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Cargille™ Immersion Oils

Tips for the removal of immersion oil from microscope lens

Determining how to clean a lens depends very much on what type of oil has to be removed. One of the many advantages of the Cargille™ Brand of Immersion Oils is that they are generally soluble in a number of common laboratory solvents such as methylene chloride, heptane, toluene or xylene. Some non-Cargille oils or refractive index liquids may require different and more aggressive solvents.

The next step is to make sure that the solvent you are using will not harm the objective. For the better and more name-brand recognized microscopes, the above mentioned solvents generally are acceptable. However some of the other microscopes, ones that are generally low in cost and not to international standards have objectives that could be damaged by one or more of these solvents. Therefore it is always important to check your microscope's User's Manual which should supply information relative to acceptable solvents for lens cleaning. If you do not have the manual, then contact the manufacturer directly before applying any solvent.

For the actual cleaning, the best technique (in our opinion) is to "wick off" as much of the oil as possible using SPI Supplies® Brand Lens Tissue Paper. When it looks like all that can be removed this way has been removed, we next dip the end (corner) of the lens tissue into the selected solvent, and using a minimum of solvent, proceed to clean up the objective. Since these solvents are generally not good to be breathing, with some even being carcinogenic, minimize exposure to the vapors. Never tip the objective into the solvent solution!

After cleaning, we recommend a final "swipe" of the lens cleaning tissue, using absolute alcohol (assuming it is compatible with the objective lens) to remove any residues from the previously used solvents.

Remember that the Cargille fluids are always formulated to be easy to remove in contamination situations and to possess the minimum possible toxicity. This does not mean that all Cargille fluids are easy to remove, or that they are non-toxic, quite to the contrary, but it does mean that relative to competitive products, the Cargille fluids are easier to remove and product vs. product, represent lower levels of toxicity.

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