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emadmoussa

Alternative to Baader magic fluid?

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Can you use an off-the-shelf screen (tablet/laptop/phone) spray with a micro-fibre cloth to clean eyepieces, mirrors, or refractor lenses? 

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Ive used micro-fibre cloths on glazing and although  they are like magnets to dust and particles, I still can't get the glazing to sparkle, unlike when using news paper and Windowlene 4-1, plus the attraction of particles could suggest transferring  from one surface to another, therefore a multi-used cleaning option?

That said, I don't enthuse on using Windowlene 4-1  for your optics, its not advisable by 99.9% of the good folk here, but I was that  0.1% and saw nothing untoward afterwards with regards to the image quality. I  used cotton wool with the liquid, but it will dissolve the adhesive donut on the mirror. SO KEEP WELL AWAY!

I now use these for all my cleaning tasks when it comes to optics or screens! https://groceries.asda.com/product/contact-lens-reading-glasses/zeiss-lens-wipes/910000797660 It does say on the box, Professional cleaning solution, Thorough and gentle cleaning, High quality micr-fine tissue, and particularly  effective for high quality coated precision lenses? Not though for cleaning contact lenses?

HTH.

Edited by Charic

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I'm sure you can. But I look at at it this way.

A bottle seems expensive until you realise it lasts for years and is a fraction of the cost of the glass it is cleaning.

If a lens or eyepiece (hundreds of pounds) does get damaged by the fluid, I'm sure both the retailer and Baader are going to be on it very quickly.

If a lens is damaged by 'wizzo computer cleaner' who is to say what caused the problem?

David.

 

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I too use the Zeiss cleaning wipes as mentioned above by @Charic for a quick clean, (i.e. oils from eyebrows & eyelashes etc). Otherwise it is the Baader Wonder fluid and micro-fibre cloth for a more permanent clean.

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I have on order distilled water and 99% isopropyl alcohol. But since I'm extremely lazy, I need something already mixed and ready to use. Yes, Zeiss wipes seem like a good choice, I'll have a look. 

I don't actually think the Baader fluid is particularly expensive, given it lasts for a while, but I was exploring other options. 

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What also works is 70% (or higher) alcohol, and Televue recommends acetone. I'm not sure though that all brands react equally well to acetone, so  I keep that exclusively for the surface of my dielectric diagonal.

Here's a nice video of a how a keyboard reacts to acetone

 

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Or try to make your own Baader Wonder Fluid based on their MSDS.  It's 25% ethanol and 35% Propan-1-ol (an isomer of isopropyl alcohol).  I know it sounds terrible, but I've had good luck with Windex window cleaner as well.  I'm sure there's a British equivalent.

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13 hours ago, Louis D said:

Or try to make your own Baader Wonder Fluid based on their MSDS.  It's 25% ethanol and 35% Propan-1-ol (an isomer of isopropyl alcohol).  I know it sounds terrible, but I've had good luck with Windex window cleaner as well.  I'm sure there's a British equivalent.

I was just going to post exactly that...

Other products use ethanol and glycol solution, Zeiss use propanol solution.

I have used whiteboard cleaner which is methoxy propanol.

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I'm under the impression optics are a lot less delicate than manufacturers - and hardcore astronomers - lead us to believe. I remember I cleaned the mirror on my 12" Flextube with a screen cleaner and it was just fine. 

As for Acetone, there's no way I'd put it near the glass. I used it occasionally to remove dirt and sticker remains on scope body. 

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5 minutes ago, emadmoussa said:

I'm under the impression optics are a lot less delicate than manufacturers - and hardcore astronomers - lead us to believe.

The market is just cashing in on the fear we are causing ourselves and each other.

The glass and coatings of the eye lens of an eyepieces are very hard. An eye lens a small element that can be coated at high temperatures without much chance of it cracking from heat stress. Consequentially, it can be hard coated.

Objective lenses, corrector plates and especially mirrors have coatings that are much more delicate. These are generally not exactly wear resistant. Unless you are very careful, repeated cleaning these surfaces will cause ever more micro scratches in the coating and dull the optics. You may not notice any difference before and after a specific cleaning, but the damage accumulates over time.

---

The danger of acetone is not for the glass or for the coating, but for anything around the lens that might dissolve in the acetone and get smeared out over the glass. Paint or plastics will do that. 

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I've read, and it made sense to me, that for cleaning optics it is important to use a cleaning fluid that leaves no residue at all after evaporating. No products that contain soapy substances, leave anti-fogging films, films that make surface dirt repellent or make water run off smoothly. For that reason, Windex, or screen cleaners and most products for cleaning glasses are not recommended. The same goes for rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover (mostly acetone) because these contain lotions.

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I've polished a stainless steel teaspoon, then quarter filled it with whiteboard cleaner. I'll wait for it to evaporate and report back on any residue (unless the fumes make me too blaaaarghll...

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Earlier today, I used water and then rubbing alcohol 70% (dab, dab, dab...rotate, rotate, rotate with microfibre cloth) to clean condensation residue on the front corrector of the EXT90 Maskutov. It was the first time, a quick clean. I gave it a quick run under the star before the clouds attacked. 

Edited by emadmoussa

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So, the bottom line, Baader fluid is an all-round cleaner, eyepieces and mirrors? Other solutions, like rubbing alcohol, may - in the long run - be harmful to mirror coating? 

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