your lens dry, you do not have to worry about bacteria. bacteria only grows in moist environments. so anytime your equipment gets wet, make sure you dry it thoroughly, and don't put it in the bag until it is thoroughly dry. Inside and out.
Joe.
OH MY GAD, Promacjoe Sir, I mentioned thorough cleaning and disinfecting the tooth brush with bleach before using it on the lens rubber, and NOT wetting the tooth brush with bleach to clean the lens rubber. BLEACH WILL KILL THE RUBBER Promacjoe Sir. GAD HELP ME - never thought my English was so bad after my stint at the University of Cambridge, England. Obviously you will wash the brush with plenty of water so that there is no trace of bleach on it.
I beg you to re-read the post slowly, please please Sir.
With my humble regards and apology.

08-04-2016, 02:41 AM   #5
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With the greatest of respect nanhi, I did fully read your post, I never suggested you were cleaning the glass.

The fact that you saw the need to verbally have a go at two people who have commented on your post says a lot.

I hope others do not clean in the manner you consider acceptable practice.

End of as far as I am concerned.

Kevin
08-04-2016, 04:57 AM   #6
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I use a solution of 1:3 Window Cleaner on an old, dirty, oxidized grip. Pretty much the same process as severalsnakes below, and for the same reasons. I sometimes lightly treat with a water-based restorative cream on a cotton cloth.

People shouldn't get all lathered up about this.

Last edited by monochrome; 08-04-2016 at 08:00 AM.
08-04-2016, 05:34 AM   #7
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I've used the damp/moistened toothbrush method on the lens "grips" or whatever you call it... I buy a lot of old manual lenses on eBay and they're always grimy - not my doing! An old toothbrush dampened with warm water and a tiny drop of soap has worked fine for me, and no, it has never gotten inside the lens or caused the apocalypse or anything. Laying the lens on its side on a folded towel will help with this process because any excess water (if there is any, and there shouldn't be, if you don't use too much) will run down the lens and be soaked up by the towel, and it'll prevent the lens from rolling around accidentally. This isn't exactly brain surgery. ;-)

EDIT: Also - Clearly we're only talking about the rubber(ized) grips here - the metal of the barrel and the glass of the elements shouldn't be cleaned with this method. I have used a small amount of glass cleaner on a paper towel to clean the metal parts of the barrel, and even dip a little onto a toothpick to clean out any grimy engraved numbers/markings. I reserve lens-cleaning fluid and microfiber cloths for any glass, of course.
08-04-2016, 07:43 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Even lenses that haven't been used or handled much can end up with rubber grips looking ugly with a white powdery residue that just doesn't want to go away.

I spray some foaming window cleaner on a toothbrush and scrub around the grip. Any spillover wipes away harmlessly. When all the white stuff's gone, then I put some vinyl/rubber restorer on a toothbrush and go over the grip again. Wipe it all dry and the grip looks like new.

If you're truly nervous about the process, the grips can be carefully removed from the lens, cleaned separately (really grubby ones can benefit from a cycle in an ultrasonic bath), rinsed under the tap, patted dry, and put back on the lens.

When grips get stretchy and loose, and you can't find a replacement, you can sometimes improve things by putting some double sided thin tape on the barrel, and putting the grip back on. If it's really loose, and they dont' make replacements any more, you may have to cut the grip, trim it a little shorter, and tape it/glue it back down.

Really rotten rubber grips that must be replaced can be scavenged from old bargain bin lenses. A cheapo 80-200 zoom from the early '80s can yield enough grip rubber to fix a couple of lenses. You'll never get the grip pattern to match, unless you're really lucky.

08-04-2016, 10:00 AM   #9
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Ontarian Sir, I once bought Camera & Lens Rubber by the Sq Ft. Cut it and glued it. For the camera body I used the old Rexine like stuff as a template. But that was long time ago when I owned Film SLRs - can't remember the address - no internet those days. I believe they are still available and you need to Google.

Like Severalsnakes Sir/Madam, I buy lenses from EviBay, and you bet they are real soiled. And as Ontarian Sir says I do not know how the rubber ends up with that white residue stuff that won't go away with a damp cloth, not between those ridges, never. And please share your viny l/ rubber restorer formula or make. I use one of those silicone stuff for tyres on the really bad & gooed up lens rubber, but I could be doing more harm

Thanks for sharing all the methods and ingredients used. I have made a note of them.

Kev.Pride Sir, I am truly sorry if I hurt you. My intention was to share and learn. And I even mentioned " .... humble regards and apology". So please please with a slice of cheese, smile!

Regards
08-04-2016, 11:18 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanhi Quote
OH MY GAD, Promacjoe Sir, I mentioned thorough cleaning and disinfecting the tooth brush with bleach before using it on the lens rubber, and NOT wetting the tooth brush with bleach to clean the lens rubber. BLEACH WILL KILL THE RUBBER Promacjoe Sir. GAD HELP ME - never thought my English was so bad after my stint at the University of Cambridge, England. Obviously you will wash the brush with plenty of water so that there is no trace of bleach on it.
I beg you to re-read the post slowly, please please Sir.
With my humble regards and apology.

First of all, let's talk about bleach. I did not say you are putting bleach on the lens. But Bleach in general contained a lot of dangerous chemicals. Many of which do not completely dry off the toothbrush, And is very hard to rinse off. yes it will disinfect your toothbrush, but it will also leave residue on your toothbrush that will get on your lens And can degrade the rubber portion of your lens. Especially old rubber. If you want to disinfect your toothbrush, use alcohol. At least that will dry completely, and not leave any residue on your toothbrush.

soap, soap is also a combination of many chemicals, some of which are not completely compatible with rubber. And it will leave a film on your equipment. that soap film attracts moisture, moisture attracts dust and dirt. In fact most anything you put on the rubber portion of your lens will attract dust and dirt. you're creating an endless cycle. The more you clean it, The quicker it gets dirty.

You're better off not cleaning the rubber portion of your lens with any chemicals at all. I have 40+ year-old lenses that I have used Extensively, that are in very good condition, without resorting to cleaning them with any chemicals whatsoever. all of my lenses are in very good condition, with no mold or mildew. And the rubber portion of the lens is reasonably clean, dry and is In very good condition. the condition of my lenses Bears witness to my method of cleaning. Do exactly what is necessary. No more no less. And use only the chemicals that are approved for that portion of the lens that your cleaning. The condition of my lenses is proof that my method does work.

I have stated my opinion. And that's all it is is an opinion. You also have a right to your opinion. But don't think your way is the only way to do it. It's not. The fact that I disagree with you, doesn't mean you don't have a right to do it your way. You can clean your lenses in a vat of acid for all I care. But don't act like everybody is against you just because they disagree. Were not against you, I just don't agree with you.
08-04-2016, 12:41 PM - 1 Like   #11
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For one, this discussion has proved interesting and helpful to me.
I found a small camera bag with a couple old lenses I used in the 1970s in the garage (after many moves and leaving film long ago, who knew?). They needed some type of cleaning, even though they'd been encased all that time. That's 40 years worth of ... needing a wipe down, to say the least.

We have a friend who is fanatic about spraying down his kitchen counters and tables with 10:1 water/bleach after any food at all comes near them. Also, before and after preparing any food, drink, etc. Or even having people over who put their hands on the table, food-free. Spray, spray, wipe, wipe.

It's a bit much for us, but he's a nice guy if a bit eccentric about some things (yes, there's more than that). We wipe food off the counters, of course, with a sponge which probably isn't replaced often enough. None of us has died, although some have speculated our friend is damaging his lungs with that much bleach spray all the time.

My point is: to each their own, I guess. Live and love.
08-04-2016, 01:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by yucatanPentax Quote
For one, this discussion has proved interesting and helpful to me.
I found a small camera bag with a couple old lenses I used in the 1970s in the garage (after many moves and leaving film long ago, who knew?). They needed some type of cleaning, even though they'd been encased all that time. That's 40 years worth of ... needing a wipe down, to say the least.

We have a friend who is fanatic about spraying down his kitchen counters and tables with 10:1 water/bleach after any food at all comes near them. Also, before and after preparing any food, drink, etc. Or even having people over who put their hands on the table, food-free. Spray, spray, wipe, wipe.

It's a bit much for us, but he's a nice guy if a bit eccentric about some things (yes, there's more than that). We wipe food off the counters, of course, with a sponge which probably isn't replaced often enough. None of us has died, although some have speculated our friend is damaging his lungs with that much bleach spray all the time.

My point is: to each their own, I guess. Live and love.
Eccentric yes, But using bleach around food/food preparation area is not recommended. In a restaurant, It could get you shut down. The recommended cleaning agent is white vinegar and water around food/food preparation areas. Nothing else.
08-04-2016, 02:35 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
Eccentric yes, But using bleach around food/food preparation area is not recommended. In a restaurant, It could get you shut down. The recommended cleaning agent is white vinegar and water around food/food preparation areas. Nothing else.
(No one can tell this guy anything about his cleanliness habits. He's convinced he'll die of food poisoning if he doesn't do his constant rituals. Having once been hospitalized for three days with food poisoning myself, I should be the one who is a fanatic, but ... I just wipe up obvious messes with a damp sponge {maybe full of bacteria!!! OMG!!!} and go on with my day.)

I'm not advocating "correctness" in any form. Just telling true tales from life. There are nearly as many "truths" as there are people.

Last edited by yucatanPentax; 08-04-2016 at 02:51 PM. Reason: spelling
08-04-2016, 05:32 PM   #14
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I feel sorry for his immune system. Not letting himself be exposed to the minor germs, means when he does get sick he will probably wind up in the hospital. And heaven forbid, if he goes out to eat, what he might catch. If he does catch anything, it might be partially his fault for keeping such a clean environment. everything in moderation. Straying off that path can cost you dearly.
08-04-2016, 11:02 PM   #15
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My son bought a 4-bedroom old house in Thornhill, Ontario, Canada. He noticed the children were falling sick very often and he too would get a runny nose + some sneezing. His Border Collie Shadow too was scratching himself a lot. In fact when we visited them we got a bad cold within a week.

A friend of his from his college days - a Medical Microbiologist - suggested he spray the carpet with diluted Laundry Bleach after a thorough vacuuming.
He did just that and the problems they were having vanished.

Just to think of it we use bleach for our whites - we have lots of white ethnic clothes - and nothing bad happens to us.

I suppose most things in moderation don't harm us. Of course we will use nothing that is known to cause cancer. Like my wife has a skin allergy to some soaps. While getting our fabric sofa cleaned we insist that the contractor use plain water as a last wash before vacuuming it off. But he will tell us that he uses non allergic chemicals that just evaporates when the fabric dries in about 4-hours leaving no residue. We just don't buy his take.

Regards.
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