Can I use Window cleaner to clean fungus from old manual lenses?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by kenri_basar|1, Jul 25, 2015.

  1. Can I use Window cleaner (Colin) to clean fungus from old manual lenses?
    I've used it before on the surface but now I've run out of lens cleaning solution so I was wondering if I can use it to clean fungus since I am dismantling few old Manual focus lenses and cleaning the inner elements now.
    I've read somewhere that it destroys the lens coating but I've not notice (obvious) damage to the glass. Instead they look sparkly clean and also non static.
    Can someone tell me why I shouldn't use or if it is okay to use the glass cleaner on lens for fungus cleaning?
    What is the composition of the glass cleaner vs lens cleaner?
    Does it make any difference?
    Thank you.
  2. I believe that some camera technicians use hydrogen peroxide solution to remove fungus followed by a glass cleaner.
  3. I was of course drawn to this question by the name of the glass cleaner. I have not come across this product before and can't find any indication of active ingredients. However it is recommended for TV screens etc so might be OK for lenses if you can't get anything more specialised.
    The main question to settle is whether the cleaner is at all abrasive. Many cleaners are abrasive and have a creamy consistency. Using an abrasive cleaner would tend to leave very fine scratches all over the glass. This would not be good for lens surfaces.
    So if you think the cleaner is abrasive I would not use it, but otherwise it might be OK. Cleaning off fungus often takes quite a bit of effort but if the lenses are otherwise useless it might be worth doing. I suggest you might test it on one lens and see what happens.
  4. SCL


    The lens cleaners I've used consist solely of isopropyl alcohol. You should check the list of ingredients on your glass cleaner bottle to ascertain its composition.
  5. Think I would want to know what the 'shine boosters' were. If that includes ammonia, I may not be too keen.
  6. Hi Kenri! you can mix Household Cleaning Ammonia and Hydrogen Peroxide 50-50 and swab the fungus. The Fungus will drop off. Then clean the residues with filtered water and blow dry. Mix the Ammonia and Peroxide just before you apply it on the glass. The mix will be effervescing with nascent Oxygen.
    If there is etching it will remain. If you cannot get Ammonia [Blue print shop will sell some. Surgical instruments shops also sell some] you may use Colin. It does contain Ammonia. Colin is almost the same as Windex in the US. Best. sp
  7. If using alcohol, the 91% isopropyl alcohol is preferable over the more common 70% concentration.
  8. I had my truly loved Rolleiflex Automat (1938) catch the fungus. Luckily I found it in the early stages.
    The hydrogen peroxide treatment (repeatedly, with a bit of soaking) killed the fungus, and seemed to have removed it completely.
    Nonetheless, I hit it with some isopropyl alcohol too, just for good measure.
    Then I cleaned it in my normal fashion, blower, soft brush, ROR lens cleaning fluid on a clean microfiber cloth, and finally, a lens pen.
    Looks like new!
  9. Thank you all!!! Lovely replies.... :D Cheers~
  10. The usual window cleaners are either ammonia based or acetic acid (vinegar) based, probably with some soaps and scents.
    You can get pretty close to plain ammonia solution in most grocery stores, which might be a better choice. Choose the one with the least added ingredients.
  11. As one of the best known camera repair techs of many years ago stated:
    "Windex is as good a lens cleaner as any."
    I'll stick with that. It has worked well for me through ten years of camera repair.
    If a lens is already etched by fungus, it's toast or a re-polishing job, not done by me!
    Actually, some of the prime candidates, such as the f1.5 lens on the Mamiya Super Deluxe can probably survive a bit of typical fungus etching at the very edges and can perform well, but be unsaleable in the marlet.

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