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.