Cleaning an old 35mm lens barrel

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Norm Dresner, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. Norm Dresner

    Norm Dresner Guest

    I have an old 35mm lens that I want to sell. The glass is flawless but the
    metal barrel is dirty -- looks like accumulated finger grease and dirt from
    years of handling. What would be a good solvent/chemical for cleaning the
    barrel that won't mess up any of the plastic or "engraved" numbering?

    Norm Dresner, Jan 29, 2006
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  2. Hi Norm

    Try a little isopropyl alcohol on a cotton bud.
    This fluid usually removes grease without damaging plastic parts BUT here is
    the usual warning - try it where it wil not show if things go wrong.

    Best wishes,

    Fred Anonymous, Jan 29, 2006
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  3. Assuming you have not had luck with a mild detergent-damp cloth, I have
    found the best tool for this job is naphtha. AKA - lighter fluid!
    Sounds ridiculous, but try it. It is a very 'gentle' petrocarbon,
    dissolves grease and stains in a flash (do I sound like an ad?), and
    will generally not affect rubber, plastic and most paints.. but there
    is never a total guarantee, so check carefully first... It's an
    essential campanion for the tinkerer with sensitive cleaning needs..

    Obviously use sensible precautions and see your doctor if pain
    persis... oh whoops.
    mark.thomas.7, Jan 29, 2006
  4. I use a clean cloth dampened with alcohol, myself.....The alcohol evaporates
    away too quickly to get into any of the optics as a liquid, and it cleans
    well without harming the plastic or paint.....
    William Graham, Jan 29, 2006
  5. Norm Dresner

    That_Rich Guest

    Endust makes anti-static cleaner for monitor screens and such.
    I use it to clean my camera bodies and lens barrels. Does a fine job.
    I suppose any non-ammonia glass cleaner will work just as well.
    Never spray directly on the surface to be cleaned, I moisten a paper
    towel with the liquid then dry with a soft, lint free cloth.

    That_Rich, Jan 29, 2006
  6. ----I would be very careful not to get any solvent on the lens
    surfaces.....I have no idea how well optical coatings would stand up to the
    various solvents.....
    William Graham, Jan 29, 2006
  7. I'll second the lighter fluid - I've probably cleaned hundreds of lenses
    with it without any negative effects.
    Chris Loffredo, Jan 29, 2006
  8. I'll second the lighter fluid - I've probably cleaned hundreds of lenses
    with it without any negative effects (both glass and barrel).
    Chris Loffredo, Jan 29, 2006
  9. I purchased an old, used SONY monitor for my computer about two years ago.
    It works well, but I noticed that the anti-glare coating on the surface of
    the screen was partly worn off. This had absolutely no effect on my viewing
    of the picture, since there is a dark wall behind me, but for some reason, I
    had this compulsive drive to clean the remaining anti-glare coating off. (It
    was either all there, or all not there for me) Well, I tried everything ever
    made by the hands of man on the stuff....I tried Windex, freon, carbon
    tetrachloride, trichloroetheline, alcohol, WD-40, Trumpet valve oil, name it....That stuff was (is) the toughest coating I have
    ever seen....If they coat lenses with that stuff, we would never have to
    worry over what we cleaned them with....We could clean them off with sand
    paper....It took me hours and hours of rubbing...The best stuff was the
    Goo-Gone....That got more of it off than anything else. It still took hours
    of work, but I finally got it all off. Now, I am looking for the stuff to
    recoat it with. There is one company that I found via Google that makes a
    spray can anti-glare coating, but they say it's for TV screens, and they
    don't recommend it for computer monitors....They don't say why. So, here I
    sit, with a perfectly clean computer monitor that has no anti-glare coating
    on it.....
    William Graham, Jan 29, 2006
  10. It only _looks_ like accumulated grease and dirt? In reality it is
    something different?
    Windex and a toothbrush. A little bit of BonAmi if needed.

    If there is tar/glue to be removed then either lighter fluid
    or Goo-Gone [citrus oil].
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jan 29, 2006
  11. Norm Dresner

    John Malone Guest

    Maybe it's OK for this barrel cleaning job but I believe Windex is the worst
    product on the market for glass or windows. Anything in a pressurized can
    for window cleaning beats it 100:1.

    Now when it comes to rubbing alcohol - best product for cleaning most
    everything. Cheap, works good. Will not melt or destroy anything including
    hands, nose, ears...
    John Malone, Jan 31, 2006
  12. I use a clean cloth dampened with alcohol, myself...
    Umm, you don't think alcohol is a solvent??? Maybe I misread that -
    but the point is that even the purest alcohol *can* damage some types
    of paint, plastic and rubber, and it does in fact react with ..
    aluminium! And there is the risk that someone might use rubbing
    alcohol or 'methylated spirits' as it is called down here in Oz, and
    that is horrible stuff for cleaning! For those who aren't aware, those
    liquids are only partly pure alcohol, and the other added stuff
    generally isn't good..

    Before knocking naphtha (lighter fluid/'ronsonol'), I suggest you do
    some tests. I have, and my (admittedly unscientific) tests indicate it
    is much less likely than alcohol to discolour, remove or damage the
    surface of metals, plastics, paints.. and that strange and fragile
    'anodising' (?) found on the inside of many *aluminium* lens barrels.

    So a google search on 'cleaning camera naphtha' for many supporting
    links, eg:

    I first found out about it from a professional camera repairer.
    mark.thomas.7, Feb 1, 2006
  13. Here in Oregon we can buy a 70% solution of ethyl alcohol from Rite Aid,
    over the counter. It is product number 0 - 11822 31386 - 5 (16 oz. bottle)
    In California, I could buy pure ethyl alcohol, but I had to buy 4 gallons of
    it, at $40 a gallon. (The vendor told me that 50% of that money was taxes he
    had to pay the government.) So, I found 3 friends who wanted a gallon each,
    and we bought 4 gallons.......It's all about money, guys.......
    William Graham, Feb 1, 2006
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