A microscope is a tool regularly utilized in the medical, scientific, and academic realms, but most kids would love to have one. Proper cleaning protocol is often overlooked when performing regular maintenance on these sometimes complex, mechanical tools. Now days, you find a microscope in more homes.
While dusting it down with a regular old cloth, or storing it inside of a cabinet might seem like a fine idea, simple actions like these can cause a microscope to deteriorate quickly.
Protect Your Microscope
Before we delve into the process of cleaning your microscope, it should be noted that there is one very simple thing that you can do to keep the lenses, knobs, and objectives working for years to come. It doesn’t require safe cleaners, additional funds, or following a manual. It’s as easy as using a dust cover. Really, it’s that simple. A dust cover prevents dirt, pollen, lint particles, animal hair, and other microscopic invaders from damaging the mechanics or magnifying performance.
Tools Needed for Cleaning
- Canned Air
- Micro Fiber Cloths
- Lens Paper
- Lens Safe Cleaners
- Oil Remover
Canned Air for Dust and Debris
Once you have removed the dust cover, it’s time to get to work. Start out by spraying canned air on the microscope’s exterior in order to remove all visible dust and debris. These tiny particles have a tendency to collect in hard to reach nooks and crannies, so make sure to inspect the objectives, knob mechanics, and base.
Once you start working on the lenses, be careful not to spray the canned air directly on the glass. This can cause a sandblasting effect, ultimately leading to scratches or nicks and a loss in magnifying quality.
Wipe Down Microscope With a Dry Microfiber Cloth
With the initial dusting out of the way, it’s now time to get any remnants that the canned air may have missed. Take a dry microfiber cloth and carefully dust off the base, knobs, and additional components. Skip the lenses, as that will be part of the next step.
Lens Care and Cleaning
Now it’s time to give the lenses a cleaning. Make sure to only use safe cleaners that are specifically for this purpose. Doing so will prevent damage.
Don’t make the mistake of spraying the lens cleaner on the lens directly. The solution can leak inside the lens components and affect the machine’s ability to function. Instead, spray a small amount of lens cleaning solution on your lens paper, and then carefully rub the lenses in a gentle clockwise motion. This will help clear up any smudges or oil marks, and will also capture any other debris you may have missed during the dusting process.
For a quick and creative way to clean the objectives with safe cleaners, take a Q-Tip and spray one end with lens cleaner. Now, carefully run the Q-tip around the exterior and interior of both components. Finally, flip the Q-tip around and dry off any excess cleaning liquid that is left behind. Voila!
Remove Immersion Oil Buildup
Due to its ability to assist in magnification, immersion oil is commonly used when working with microscopes. Before storing, remove any leftover oil with a lens appropriate safe cleaner. If you don’t, the compounds can damage the lens plate and other components. Any non-toxic immersion oil remover makes the process easy. Spray the oil remover on a new lens cloth, and carefully rub the affected area, making sure to remove all oil residue.
Pretty easy, don’t you think?
Remove Excess Lubrication Off the Knobs
The mechanics of every microscope are different, so before getting to involved, make sure to read the manually thoroughly and carefully. Over time, dust and other particles get stuck in the oil used to assist in knob movement. Take a dry, microfiber cloth and carefully dab any areas where you see excess oil. To assist in a knobs mobility, slowly turn it fully in one direction, and then back the other. This isn’t something you should do regularly, only once or twice a year.
By following these simple tips, your microscope will stay in good working order for years to come