How do you clean used lens exteriors from grime?

Started 11 months ago | Questions thread
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OrdinarilyInordinate
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How do you clean used lens exteriors from grime?
11 months ago

Specifically, I got a used Nikkor 18-200mm VR, and after cleaning it up inside (inside the front element) and outside, it's been a stellar lens so far. But there's one trouble part that I'm fighting with: the focus ring. It feels a bit gritty, and I don't think there's anything I can do about that, right? Also there's some grime on it that I've partially cleaned off but a lot is still remaining, looking shiny and feeling slightly sticky. With the rest of the lens being now spotless and looking like new, I really want to do something about the focus ring.

My main concern is that if I use a cleaning compound and a cotton swab to go between those ridged lines on the ring, some of the grease gets pushed into the two circular gaps between the ring and the lens body--I don't want more of it ending up under the ring and adding to the grittiness. How do you deal with cleaning your lens exteriors that have some old dried in grime in tough spots?

Also my current cleaning liquids aren't cutting through that grease that well, and it's more about the wetting and mechanical friction of cotton swabs so far, as I'm afraid to use anything harsher that could damage the surface.

(And an unrelated note: it's normal to hear a bit of an electric buzz noise when this lens focuses?  Every lens I've had so far has sounded differently when focusing, so I can't compare.)

 OrdinarilyInordinate's gear list:OrdinarilyInordinate's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Leica D Vario-Elmar 14-150mm F3.5-5.6 Asph Mega OIS Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 Sigma 60mm F2.8 DN | A Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +2 more
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