10 Tips for Microscope Care

Proper care and maintenance of your microscope can extend its life by many years.

Tip 1: Handle with care

Most microscope problems occur as a result of improper handling. When carrying your microscope, hold it by the base and the metal support arm. Do not pick it up by the stage, as this can cause misalignment. When transporting it, use a microscope bag.

Tip 2: Keep lenses clear of slides

When using your microscope and adjusting the focus you will need to lower the objective lens down as far as it will go. However, you should never allow the lens to touch the slide you are looking at. Dirty lenses can be difficult to clean.

Tip3: Clean after using immersion oil

If using immersion oil, always ensure the objectives are cleaned immediately after use.  Objective, eyepieces and condenser may be removed for cleaning. Use only lens paper and lens cleaner.  Do not use solvents

Tip 4: Cover when not in use

All microscopes are sold with dust covers. Always keep your microscope covered when not in use even if the microscope is stored in a cabinet. Eye tubes also need to be kept free of dust so do not store a microscope without the eyepieces. If the microscope eyepieces must be removed, cover the tubes with caps or a plastic bag with a rubber band around the eye tube.

Tip 5: Look after the bulb

  • After using the microscope, turn off the illuminator and wait for it to cool for several minutes before putting it away. By allowing the bulb to cool you will extend its life
  • When turning the microscope on and off, use the switch not the power point.
  • Do not switch the microscope on while using full light intensity
  • Never touch the bulb with your fingers as the body oils can burn into the bulb and reduce its life. Use a tissue.
  • Keep a store of replacement bulbs and always use the correct bulb.

Tip 6: Store in a clean, dry place

Make sure you do not store your microscope in an area that has corrosive chemical fumes that can destroy lenses or metal parts or beside solutions that may leak. Salt air and pervasive damp can also cause damage over time. Make sure your cabinet is ventilated.

Tip 7: Only use special lens paper or wipes for cleaning the lenses

Microscope lenses can easily be scratched and should be treated with great care. Use an aspirator to remove dust.  Sticky residue can be removed with lens paper moistened with distilled water or lens cleaning solution and rubbed gently using a circular motion. Never use sharp instruments or anything abrasive on the microscope lenses. 

Tip 8: Keep your User’s Manual and wrenches in a safe place

Each microscope should come with a user's manual and specialist wrenches as required. Always consult the User's Manual before making any adjustments to your microscope and use the wrenches provided. Never over-tighten or use force when performing any maintenance on your microscope, or use inappropriate tools.  This can damage the parts.

Tip 9: Perform an annual maintenance check

  • On an annual basis moving parts on the microscope should be cleaned and lubricated. Clean grease and dirt from sliding surfaces using a clean cloth. Apply a very thin layer of lithium-based grease to the sliding surfaces. Do not grease the teeth of the rack and pinion gears. 
  • Inspect the power cords and plugs for safety and stock up on a supply of replacement bulbs.

Tip 10: Have your microscope serviced professionally

A rule of thumb for frequency of servicing is every 200 hours of use or every 3 years, whichever comes first.