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Anybody Ever Clean up Really Dirty Optics?

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Anybody Ever Clean up Really Dirty Optics?

Postby Red Dave » Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:09 am

I was asked by an older friend to clean up a couple of his rifles and check zero on the scopes. I picked them up a couple days ago and found that he wasn't kidding when he said they needed to be cleaned up. They sat in an open gun rack, in a dusty basement for the past 20+ years. They really need attention. I know how to clean up the rifles, but the scope lenses have a layer of dust/crud on both lenses, but mostly the objective lenses because that was "up" during storage and collected the most dirt.

Air blast and a camel hair brush doesn't move it. That is usually all I need on my scopes, but I think I need a solvent to get this stuff off, but I'm afraid to use my usual "go to" cleaners on coated optics. I'm leery of anything like regular glass cleaner for fear of damaging them. The dirt is dry and I don't want to rub it around for fear of scratching, so I think something is needed to dissolve/loosen it, but what can I use that won't do more harm than good?

The Leupold site suggested 90% isopropyl alcohol. Another site suggested lens cleaner, like you would use on eyeglasses. It also said that most lens cleaner is 100% isopropyl alcohol, did you ever hear that?

Anybody ever clean anything like this?
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Re: Anybody Ever Clean up Really Dirty Optics?

Postby Alias » Sat Sep 25, 2021 8:21 am

Dave I bought a spray bottle of no-scratch lens cleaner at the optical kiosk at Wal Mart about a year ago. It is made by a German Firm called Ziess who also manufactures surveying instruments, telescopes, and other optical equipment. If you can't find it you may like to try 90% alcohol with a soft cloth cleaning clothe.............gfp
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Re: Anybody Ever Clean up Really Dirty Optics?

Postby Red Dave » Sat Sep 25, 2021 11:53 am

George, that seems to be the consensus of the several people I've talked to about it.

I've got a small spray bottle of lens cleaner and some lens paper. I'll give that a try.
Thanks for your response.
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Re: Anybody Ever Clean up Really Dirty Optics?

Postby Red Dave » Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:08 am

George, I used the lens cleaner and lens paper and it worked perfectly. I wasn't sure what was going to happen because I've never encountered lenses that were this filthy. You could feel the crud when you touched it.

But, they cleaned up far more easily than I expected.
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Re: Anybody Ever Clean up Really Dirty Optics?

Postby mowmud » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:43 am

RD, glad it worked out for you. I have a similar story that involves a telescope.

A few years back on one of my makeshift river camps, I had a temporary dock. At nighttime, it was the only place you could go to get out from the canopy of trees to see the stars. The river is nice and calm at night. I set up my telescope out there. It was wonderful.

Now I don't know for certain, but I'm sure the beer and wine had something to do with it... I left the telescope set up out on the dock when I went to bed down.
The next morning was a bright sun shiny day. Boaters will be out. I woke up to sounds of waves crashing on the banks of the river. I was enjoying it, every thing is normal... then I remembered my telescope. I hustled out there and sure enough it was laying in the water sideways. The river there has a sandy bottom and fairly clear water. I used to have 4 of the smaller objective lens, now I only have 3. The smaller ones that go on the viewport end.

Anyhow, I rescued it. Water inside and out. Took me a week to take that thing apart and clean it. The main lenses have to go back in exactly right... don't want to flop them 180*, it just won't work. After I got the lenses out, cleaning was straight forward.

Hint: Docks are a great place to look at the stars. Even when you have calm water, you have to walk lightly and be still, because any little vibration causes a variance of thousands of miles... depending on what your looking at.
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