Cleaning Skylight/UV Filters
Being the paranoid type, I have always paired my lens purchases with (what I see as a requisite) skylight/uv filter purchase. Obviously, this serves to keep my lenses - the front elements, anyways - in something approaching pristine condition. That said, all the grime etc., deposits itself on the said skylight/uv. The problem: How to clean these things? My efforts never seem to meet my satisfaction. Streaks, spots, etc. always
remain. I use Kodak/Tiffen lens cleaning fluid and paper. I have also tried various cleaning pens. Both to no avail. So... how do you clean your filters?
I use a #60 sand paper.... (just kidding)
I use lens cleaning fluid for eye glasses, can of air, and two micro fiber cloths.
First, I blow off dust. Then use a micro fiber cleaning cloth that has been washed along with a lens cleaning fluid commonly used for eye glasses. Then, I use a second micro fiber lens cleaning cloths to gently go over the surfaces. Finally, I use the compressed air again to blow off the lint.
I only do this much cleaning when it's really dirty. Otherwise, a quick blast of air and a light wipe with the above mentioned micro fiber cloth only. I've learned, aggressive cleaning does more damage than dirt ever would.
I do not like paper products because they typically do not absorb moisture and most lens solutions do not evaporate quickly or cleanly. Also, IF grit get caught in it, it scratches badly - more so than cloths would.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
T-shirt does the trick most of the time!
Soap, warm water and a micro fiber cloth for the extra gritty ones.. After all we are talking about UV filters.
Lens?! That's a whole different story..
The fluid for eye glasses and can of air would be welcome by I never seem to have them at hand.
1. Blow any lose surface grit away with a blower and/or brush
2. I use a squir of window cleaner (from a mini atomiser) sprayed directly onto the filter;
3. Use a clean (make sure!) microfibre cloth to wipe and polish up
For really filthy filters, warm soapy water even dishwashing detergent and water, or liquid soap, and rubbing with thumb and index filter will clean up.
Dry with paper towel.
Some POL filters have very sensitive front glass that scratches easily. In my experience POL filters by Canon are the worst in this regard. No problems at all with B+W, or Hoya but I never use Canon filters (only their cameras!!).
Proprietary lens cleaning fluid could be anything at all and often smears, creating a worse mess to clean up. Out in the field, blowing on the filter and cleaning with a mf cloth is fine. I wouldn't be too paranoid about how to treat modern-day filters: they are are tough breed and a great investment to prevent potential damage or careless cleaning of front elements.
Eyeglass cleaner usually leaves a streaky detergent film by itself. Rinse filter under tap to remove the lumps, a good spray with eyeglass or window cleaner, if still grungy, more cleaner and rub with fingers, then a final rinse then dry with lens cleaning tissue or a clean cloth and it is factory clean again.
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Brush it off with a natural hair make-up brush. Use a piece of real cotton dampened with some denatured alcohol and then wipe clean with a dry piece of real cotton. I usually take a large cotton ball,tear it in half and use one half for the alcohol and the other for drying. Gentle is important. I've never scratched or left a cleaning mark on either a filter or a lens using this method. Bill Barber