Cleaning a lens covered in nail polish ;_;

Hi all,
A user on my lab’s inverted widefield scope decided to ignore all of my instructions on proper lens care and doused our 100x in nail polish used to seal coverslips (I think–it wasn’t oil and seemed to dry hard). After cleaning up my tears, I am now wondering how to clean this lens. Acetone seems the obvious choice, but information as to the safety of this solvent is a bit sparse on the internet. Anyone have an suggestions?

Ugh, how awful! I recommend asking the lens manufacturer for instructions on how to remove it.

1 Like

Some manufacturers (eg Nikon) repair broken objectives you send them, so they should also be able to clean it in the safest possible way.

1 Like

True - we have sent lenses to Nikon with unknown seemingly unremovable substances on them. If you need contact info for one of the microscopy companies @MJS88, let me know.

Thank you for the advice! As Dr. Waters suggested I contacted a Nikon representative and they suggested methanol. I will give that a try before having it sent for repair.

Great. Let us know what works. And please call me Jennifer!

My condolences!
Aceton is a big NO for microscope lenses! Any organic solvent must be avoided because they may dissolve the glue holding the lens and allow for water and mold to “sneak” in. An exception is isopropyl alcohol. It is gentle enough and if you are careful you might be able to clean it. However if it is a high level expensive objective I would contact a manufacturer licensed service to be on the save side.

1 Like

Nothing more to add reall, except good luck! And, be sure to ask Nikon for a loaner lens while yours is out being cleaned (unless you already have a backup), they have many lenses in inventory, and unless its a super expensive lens (where they may only have a few in demo inventory), they will typically loan to you. In addition to nail polish, if could be dried Type F oil, several months ago they ‘ran out’ (or so I was told by Nikon) of the non-drying Type F, the replacement will dry, and when it does, its like dried honey, not fun.

Any luck @MJS88? Still thinking about your poor lens!

Hi there,
Methanol worked out OK. Some of that, elbow grease, and kimwipes fairly easily removed the substance from the outside. For the lens, repeated (more repeated than I would have liked) “drag and drop” style cleaning and a little bit of touching up with a lint free swab seem to have removed it. I haven’t had a chance to check some beads, so I don’t know if everything is perfect, but it certainly looks clean. The only thing that worries me is that the spring mount is a little sticky right now–not sure what to do about that.