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Cleaning/recycling microfiber lens cloths?
Old 11-24-2018   #1
Dante_Stella
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Cleaning/recycling microfiber lens cloths?

I have a bunch of microfibers that I would prefer not to pitch, but I am not 100% sure whether there is a good way to wash these that gets any grit* out without introducing some kind of residue that would then be smeared around.

Any ideas on what kind of detergent would be best?

Thanks,
Dante

*As in grit that would scratch a lens. For some applications, like wiping down a clear acrylic lamp shade, any reuse might be risky.
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Old 11-24-2018   #2
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Baby shampoo? I've used it without any problems. Well, I've also used Dr. Bronners Castille Soap, diluted, and had no problems either.

As to grit, that is mainly a mechanical issue, not chemical, yes? Good rinsing, agitation, etc. with a rinse that flows off in one direction.

Having worked with acrylic for years, the best material is 100% cotton clothe. With Brillianize or Novus #1.
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Old 11-24-2018   #3
MJ Buckpitt
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I use a simple hair shampoo, works a treat.
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Old 11-24-2018   #4
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I use a light hand soap to remove oil and grime. I rinse well and return them to eyeglass and lens cleaning duty.
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Old 11-24-2018   #5
Larry Cloetta
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I’ve just washed them all in the washing machine for years in any load comprised of synthetics, though definitely no softener. Zero problems, no streaking, no dirt, no coating damage, countless lenses, nothing untoward ever, but now you’ve got me worried about it. Was one of the few things I never had any reason to be OCD about, so now there are “concerns”, and I have to root around on my hippie shelf for Castile soap. Great, thanks.
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Old 11-24-2018   #6
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We have a top loader. I wash mine pretty frequent, probably more often than needed. I wash by themselves in the washing machine with normal clothes detergent (whatever happens to be least expensive while shopping). No softener. Although I am washing them alone, and the load is rarely very big, I still wash with a full load to ensure good rinsing. No trouble so far.

This probably doesn't need mentioning but I also use micro fiber towels for cleaning my vehicles and other things. I never mix these towels in the same wash load with those towels I am using for camera lenses or other glass surfaces.

I should probably also mention that I usually use q-tips to clean my lenses only using the towels for occasional use out in the field. But I do use them a lot to clean my scanner glass surfaces and other surfaces on the camera itself. I also have two or three very fine towels that I will use sometimes to wipe those rogue water spots that occasionally show up on the surface of film. I don't use them on the emulsion side but do use them once in a while on the other side.

I do like the idea of washing them with synthetic fabrics as that would increase the wash load size for me. I'll give that a try now that it has been mentioned.
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Old 11-24-2018   #7
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I use eye glasses and as a result have ended up with almost a surfeit of small micro-fibre cloths of the sort used to wipe smears off eye glasses and use these on my camera lenses. I usually hand wash these as needed. A trick I learned early on is to keep a small unused paintbrush with soft bristles in my camera bag especially when travelling (you can cut the handle off if this makes you feel better) . This is fantastic for removing dust from cameras and lenses before any kind of wiping with a cloth. This not only protects the camera and lens it keeps the wiping cloth cleaner and less inclined to need laundering.

Also I often like to use the big microfibre cloths too - the kind that are about 30 cm square and are sold in packs of 10 or 20 in hardware stores for washing cars, dusting etc. In addition to wiping down cameras and lenses, these are also great for wrapping cameras and lenses inside camera bags to guard against bumps and scrapes. These fellows are big enough to be washed in the washing machine.

My usual routine with the latter kinds of cloth is that they continue to be used and washed until they look a bit untidy with resistant stains etc and then they end their days fulfilling their ultimate destiny - dusting around home or washing my car.
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Old 11-24-2018   #8
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I hand wash them in a little mild dish soap and rinse really thoroughly. No problems so far.
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Old 11-24-2018   #9
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I toss them in the wash with everything else, using regular laundry detergent. Also guitar cleaning cloths.
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Old 11-24-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creenus View Post
I toss them in the wash with everything else, using regular laundry detergent. Also guitar cleaning cloths.
Same here. No ritual.
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Old 11-25-2018   #11
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When I bought a bulk bundle of microfiber glass-cleaning cloths once, the instructions that came with it said to not use any detergent or soap, that it would tend to stick to the cloth and make things worse rather than better. The suggestion was lots of clean hot water, and that oils would not stick to the cloth, would be washed completely out. I have been doing that, throwing a few in a mason jar with hot water, and shaking a lot, several cycles of water, only, for about the last five years with complete success and zero streaky lenses.

I want to stress that this advice did not come from an anonymous amateur source on some website, which invariably say to use a bit off soap---it came directly from the manufacturer. Make of that what you will.
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Old 11-25-2018   #12
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Microfiber cloths that get too old for lenses turn into camera padding in the bag or car polishing cloths.

Microfibers are cheap. I get them on sale or get them for free from optometrists.
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Old 11-25-2018   #13
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I like the idea of keeping a small brush with you. My eyeglasses have a ton of tiny scratches from cleaning them. That could be because the anti glare coating that they use is notoriously thin, but still, a brush off before cleaning is just good practice.

FWIW, I recommend not getting the scratch proof coating on your eyeglasses. That coating seems to go bad much quicker than the other coatings, and the result is foggy lenses. Also, watch out when opening ovens with your glasses on, as the coatings can be affected by a blast of sudden hot air.
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Old 11-25-2018   #14
Larry Cloetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdarnton View Post
When I bought a bulk bundle of microfiber glass-cleaning cloths once, the instructions that came with it said to not use any detergent or soap, that it would tend to stick to the cloth and make things worse rather than better. The suggestion was lots of clean hot water, and that oils would not stick to the cloth, would be washed completely out. I have been doing that, throwing a few in a mason jar with hot water, and shaking a lot, several cycles of water, only, for about the last five years with complete success and zero streaky lenses.

I want to stress that this advice did not come from an anonymous amateur source on some website, which invariably say to use a bit off soap---it came directly from the manufacturer. .
Here's what Hoya, a manufacturer, says, 3 options, one of which is just to shake the cloth around in the air and maybe the dirt falls away. Prayer facilitates this. Or hand wash it. Or wash it in the washing machine. These suggestions from the manufacturer are ordered, if I might guess, in order of effectiveness.. But, whatever.

http://blog.hoyavision.com/spectacle...ye-glass-cloth

Hand washing is for delicate things like frilly women's undergarments (do they still wear those?). There is nothing delicate about a microfiber cloth. Just nuke it already.

If your shirt got dirty where would you wash it? In the sink, or in the washing machine? Over and above the bother of trying to do it in the sink, you'd most likely put in the washing machine. Why? Because you and everybody else knows it would get cleaner that way. As it would. And more likely to get all the detergent completely rinsed out as well.
Hot or at least very warm water because that gets the oil out; they don't shrink. If you are traveling, sure wash them in the sink, but if you want to be sure something is completely clean and dust grit free, and thoroughly rinsed, put it in the washing machine. Not only the easiest, but the best, how often do those two things go together?

Or, just wave your dirty one around in the air for a bit, then rub that Noctilux with it. Manufacturer recommended, not some anonymous amateur on the web.

But being happy with what one has been doing, that's the main thing, I suppose.
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