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How to Clean Your Binoculars

GET THE DUST OFF BEFORE YOU RUB

You've seen someone do it. Breathe on his binocular's eyepiece and then rub the glass with the corner of his shirt. Poor guy, he never knew he just degraded every image he would ever see with that binocular again.

How to Ruin BInoculars
WRONG WAY

The wrong way to clean binoculars

The breathe-and-rub method is really a formula for frosting the glass—like a glass shower door. A primary ingredient of dust is silica—in other words, tiny rocks. Silica is harder than glass. If you rub dust across your eyepiece, you gouge microscopic scratches into the glass and the ultra-thin coatings on lenses.

You can't see the scratches individually, because they're so small, but they scatter light. And so over time your binocular begins to give a cloudy image.

So the first rule of cleaning binoculars is GET THE DUST OFF BEFORE YOU RUB.

The right way to clean binoculars

Step 1
Lens PenRemove all the loose dust from the binocular's lenses.

Brush with the brush end of a lens cleaning pen. The brush is soft and won't harm the glass or coatings. (It may help to hold the binocular upside down so the dust falls away.)

Or blow with a can of air (from photo store). Don't use your breath — breath includes minute droplets of water that will spot your lens.

Step 2
Moisten a Q-tip with water or lens cleaning solution and float off any remaining dust. Or if your binocular is waterproof, you can actually run it under the tap (but don't squirt it hard). DO NOT use fluid designed for cleaning eyeglasses or windows, as it may attack the coatings.

Step 3
Now that the dust is gone, you can wipe the lens with lens tissue, a special micro fiber lens cloth, or a very soft cotton cloth (like a piece of a clean old cotton undershirt).

Do not use paper towels or facial tissue, as these are too rough. They often include wood fiber that will scratch your lenses or the coatings on the lenses.

Be gentle.

Remember! More binoculars have been ruined by wrong cleaning than by being dropped on the sidewalk.

© 2007 by Diane Porter
Photos of wrong way to clean binoculars © Michael and Diane Porter


    

 




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