During the manufacturing process of a telescope’s optical components, the environment in which this takes place is kept to a standard of cleanliness comparable to that used in computer chip fabrication. Yet once their happy new owners remove them from the comfy nest of factory packaging, they emerge into surroundings that are decidedly hostile to their pristine attributes.
The air they are exposed to is fatally laden with gallons of sticky water vapour, clogged by gritty mountains of particulate matter and (where eyepieces are concerned) doused in sebaceous oils from eyelashes (that may also be coated by mascara!). Once deposition occurs, this detritus then acts as an engine of catalytic reactions that can eat into the fabric of the glass itself.
Suitably scared? Do not be. Whilst it is a general guidance that cleaning should be left unless absolutely necessary, there are products that are designed to do this as gently and effectively as possible.
Having all the tools in one place, working in concert, is a great idea. Cleaning optics should always be approached as a careful, precise, military-style operation; this corralled armoury includes cleaning fluid, dust removal brush, a VariAir 200 compressed air unit, lens tissues and cotton swabs.