How To Clean Binoculars So That The Lenses Don’t Get Damaged
If you want to keep your binoculars in good shape, you should learn how to clean them. Whether you bought a cheap pair or spent a lot of money on some of the best binoculars on the market, you have made an investment that needs to be protected. Let’s know how to clean binoculars, keep them away from dust, especially the surface of the lenses.
The first step may seem obvious: don’t get them dirty, to begin with. Lens caps can be hard to get on and off, but they protect your optics while you move and set them up. We don’t know why manufacturers almost always make lens caps black, which makes them easy to lose at night. It’s also a good idea to review how binoculars work (opens in new tab) so you know why some parts are so sensitive.
Don’t touch the lenses with your fingers when you’re using binoculars. This will always leave an oily streak that will make it hard to see the stars. You might want to just clean this up, but be careful. Paper, even soft tissue, should never be used on an optical surface. The paper is surprisingly rough, and it could scratch the coatings on the lenses.
Filipinos between 40 and 80 can take advantage of this chance.
Chemical layers are put on the lenses of binoculars and telescopes to let more light through, cut down on reflections, and eliminate aberrations that make colored fringes around bright objects. Coatings made today are pretty tough, but they can still get damaged. Remember that they are the only thing between the outside world and the expensive precision glass inside. If the coating gets broken, the lens and the binoculars are also broken.
Use a clean, soft, dry cloth, preferably made of microfiber, which should not leave any lint behind. If you see dust or grit, clean it first (see below), then carefully wipe the lens with the cloth. We suggest going around in a circle instead of up and down because any small marks left behind are less likely to affect how well the lens works.
Lens cleaning fluids or soaked wipes can be helpful, but they shouldn’t leave residue behind when they dry. If you’re unsure, try it on a window or drinking glass first to see how well it works before using it on your valuable binoculars. Never, ever use products from home to clean your windows!
Dirt, grit, and dust
These are your worst enemies when taking care of binoculars and good-quality telescopes. They can easily scratch delicate optical surfaces, which is most likely to happen when cleaning is done.
The trick is to get rid of dust and dirt without pressing them into the lens, which could cause scratches. The best way is to use suction, but unless you have a vacuum cleaner handy, you probably won’t be able to do this. A better way to do this is with a puffer brush and a small rubber balloon with a soft brush attached. These are cheap and can be bought in camera stores or online.
Holding the binoculars up so the bad stuff can fall out, blow a few puffs from nearby. Follow with a couple of circular sweeps with the brush (puffing simultaneously if necessary). You will almost certainly have shifted any dry dust or dirt.
If you can’t find a puffer, a soft-bristled brush is the next best. You can use a clean paintbrush or make-up brush; the softer it is, the better. Just ensure it is clean and, if possible, brand new, or you might worsen the problem.
Moisture and condensation
Do you have a little silica gel sachet, which soaks up moisture, in the case of your binoculars? It’s doing a good job there, so don’t move it. Your binoculars will cool down while you are out looking at the sky. When you bring them back inside, condensation can form on cold surfaces, like the lenses, because of the temperature change. This moisture will practically glue any passing dust to your binoculars and encourage fungal growth.
This is why you should dry your binoculars before putting them away. First, let them get to room temperature. Then, wipe them down with a soft, dry cloth, paying special attention to the surfaces where the light enters. Keep them in the case with the sponge. Tip: Silica gel can only soak up so much water, but you can make it work again by drying it in a low oven for an hour or two.
If you do these few easy things, your valuable optical investment will last longer and keep working as well as it does now.
Taking care of your lenses. The best way to clean your lenses is not to clean them at all or as little as possible. The eyepieces on your binoculars probably came with a cover. “Rain guard” is what most companies call this thing. Think of it as a “food guard” since the rain won’t do nearly as much damage to your binoculars as food will. Use the food guard if you eat or drink while wearing your binoculars. Keeping the lenses free of pizza sauce, Cheese Whiz, Pepsi, Gatorade, salad dressing, and potato chip crumbs are the best way to keep them clean.
Make sure to use your food guard on pelagic trips, especially if you tend to get sick. If you throw up on your lenses, you should wash them immediately with clean water (assuming they are waterproof). Even though you won’t want to, use your binoculars while still green. Don’t forget that if you don’t wash your binoculars right away, you won’t want to use them when you’re well enough to go birding again.
How to keep your lenses clean. Despite our best efforts, lenses do get dirty sometimes. Here are some ideas for how to clean them. First, you must know that all binocular lenses are covered with strange materials that keep light from reflecting off the polished glass surfaces. The quality of the picture you see through your binoculars depends on the coatings on the lenses. Coatings are only a few molecules thick and can only be put on in a factory under strict control. They can’t be used more than once. This is because the lens coatings are the most fragile part of your binoculars. They are easy to break if you don’t clean them with care.
If your binocular lenses get dirty or smudged, don’t clean them with your tie or handkerchief, the tail of your shirt, paper towels, facial tissue, toilet paper, newspaper, T-shirts, saliva, Windex, Glass Plus, or ammonia. All of the above paper products have wood fibers that will scratch your finishes. Tissues and paper towels may also have lanolin, leaving a terrible mess on your lenses. I don’t know what’s in your tie or handkerchief, so don’t use them. I also don’t know what your saliva might do to the coatings on your lenses, but it can’t be good. Windex, Glass Plus, and other household cleaners have ammonia, which will dissolve your coatings. NEVER use detergent on lenses.
Use only the soft cloth with your binoculars or a good lens cleaning cloth you can buy at a camera store to clean the lenses. Lens Crafters also sells paper towels I like using to clean my glasses.
As for liquids to clean lenses, you should only use ones that are made with isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the product’s label says it’s safe for coated lenses. Several optical companies, like Zeiss, sell lens cleaners with their brand names.
If you want to blow the dust off your lenses, hold the binoculars over your head and blow on them. Because of gravity, you shouldn’t be able to spit or dribble on the lenses.
Here are the steps
First, use a soft camel hair brush or compressed air to clean your lenses to brush or blow away any loose dirt. Then, lightly spray the lens cloth with a cleaning solution (never spray the binoculars) and gently wipe the lenses.
1. Don’t leave your binoculars on the seat of your car while you’re driving. You will run out of time eventually, but your binoculars won’t. They will go flying and hit you or a hard part of the car before they hit the floor and get knocked out of place. Since your trash cans will end up on the floor anyway, you might as well put them there from the start and save yourself the wear and tear. You might want to keep them around your neck if you are only going a short distance to your next birding spot. However, hitting something that makes the airbag go off might leave a permanent mark on your chest. A bird club field trip in a caravan of cars is a great way to learn about your airbags.
2. If you have binoculars, focus on infinity (with the eyepieces back) for travel or storage.
3. If your binoculars have solid twist-up eyecups, you should keep them retracted when putting them away or taking them with you. A bump or knock can cause the eyecups to become cross-threaded and stuck in place, which will mean a trip to the repair shop.
4. If your binoculars start to feel heavy after a day of birding, you might want to switch to a shoulder harness to take the weight off your neck. Don’t hold them by their straps, and swing them around. It’s not cool to swing them from their straps as you walk.
Now that you know something, telling others about it is your job. So, the next time you see someone abusing their binoculars, don’t call the binocular police. Don’t ridicule. Get to know the abuser. Tell them what to do. The truth will win out.