Microscope Maintenance, Care, and Proper Use

The microscope is a valuable instrument so the care and maintenance of it is highly important.  There are many small objects or details of objects which cannot be seen by the unaided human eye.  It magnifies the image of such objects thus making them visible to the human eye. Microscopes are used to observe the shape of bacteria, fungi, parasites and host cells in various stained and unstained preparations.  Because of the intricate nature of a microscope, it is important that it is cared for and maintained. A few tips for the care and maintenance of your microscope are as follows;

Install the microscope on a sturdy, level table.  Equipment and instruments which generate vibrations should not be placed on or near this table.  The height of the table should be convenient for the user. As an alternative or in addition, an adjustable stool should be made available to make microscopy comfortable.

The microscope should be away from water, sinks, and racks containing chemicals, to prevent damage to the microscope from splashes or spills.

When your microscope is not in use keep it covered with a cotton dust cover, do not keep it in a closed box.  If you are not going to use it for a few days put it in a sealed, airtight plastic bag (made from thick polyethylene, not PVC) with a packet of silica (silica absorbs moisture from the air).  This will protect it from fungal growth and corrosion. Do not store it without the eyepieces unless the holes are plugged.

Before using the microscope wipe it with a clean cloth to remove any dust, and clean the lens with lens tissue or a separate piece of clean cloth.

Always unplug the microscope when it’s not in use.

At the end of each work day

  • Bring the variable voltage regulator setting to the minimum before turning off the lamp. Turn off the light source of the microscope.
  • Clean the microscope thoroughly with mild soapy water according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Use a rubber bulb to blow air over it to remove any dust.
  • Gently wipe the immersion oil off the objective, condenser and mechanical stage with lens paper or muslin cloth.
  • Clean the optics with a special solution of 40% petroleum ether, 40% ethanol, and 20% ether.
  • Never clean the lens with ethanol or dip the objectives in xylene or ethanol as it will dissolve the cement and the lens will come unstuck.
  • Replace the cover of the microscope and take necessary precautions against fungus.

Each month

  • Clean the objectives, eye-pieces, and condenser with lens cleaning fluid. Do not put fluid directly on the lenses; instead, apply it to the lens paper and then clean.
  • Remove the slide holder from the mechanical stage and clean.
  • With a tissue moistened with water, wipe the dust off the body of the microscope and the window of the illuminator in the base of the unit.

Every six months

  • Thoroughly inspect, clean, and lubricate the microscope after consulting the manufacturer’s manual. This should preferably be done by professional service personnel.
  • It is important to do preventative maintenance – this includes checking alignments and adjustments and focus.  Lubricate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Check and clean the mechanical parts.
  • If you are ever unsure about something with your microscope, please don’t hesitate to call the Medicanix team to assist you!

microscope maintenance