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What is the best lens cleaning solution?

rtcaryrtcary Member
edited August 2011 in general photography
Years ago Kodak sold lens cleaning solution and tissues, however I now see some brands I do not recognize. So I am curious what others use since my current solution seems to leave some residue, though very slight.



  • I recommend a microfiber cloth instead , they are reusable.
    Use lens cleaning soulution sparingly.
    The brand doesn't matter they all have the same formula Alcohol and distilled water.

    Lou Recine
  • rtcaryrtcary Member
    The one thing that concerns me about the microfiber cloth is if any grit got on it, I would be doing damage to the lens (lenses). Thoughts?
  • I usually put a UV filter over my lens and clean that would use the pre-moistened eyeglasses lens wipes from Lenscrafters. I usually shake the microfiber first before using it.
  • Tissue have a rougher surface to them and can scratch the lens if not used properly. Seen it with my own eyes.
    I sold cameras for 15 yrs and alway used a Microfiber cloth with never a scratch and I'm talking $8,000-$10,000 pieces.
    I agree with Stephen a good UV filter is a must but I'm talking B+W or Hoya premium level here. I've seen to many lens ruined by lack of a UV filter being used.
    Don't be swayed by people that say UV filters cut down on sharpness.
    That " Urban legend " was started by people that purchased high quality lens then got the UV filter out of the Bargain bin. A high quality filter is just as important as the lens.

    Lou Recine
  • StephenStephen Member
    edited June 2011
    I use a B+W filter and use a eyeglasses lens wipe on it. I have not seen any noticeable scratches.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited June 2011
    The very first thing I do, check if lens has any noticeable specs of dirt or just general smudges. Big difference in how to clean then.

    If specs and not simply smears from fingers, etc. I use a really good quality small artist's very soft brush, and 'flick' off the specs first, starting from centre and flick outwards. [I saw this about 25 years ago by an old cameraman who explained the principle behind it]

    Then, I spray a small amount of solution [I have solution in a spray pump] onto a microfiber cloth and in small circular actions, once again starting from centre and working your way outwards. The old school years ago was to put some drops of liquid onto centre of glass and rub away outwards, I found it could be harder on glass especially if gritty residue was also present, and that method was prone to streaking, this of course before micro

    Immediately after using the solution, use another part of the cloth to then repeat to make sure all solution is removed.

    One thing I did notice a few years back, like you Todd, when I bought some good quality filters, B+W, then I used the same solution I had done so for years, it left slight smears, could not remove properly, so I did some researching and found that I needed to get a better quality cleaner and they suggested to use B+W so I did and not a problem since. So solution in my case did make a difference.

    Oh, here is a handy link: Just found it after typing all the above. :)



    Edit: PS, as Lou said, use sparingly the cleaning solution, too much is a waste and harder to remove all. Less is more.

  • rtcaryrtcary Member
    Many thanks for the detailed explanation on how to clean lenses (actually, my filters that are on the lenses). One more item though: where does one get the B+W solution and microfiber cloths?

  • You can get microfiber cloths at places that sell primarily eyeglasses, but most good camera stores will stock them.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited June 2011
    Todd, I live in Australia so don't know where you live, States?

    Just Google B+W Opticlean Spray and the Microfiber cloth.

    Here are links on what you are looking for [Australia]

    Solution: http://www.mainlinephoto.com.au/prod609.htm

    Cloth: http://www.mainlinephoto.com.au/prod630.htm

    This is the particular 'set' I bought [2 of, 1 spare in case I lose a set which I have done in past]: http://www.mainlinephoto.com.au/prod633.htm

    That will show you what they look like.

    Here is a vast selection of cloths [could not find spray] from B&H:


    As Stephen said, you should be able to get them at any top camera store or even eyeglasses place for the cloth, I would not personally try any cleaning solution from them, unless you are familiar with the brand.

    That particular spray is the 4th Brand I have tried over the years, the other 3 were all similar, just depended what was in stock when I went for refill, but definitely the B+W spray wins hands down IMO, especially on B+W filters.


  • dentforddentford Member
    edited August 2011
    I usually clean with a 3M microfibre cloth, does great job
  • For cleaning solution I am using Eclipse (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=eclipse&ci=8470&N=4294204066). Cleaning solutions are not just alcohol and water. Low quality Alcohol & Water cleaning solution leave a slight haze or residue left on your lens. Yes, you can then proceed to "buff" it out. The haze is impurities left in the alcohol or water. Eclipse is 100% Methanol, with less than 5ppm contaminates. No haze. I also use Pec Pads (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/71154-REG/Photographic_Solutions_PAD44_Pec_Pad_Photo_Wipes.html). I keep them in their original packaging and sealed in a kit that I've put together for cleaning. My preference for Pec Pads is that they are disposable and I don't want to risk having grit or dirt on a microfiber cloth that is used over and over and stored in my camera bag, which is certainly less than sterile. I remove the pad holding it from a corner, and then gather the four corners together forming a small "balloon" of pad material. Apply the Eclipse solution to the pad and then clean the lens. I found that using a single layer of pad and eclipes would leach oil from my fingers onto the lens surface.
  • rtcaryrtcary Member
    edited August 2011
    Recently I got new eye glasses and when I mentioned using those packets available in many stores, his reply was "never use them because they contain isopropyl alcohol and it will damage the coating on the lenses. Instead he gave me a recommended solution (he is a long time Rotary friend).

    I agree with the danger of using a micro fiber cloth over and over. I'll look into Eclipse and Pec Pads.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I use the same stuff that I clean my sensor with, to clean my lenses:
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