Steve –

What is the best way for me to clean my lenses?  A soft cloth and water?  Toilet paper and window cleaner?  Any hints on the best way to clean lenses, noth materials and techniques, would be most appreciated! 

Cheers, 

Stick

 

Stick 

About cleaning lenses.  It depends how dirty they are.  Let's start with normal dirty:  Fingerprints, rain drops, dust, etc..  

My wife made a comment the other day that no matter where she looks, she finds small plastic bags with microfiber clothes in them. Tiger clothes are my favorite.  I have a couple in each bag, some in my knapsack, a couple in the car, coat pockets, anywhere.. I while back I splurged for a case of 24 of them and distributed around to be available no matter what I was doing.

 

My wife made a comment the other day that no matter where she looks, she finds small plastic bags with microfiber clothes in them. Tiger clothes are my favorite.  I have a couple in each bag, some in my knapsack, a couple in the car, coat pockets, anywhere.. I while back I splurged for a case of 24 of them and distributed around to be available no matter what I was doing.

 

Once I use one, I NEVER re-use it until after it's washed, carefully dried, inspected for grains of sand and whatnot, and carefully folded and put back in its plastic ziplock bag.  All it takes is a single grain of salt, sand, etc.. and you've got a nice deep scratch on your expensive lens or filter.  Many people don't even bother to wash them.. they toss them immediately so they won't inadvertently reuse them.  Good ones are hard to find here in Bangkok, my last case I ordered from overseas, so I wash mine up to ten times before tossing them out.  This means a case of 24 will last you 4-5 years on average.  I also never re-fold a cloth and put it back in the bag.  Instead, I just shove a used one in there so I can instantly see if I used it before or not. 

I'll never forgot my rookie mistake cleaning my newly painted classic car.  I dropped the chamois on the ground, picked it up, shook it out, and used it again.  As soon as I swiped down the side I could feel a grain of sand/dirt etching my new paint like a glass cutter.  It was enough to make a guy sick.  It works the same way with lenses.  The chamois should have been immediately discarded from current use and later washed, inspected, and really gone over before being used again. 

I don't use chemicals.  I breath "hot breath" on the lens until it fogs up, and then clean it with a microfiber cloth.  That's it.  It’s the best natural cleaner and even helps make them fog resistant in the same way you spit in your scuba mask and run it on the inside of the glass.   This technique should do you for 99% of your cleanings.

 

Every once in a while we drop a lens in the muck or somehow it gets really bad.  For these times I carry a Rocket Blower, a very soft artist grade horse hair 1" brush, lens fluid, and microfiber cloths.  I use them in that order.  I use the Rocket Blower to blow off what I can, the brush to careful "brush away from the glass" all I can, and I might even repeat these two steps.  Then I put fluid on the microfiber (never directly on the lens) and dab away anything remaining.  Repeat with a new microfiber and it should be ready for the "hot breath" shine and polish process..

 

Every once in a while we drop a lens in the muck or somehow it gets really bad.  For these times I carry a Rocket Blower, a very soft artist grade horse hair 1" brush, lens fluid, and microfiber cloths.  I use them in that order.  I use the Rocket Blower to blow off what I can, the brush to careful "brush away from the glass" all I can, and I might even repeat these two steps.  Then I put fluid on the microfiber (never directly on the lens) and dab away anything remaining.  Repeat with a new microfiber and it should be ready for the "hot breath" shine and polish process..

 

Every once in a while we drop a lens in the muck or somehow it gets really bad.  For these times I carry a Rocket Blower, a very soft artist grade horse hair 1" brush, lens fluid, and microfiber cloths.  I use them in that order.  I use the Rocket Blower to blow off what I can, the brush to careful "brush away from the glass" all I can, and I might even repeat these two steps.  Then I put fluid on the microfiber (never directly on the lens) and dab away anything remaining.  Repeat with a new microfiber and it should be ready for the "hot breath" shine and polish process..