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Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloth

Posted by Paul Atkinson   07/09/2004 12:00AM

Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloth
[ARTICLEIMGL="1"]Ever had a long observing session? Ever get up the next morning, look at your eyepieces and think, “yuck!” Occasionally, you’ll find an eyelash. Sometimes you see little streaky lines where your eyelashes brush the lens and leave some of the oils on them deposited on your precious EP. Have you ever touched your eyepiece lens inadvertently in the dark? Again, human oils and dirt from your hand may be left behind. Ever see flecks? Guess what? Some of that might be dust floating in the air, or some of it might be flaking skin your body is shedding. After a really bad night you might wake and find a small bug that has gotten stuck on a dewy eyepiece. No matter what it is, it all makes your eyepieces dirty!

What to do? Now I am not about to venture into the huge debate about what process is best for cleaning eyepieces. However, I will tell you what one knowledgeable person told me once at the 2001 Winter Star Party. Asking this gentleman what method he preferred to clean his eyepieces he responded, “a little Windex and a paper towel.” What? Windex?? Paper towels??? Yep, that’s exactly what Al Nagler said to me right after signing the box of my brand new Nagler 31mm. Just my opinion of course, but I think he’s more than qualified to speak about cleaning eyepieces. Don’t you?

Years ago coatings were much more delicate than what is currently available today. The process of applying, chemical makeup, and technology of today’s optical coatings has led them to be much more durable and long lasting. As such, many companies now offer lens cleaning kits, micro fiber cloths, and whole myriad of other products to make the job easier. One of those companies is Carl Zeiss Optical, Incorporated.

Zeiss is probably one of, if not the most respected names in optics. Don’t think of Zeiss as astronomical minded? How about a for instance? Did you know that the camera aboard Mars Express that is currently mapping surface in 3D, in color and with unprecedented accuracy consists of a super-high precision camera containing the SRC objective manufactured by Carl Zeiss for Jena Optronik GmbH.. It only figures that they might know a thing or two about cleaning lens and lens elements. One such product they have available are their ‘Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths‘. Per the information provided on the box:

“Pre-moistened, non-abrasive lens cloths safely and quickly clean any lens, especially those with Zeiss anti-reflective multi-layer coatings. High-tech ammonia-free formula cleans effectively without leaving streaks or residue.”

Convenient cleaning of:

Prescription eyeglasses
Scopes and Binoculars
Anti-Reflective Zeiss ET Coatings
Sun and sport lenses
Computer Screens
Safety and sport goggles
Camera Lenses

As you can see, these beauties do it all. Each single use cloth comes sealed in a foil packet. Unfolded the cloth measures exactly 5” x 6” inches and can easily clean two or three EP’s depending on how dirty they are. Of course I recommend using a brush and blower beforehand to remove any hard particulates that might damage the lens. Once gently wiped with the cloth your lens element comes out streak free and nearly perfect. Folding or turning the cloth allows you to clean another eyepiece or two. For the perfectionist with money to burn, you can use one cloth per EP. However, for me, that would take nearly a box!

The only drawback to these cloths is because they contain isopropanol, they dry out rather quickly. Using a stop watch, I timed how long it took for one to dry out in a 68 degree house (I keep my house cold in the Florida summer heat!)with 40% relative humidity. At around 6 minutes the cloths felt dry enough that I wouldn’t use them any longer on my eyepieces. Of course this might vary in warmer drier conditions or humid, moist conditions.

Each box costs on average between $7 to $9 depending on where you buy them. Anacortes carries them for $6.95 a box plus shipping. That is as cheap a price as I have found for them on the internet. A box consists of 21 individually packaged wipes which at the price above averages about .33 cents a wipe. Not bad if you ask me. I carry a package of them in my astronomy tool box for quick cleaning and keep several boxes around the house. Since they are foil wrapped, if properly stored they last indefinitely and I have not had an instance of them drying out in their packaging.

I can say after using them for about 3 years that they are probably the best product available for cleaning your EP’s quickly and safely. They also work great on refractor lens and mirror diagonals. Try them, you’ll like them. Not only that, but you’ll feel just a little better than using Windex and a paper towel, although I hear that works too.

Click here for more about these Zeiss Cleaners. -Ed.