Problem Cleaning Lenses

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Awhile back, I've been reading up on how to properly clean lenses on So I went and got myself a basic lens cleaning kit with the solution, cloth and tissue wipes.

However, I noticed that when I use the solution, it tends to leave stains on the glass which even the tissue cannot remove. The stains look like I thought that the solution which I was using was not good.

Finally I decided to go down to Cathay and with their recommendation, I bought a bottle of Eclipse solution made by Photographic Solutions Inc. in the US.

After cleaning my lens, it seems that the problem is still there: the oily streaks. Basically after cleaning the glass look clean and clear, but if I were to use a torchlight to illuminate the glass, you can clearly see the streaks.

Am I doing something wrong? I've also tried using less solution, but the problem still persists......have any of you guys encountered this problem? Should I get my lens cleaned professionally and lean from them?


Senior Member
Feb 20, 2002
Perth Australia
Here's my method(s) for dealing with lenses and filters.

Method 1 - Normal levels of dirt/muck on filter (also good for front/rear elements of lenses)

1) Use a blower brush or canned air to remove as many of the larger dirt/dust particles as possible.

2a) If lens/filter is normally dirty. Breathe on the filter heavily (as per step 4 below) until a good dense 'fog' appears.

2b) IF the lens is really filthy (or filter) Apply pure (99% or better purity) Isopropyl Alcohol to lens/filter with a Cotton tip working from center of glass to edge in a circular fashion. Do not apply pressure to cotton tip and rotate tip while moving.

3) Lightly polish with either an optical chamois or microfibre cloth

4) Breathe heavily on lens glass until you get a good solid deposit of 'fog' and polish again with optical chamois or microfibre cloth.

Repeat steps 2a-3 as required.


Lens Cleaning Fluids
Many so called lens cleaning formulations leave residues as they are designed for cleaning spectacles! These cleaners may also damage the coatings on filters and some lenses.

Isopropyl alcohol comes in several different levels of purity, the good stuff (99.5% or better purity) is only available from a Chemist/Pharmacy and in most countries you will have to demonstrate that you have a need for it as it's often used to adulterate alcoholic drinks. So take a lens down and show em why you need it!

Distilled Water is the best thing for cleaning mucky filters .. dunk the filter in to a bowl of distilled water and let it soak for a few minutes, then slosh the filter around in the water before removing and standing the filter on edge.

When the filter is almost dry do the breathing on filter routine (step 2a) and polish as per above.
In the case of Salt water residue I use Windex in the field as I've yet to find any damage to filters made in the past 20 years.

Polishing Pressure
Use the minimum pressure you can when polishing filters and lens elements with an optical cloth. Though lenses are quite tough and many are now coated with a tough overcoat being heavy handed only shortens the life of the coatings.

Optical Chamois, MicroFibre Cloth and Optical Tissue

Hama Optical Chamois is excellent for all general cleaning of camera equipment, is a synthetic material and is extremely soft and complient. Can be cleaned by hand washing in distilled water. It is made from a non woven fabric created through a multi-dimensional entanglement proceess using 0.0001 denier ultra micro fibres.

Microfibre Cloth is similar to Optical Chamois except that is is a woven material normally using thread of 0.1 denier or finer. Washable as per Hama optical Chamois.

Lens Tissues
There are so many varient types, some are good, some are bad. I no longer use lens tissues as the results re mixed and too variable for my liking.



Thanks for the instructions like a charm :)

I've got clean lenses again :) I think my previous mistake was using too much pressure....


Feb 27, 2002
Khon Kaen, Thailand
I used one of the those lens cleaning stuff and a piece of chamois cloth... AND... my UV filter is scratched. could the chamois be dirty?

Are you supposed to wash the chamois cloth after each cleaning?


New Member
Feb 8, 2002
Under your skin
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Originally posted by Romulus
I used one of the those lens cleaning stuff and a piece of chamois cloth... AND... my UV filter is scratched. could the chamois be dirty?

Are you supposed to wash the chamois cloth after each cleaning?
Probably. I don't wash my chamois after every cleaning. Just when it's significantly dirty. Use warm water with a little soap. :)


Staff member
Mar 11, 2002
to wash your hands thoroughly BEFORE anything. I greased a front element once from cooking oil transferred from my fingers to the cleaning cloth.


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