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Lenses Coated With Dust, Dirt


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I have a messy situation, literally.

Have a piece of equipment we put in storage and I go to retrieve it for a new location, and the thing is covered with dust.  Looks like the dust cover popped open or was left off from the very beginning.

Anyway, I'm afraid with the level of dust and dirt particles that have gotten all over it that even blowing off with compressed air will cause scratches.

What's the gentlest way to clean dust, dirt from sensitive optical printing equipment?  I am terrified that even gentle cleaning will cause permanent lens degradation.

Please no "it'll be fine," answers, I've heard those hundreds of times over the years and nine times out of ten, things aren't "fine" when you half-ass anything in photography :-/

I've tried to contribute a lot of useful information on process control on here, now I need a similar high quality level of help from those pros on here who've had to refurb, revive old equipment.


Happy Superbowl Sunday to all of you who have no idea what that even is ;-)

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Difficult one this- I agree with what you say ref air blowing etc.

Why not go the other way round and start off with a vacuum cleaner approach. At least this should remove loose particles away from the lenses.

Then, assuming the lens are well sealed you need to use a foam type cleaner to gently lift whats left, something like this-




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Thanks for the tip, Tony T.!  That's a really good idea, will try a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, then maybe compressed air followed by cleaner.

I'm paranoid about lenses, glass surfaces seeing idiots compulsively cleaning lenses day in day out resulting in purple smears, worse purple scratches where the anti-flarge coating was partially removed.

Any recommendations for wires, circuitry that has probably suffered a similar fate?

I have to confess a near totla ignorance of electronics.  E=IR W=IR^2 is about all I know and I only kind of know how to apply those two.  I have heard multiple times things like dust, cigarette smoke kill circuitry, though, and figure it's better to nip it in the butt before powering the machine back up.

LOL, ever watch the Star Trek episode where they revive Khan Noonien Singh and "probably some dust" causes his suspended animation chamber's oxygen to short out?  :-/

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Hi, i now work in lens production and surfacing and would say that Tony is on the right road. Firstly remove surface grit, dust with a vacuum atatchment then use a lint free cloth with a decent lens cleaner to remove any left overs!. The coating on the lens will only usually break down if scratched or cleaned with abrasive cleaners but go gentle anyway. It also helps to clean in a circular motion, hope this helps :) by the way meths is great to use in small quantities as it also removes grease and tabacco etc etc

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