Lens Cleaning Wipes

Hi All,

Has anybody used the pre-packaged Zeiss lens cleaning wipes for cleaning objective lenses? The pre-moistened wipes here:

Zeiss are really quiet obsessed about their glass, so I’d imagine they’d be pretty safe. They’re aimed at more consumer products, but list “lenses on cameras, binoculars, microscopes, webcams and many others” on the back.


my favorite has always been clinical grade cotton tip swabs and using Sparkle followed by 100% EtOH. Any comments on that much appreciated too

They were using them in my current lab, to clean everything including objective lenses, before I joined. I put a stop to that practice.

Hi Shawn,
thanks for the follow up. I’m really curious to know why. Is the paper too abrasive? Does the alcohol mixture they use affect coatings/glue etc?


Oh, and your other message doesn’t show here.
Your question on Sparkle; no ammonia. They even sell a product specifically for lenses, but we’ve always used the standard glass cleaner.


p.s. and who wouldn’t want to buy a product from a company called Funk :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t assume that a product designed for eyeglasses would be safe to use on objective lenses. With objectives, we have added concerns of protection of antireflective coatings and adhesives. So I would not use these wipes.
Also a note on Sparkle…the version that is marketed as specific for lenses appeared on the market after the company realized scientists were using it for cleaning expensive optics. As far as I can tell, this is the same product without the purple dye and marked way up in price. I’ve heard concerns that residual dye left on the lens could cause background fluorescence, but I’ve not seen any evidence of that (and a followup wipe with dH2O should remedy that if there are concerns).

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Our lab is a mix of people from control systems (programmers) and mechanical eng. department. That is all they were using to clean everything. They were just using bear hands to handle unmounted optics and even gratings. Having worked for a company dealing with optics, generally, they use non-contact methods (ultrasonic).This means in a nutshell that as soon as you “clean” a lens, it probably won’t pass QC anymore (but ‘‘looks’’). As an example having spent about 3 months working out the all the settings and particulars for the production of just ONE new component on a planetary lapping machine…it personally pains me to see things “ruined” right out of the box.

That being said, lenses do need to be cleaned from time to time. Went out bought canned air, lens tissue, kim wipes, various solvents, gloves, finger cots, IPA, acetone etc. Then sat everyone down and gave a tutorial. Starting with…handling…to any dust between the tissue and surface will work like a lapping machine…to lets use a vent hood for cleaning/assembly since it keeps the air moving…to what to do about gratings and special coatings.

They are not “bad” its just that we needed to (and every lab should) establish best practices that work for them. Also, they are not economical, but are convenient. This was also important because some labmates wanted to open a start-up. To me it is similar to laser safety, and there should be a mandatory lecture and training.

In a production setting basically nothing other than highly purified/DI water, industrial alcohols, and/or acetone is used. If you are willing to spend some extra money for more valuable optics (objectives, gratings, etc.) this is worth a try:

Newport, Edmund and other places distribute it. Its also good for storage.

Sparkle (ammonia free) and thorlabs lens tissue are the best for cleaning objectives