The usage of microscopes has become a necessity with other scientific essentials in this growing world. To get high-quality, enlarged images, it is crucial to keep your microscope clean. Obviously, who would want to see dust particles coming up on their magnified image? If, unfortunately, the dust particles stay on microscope glasses for long, for example, condensers, filters, and lenses, they can further catch more moisture, making the microscope tough to clean.
One should be punctual in cleaning a microscope to let it work properly and magnify your concerned specimen. Let’s move further to learn the steps of cleaning a microscope and the materials used for this purpose.
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Materials Used in Cleaning a Microscope
Before understanding the entire process, we should know about the materials generally used for this purpose. Most microscopes types and related suppliers utilize the following things to deep clean a microscope:
- A bar of soap or detergent – free from color & fragrance
- A lot of cotton swabs
- Plastic gloves or chemical-free latex for one-time use
- Medically graded isopropyl alcohol or similar reagents
Use the Solvents Carefully
Ensure complete information and instructions to use a microscope whenever you buy any microscope brand or model. Every manufacturer gives its rules and recommendations to practice equipment. If, in any case, you’ve employed a cleaning agent that wasn’t for the specific microscope, it might cause damage to its surface. Furthermore, it’s not always essential to clean microscope optics after using it. Use the cleaning materials to thoroughly clean a microscope when you see visible dust particles on it. Every time you cleanse it, know that it will leave scratches to some extent.
Why do we recommend carefully using the solvents? Being chemicals, These materials are not always suggested while cleaning a microscope. Using these active ingredients can damage or destroy your microscope lens (its components and construction).
We would advise you to initially utilize distilled water to wipe your equipment or remove the dust particles with an air shot.
If this doesn’t work, the next option is to acquire pure isopropyl alcohol.
Take a cloth and pour 1-2 drops of this alcohol on it.
Now keep this alcoholic cloth on the microscope’s particular region and deeply cleanse it. This way, you can gently remove the dust particles with just a little usage of chemicals.
Two Primary Steps – Cleaning & Disinfecting
The most prominent part of a microscope is its frame that consists of arms, base, and body. It is necessary to wipe out the dust or dirt particles if seen in these areas. The first step is to clean the microscope and then come disinfecting it entirely! One shouldn’t confine himself to just cleaning slide or a microscope but disinfecting it is also essential. It prevents the spreading of infection in the surrounding. We usually employ an eyepiece, objective lens, focusing knob, stage handle, and microscope arms to see a specimen. Hence, these portions should always be kept clean and disinfected to get good magnifying results.
Soak a piece of cloth with a toxic-free detergent in a small amount to wipe the microscopic frame. It will help you eliminate the stains if any. The next step is to further cleanse it with a cloth drenched in lukewarm water. Once it’s cleaned, do not touch the lens with your hands.
It is a process that helps kill all the germs residing on a microscope. You can use ethanol (up to 70%) as it’s the safest chemical, protecting your equipment body. Do not use any other organic solvent, or else the plastic parts will be at risk of damage.
Besides regularly cleaning and disinfecting your microscope, one should always follow the necessary precautions to promote a hygienic environment. Below are a few tips accordingly:
- Always wear gloves while wiping and disinfecting your microscope.
- After you’re done cleaning it, discard the used gloves and wash your hands for almost 20 seconds. You can also sanitize your hands with an alcoholic hand sanitizer containing 60% of alcohol.
Detailed Process to Clean a Microscope
- Take bellow brushes and blow away all the dust particles existing on the microscope with little pressure (making sure to protect the microscopic parts).
- Now take a cotton swab and dip it into your prepared cleaning solution (alcohol).
- Remove the excess alcohol from the swab by shaking it off.
- Initiate the cleaning process from the optical lens. Move the cotton swab in a circular motion on the lens and gently reach the outer edges.
- Take an extra dry cotton swab and remove the excess liquid or residue present on the microscope. Let it dry completely.
- You already have the bellow brushes with you! Use them to rub out the remaining dust or dirt particles.
- Take a loupe (magnifying glass) to observe the entire microscope and see if there is any dirt still left or not.
- If you find something to clean, repeat the procedure. Make sure to take a fresh cotton swab for the repeated process.
- Take professional’s help if required. You can also contact its manufacturer to grab knowledge about how to clean that specific microscope.
Things to Avoid
Every procedure has its do’s and don’ts, so does cleaning a microscope. Always remember to avoid the following points:
- Never use toilet paper or rough tissues to clean an eyeglass lens, as it can leave scratches behind.
- Do not trust the aerosol sprays for cleaning a microscope.
- Never buy lens cleaning solutions, no matter what brand they are! Preparing your solution with little chemical quantity in it is the most effective in a cheaper amount.
- Never purchase pre-prepared cotton swabs as they might not be as effective as preparing fresh ones.
Additional Information to Protect Microscope
Regularly cleaning or disinfecting your microscope is not enough to protect your equipment. Besides these, you should also analyze the environment around it. Always place your microscope in a neat and clean space with a moisture-free surrounding. Try to provide it with a consistent temperature and take complete precautions to avoid dust particles.