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09-02-2010, 02:31 PM   #1
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What's in lens cleaning solutions?

I work in a chemistry lab so I have liters upon liters of every kind of imaginable solvent...

What can I use on my lenses? Are they just ethanol or methanol? Isopropanol?

Thanks,

Ken

09-02-2010, 03:00 PM   #2
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Highly concentrated isopropyl alcohol (97%~) works well for me. Except when it doesn't, which is when I bring out my Zippo lighter fluid :-)
09-02-2010, 03:32 PM   #3
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I use lab grade IPA also. The last time I used it I had streaks. However, the streaks come off easy with a lint free cleaning cloth.

I used this DIY project for my cleaning wand.

DIY Projects - Cleaning Digital Cameras - D-SLR Sensor Cleaning.

Tim
09-02-2010, 05:21 PM   #4
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FWIW the manual in DA lenses warns against using organic solvents to clean lens surfaces. My FA manual has no such warning.

I use rocket blower and lens pen since I can never get the right amount of cleaner to not leave streaks.

09-02-2010, 10:26 PM   #5
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From my chemistry experience, it appears to be buffered isopropyl. That would explain the streaks with pure isopropyl. The delayed evaporation time gives you a chance to swipe it.

Basically any short-chain alcohol cleaned with a safe cloth.

God I loved it when we could swipe laboratory ethanol. That was fun.
09-03-2010, 12:12 AM   #6
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Eclipse is reagent grade methanol. Eclipse 2 is the same with a little distilled water to slow evaporation. Other lens cleaning fluids contain highly diluted ammonia; I don't know diluted with what, but assume distilled water. Naptha also works well. Acetone has been used, however besides being highly toxic, it also readily melts paints and plastics -- better to use on loose elements than mounted, but not on a cemented lens group.

A gentle approach using increasingly harsh substances is recommended, stopping when results are sufficient. When use of liquids stage is reached, spot clean rather than wiping the entire surface. Unused clean-room grade microfiber cloths and lint-free q-tips. Begin with blower, then a brush, then methanol or ammonia, then naptha, then disassemble and use acetone as last resort.
09-03-2010, 06:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rhodopsin Quote
Eclipse is reagent grade methanol. Eclipse 2 is the same with a little distilled water to slow evaporation. Other lens cleaning fluids contain highly diluted ammonia; I don't know diluted with what, but assume distilled water. Naptha also works well. Acetone has been used, however besides being highly toxic, it also readily melts paints and plastics -- better to use on loose elements than mounted, but not on a cemented lens group.

A gentle approach using increasingly harsh substances is recommended, stopping when results are sufficient. When use of liquids stage is reached, spot clean rather than wiping the entire surface. Unused clean-room grade microfiber cloths and lint-free q-tips. Begin with blower, then a brush, then methanol or ammonia, then naptha, then disassemble and use acetone as last resort.
Where did you get this information concerning toxicity of acetone? When I investigated this I determined otherwise. Now solvents like toluene are really toxic, lacquer thinner, contact cement thinner, many other solvents, but acetone IIRC is fairly benign. I wouldn't drink it, of course. It is an excellent solvent for many things, but it does attack a lot of plastics and I'd think that lens coatings may suffer damage if in contact with acetone. BTW, I believe that common nail polish remover is acetone.
09-03-2010, 06:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Muse Quote
Where did you get this information concerning toxicity of acetone? When I investigated this I determined otherwise. Now solvents like toluene are really toxic, lacquer thinner, contact cement thinner, many other solvents, but acetone IIRC is fairly benign. I wouldn't drink it, of course. It is an excellent solvent for many things, but it does attack a lot of plastics and I'd think that lens coatings may suffer damage if in contact with acetone. BTW, I believe that common nail polish remover is acetone.
Take a look at the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet, google MSDS Acetone)

Yes most unfortunately many nail polish removers contain acetone; women have unknowing been poisoning themselves and those around them for decades.

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