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Optics cleaning

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I'm sure everyone will agree it's not only nice but essential to keep photographic and astronomy gear clean and in good order, in particular the optics. At the moment I just use a lens pen and an air bulb blower but was wondering what other's experience is + is there other / better  equipment/ stuff for cleaning the optics: camera lenses and inside, refractor objective lens surface, eyepieces?  

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Generally speaking less is more on astro optics. Small particle of dust will not affect views.

Top and bottom lenses on eyepieces should be kept clean, use a blower brush but clean with a cloth, if at all, very sparingly. Baader wonder fluid and the supplied micro cloth is good, always apply the liquid to the cloth rather than the lens, that will stop liquid getting inside the lens elements and between lens elements. I also use a Celetron lens pen for out in the field, they are quite good but again used very sparingly if at all.

Telescope lenses, the best advice is dont clean unless you really absolutely have to. If a scope is kept capped when not in use it shouldnt pick up much at all. A blower brush is the most it should be subjected to.....if something nasty happens then Baader wonder fluid again but carefully....the coatings on some stuff are not that tough and lenses are precision parts so dont apply pressure or scrub, very gentle wiping only. Not sure why you mention cleaning inside, not much should get inside a scope but if you do get something in there ( i once heard of someone getting a moth inside a telescope) make sure you mark the orientation of the lens to the tube before removing and clean very carfully.

Reflector mirrors are even more fraglie in this respect and their coatings can be quite soft so pure soap flakes and warm water, soak for a bit and then wash down with distilled water, you can buy it at xhemists and its cheap enough, the distilled water will allow the merror to dry without any smears or water stains.

I have never cleaned any of my scope lenses or mirror in 5 years and the eyepieces are also seldom cleaned,if they are handled carefully and capped when not in use theres no reason they should ever need much and I wear mascara so mine are at a greater risk anyway. After every observing session I always check all my gear and make sure all is well. A blower brush is handy as it will blow grit away rather than having the grit ground in with a wipe.

Generally the only stuff I have cleaned have been my orthos as they sometimes bump against my eyelashes which when loaded with mascara can leave the odd smear, a very gentle wipe with wonder dluid does the trick.

The worst curse for me is the rubber eye cups which can pick up foundation make up and are permantly discoloured by it over time and take on a greyish/buff colour at their edges. I am too vain to be out without a face on so thats just one of those things us women have to bear :)

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Very difficult to say, if it does not need it then just leave it.

If it does require cleaning then be careful, but glass is tougher then thought.

You spray some pretty evil stuff on your windows and they come up great, you run two hard rubber blades over your windscreen and they come up cleaner and clearer.

To an extent the biggest problem will be getting off whatever you clean it with and leaving no residue. What remains often looks worse then what was initially there.

This crops up at regular intervals and as it goes no real hard and fast rule, other then be careful.

Mirrors can be a problem as the protective coating is not always good and aluminium is a reactive metal. Afraid that Synta/Meade/GSO/Revelation do not go that great on the protective overcoating on their mirrors.

I tend to use IPA, cotton wool and a micro fibre cloth, and lots of time.

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Thanks for everyone's thoughts. I agree, clean only if absolutely necessary and be very careful.  However, I find with the refractor the object lens does seem to get a bit dusty and in these very cold nights the dust seems to stick more; either way it has to be cleaned form time to time.  I tend to gently wipe away the dust and, if necessary, buff the lens with the pad of the lens pen - I saw a retailer do this once so figured it was the correct way.  Is this OK or too harsh?    

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