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Is it possible to clean mold off of lense elements

Jim Galli , Dec 09, 2000; 02:30 a.m.

I got a "bargain" Ebay lense today that was actually NOS. No signs of use whatever. But sometime during it's storage life it has gotten a good case of mold on the inner rear element. It's a simple lens and the element surface is easy to get to. I tried cleaning it with alcohol and a cotton swab and got quite a bit off, but not all. Is there a solution or is this a garbage can item?


Thanks in advance for any help. Jim Galli, Tonopah Nevada


William Levitt , Dec 09, 2000; 04:00 a.m.

I read a thread recently that using an amonia solution is the trick to getting rid of fungus. You might want to go and check the other threads for more detailed information. It was too long ago so you should be able to find it quickly.

David Goldfarb , Dec 09, 2000; 08:28 a.m.

Even if the damage is severe and there is coating damage or etching of the glass, don't give up on the lens until you've actually tested it. Surface flaws like this make the lens undesirable to collectors, but often make very little difference under most shooting conditions. The improvement made by using a lens hood is often greater than the degradation caused by surface flaws, in my experience.

Jim McDonough , Dec 09, 2000; 09:58 a.m.

Try putting the lens in the bright sun for a day or two. This worked for me once and failed to work another time, but it would appear to be worth a shot.

Sean Yates , Dec 09, 2000; 11:17 a.m.

I've tried grain alcohol, rubbing alcohol, Windex, water, bleach and amonia on an old uncoated lens I was given free and I couldn't get the fungus to budge. I soaked one cell in undiluted amonia and later undiluted bleach. NOTHING!


However, I can still get negatives good enough to contact print.


Is this a coated lens? If not you might try acetone.

Jim Galli , Dec 10, 2000; 01:05 p.m.

Yes the lens is multi-coated. It is a nice little Konica 90 in a Seikosha shutter originally intended for 120 I suppose. I'll clean it up the best I can and use it a bit for close-up on 4X5. Thanks all for the nice response. I'm a first time user. Jim

Matt Oulman , Dec 11, 2000; 03:59 a.m.

Although I have not tried this (so if a lethal gas is generated and kills your dog, don't blame me!), Ed Romney recommends equal parts Hydrogen Pyroxide and ammonia, applied with cotton swabs.

Jim Galli , Dec 11, 2000; 11:06 a.m.

Hmmmm........... May be a double remedy here. Clean my lens, and the neighbors dog keeps me up all night. I'll give it a try and post results.

Duane Kucheran , Dec 12, 2000; 02:53 p.m.

I echo the Romney lens cleaning solution. Equal parts Hydrogen peroxide & ammonia works well. It will remove anything organic. I cleaned an old Kodak lens and except for some slight patterns it came out great. Any mark that's left is an etched coating which can't be removed without recoating the lens.


BTW, I had some lens elements coated for a piece of optical test equipment and the cost was about $300 for a simple BBAR of two or three layers. Most of the cost was in the setup and cleaning. I'd thought of having some of my older pieces recoated at the same time but never got around to it.





Vivienne Cooper , Jul 22, 2011; 08:11 a.m.

I'm actually looking for how to clean my lenses & came across this. I'm new & certainly no expert but in anything/anytime I want fungus removed I use white vinegar. It actually kills it. It can't be as damaging as some of the 'remedys' I've been reading. Good luck.

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