There are a variety of cleaning products and cleaning methods to use depending upon the type of optic to be cleaned and the nature of the care needed, ranging from removing dust to smudges on the surface. An important point to note is that you should never clean plastic optics or optics in plastic housings with Acetone because it will melt and damage the plastic. Therefore, if you have a plastic optic, then you should use Compressed Air. After purchasing an optical component, exercising proper care can maintain its quality and extend its usuable lifetime. The technician handling the optics should also be trained in optic maintenance and care.
Handling Tips when cleaning optics
- Always wear gloves or finger cots when cleaning optics. The oil and dirt on your fingertips can sometimes damage the coating on optics. If a fingerprint is left on an optical surface for a long time, it can become a permanent stain and damage the optical coating of the lens.
- Always handle optics by the edges. Never touch the optical surface with your fingertips, even while wearing gloves as it can cause micro scratches on the lens surface or coating.
- Never handle optics with metal tools. Reduce the chance of damage by using wooden, bamboo, or plastic tools to handle optics. Vacuum pens are handy for small optics.
- Always place an optic on a clean soft surface, especially if the optical surface is convex. Resting on a hard or dirty tabletop can cause scratches on the optical surface and coating.
- To store optics, wrap them individually in clean, lint-free lens tissue and place in a low humidity environment. Never store unwrapped optics together in a box or bag, as contact and constant rubbing and friction between the optics will cause scratches and damage. Do not store optics with heavier items on top of them.
- Never blow on the optic. It is recommended to use a air puff when removing dirt from the optics. Do not chew gum or talk while holding laser optics to prevent saliva contamination. Saliva particles will often stain the surface and it is very difficult to clean or remove.