Marty's guide to cleaning
lenses and mirrors

Marty was nice enough to give us a short demo on the proper way to clean optics, such as lenses and mirrors. Rubbing these types of components off with a regular facial tissue can damage their specially prepared or coated surfaces, therefore it’s important to follow the correct procedure and use the right cleaning materials.

Below are some basic guidelines – for more information, Thor Labs has a very comprehensive tutorial on handling and cleaning procedures for optical components.

  1. Gently blow on the optic’s surface to remove excess particles and dust.

  2. Use a lens cleaning tissue, but handle it carefully because oils from your fingers will come off onto the tissue.

  3. Fold it over a few times and use a corner surface to make a final crease for tucking the two ends together. This helps ensure that you haven’t touched any part of the tissue that will come in contact with the optical component.

  4. Place a drop of methanol onto the tissue. If there is a lot of oil on the optic, clean the surface with acetone first, then repeat with methanol.

  5. Wipe the optic’s surface once, in one direction. You shouldn’t reuse the same surface of the tissue twice, so repeat these steps with a new tissue for each subsequent wipe.

Remember - always take care when handling lenses and mirrors, and make sure that your fingers are not touching the top or bottom surfaces.