Chad (08.10.14, 5:38 PM): Very good tip, thank you.
However, I would suggest finding an alternative to Armor-All. As many automotive detailing buffs (pun intended) will tell you, Armor-All is a consumer grade dress-up product which is known to dry out rubber and vinyl over time, causing it to crack and crumble. I don't use Armor-All myself, so take this with however many grains of salt you wish, but the car-care guys have experience spanning decades, so I tend to trust their observations.
There are similar products which will not cause rubber decomposition: Meguiar's #39 and #40 are good (#39 is a cleaner only, #40 is the same but also contains a protectant). 303 Products "Aerospace Protectant" is another I see frequently recommended.
For a lens, my choice would be Meguiar's #40. Let it penetrate, then wipe away excess with a clean cloth. This gives a fairly natural matte lustre, without a greasy residue.
I'm sure your zoom ring is not going to fall apart the next day after putting Armor-All on it, but for long-term care of an expensive investment like a Canon L lens, I would personally avoid repeated use and spend the extra dollar or two on a high-grade cleaner / protectant, if only for the peace of mind.
shutterwideshut (11.14.12, 1:13 AM): Thanks for a great post!
Steve Lefkovits (10.22.12, 3:23 PM): Thank you for this tip, it's a great reminder to clean slowly and carefully and use the right cleaner. I was introduced by an Alaskan photographer to a great cleaner called Blu Goo that he swore by for use in salt water environments. I had a salt buildup on my old 17-35mm lens from my hands and from using the lens on the water. Q-tips and Blugoo did the trick in refreshing the rubber grippers - http://blugoo.com.
Gabriel (02.14.12, 7:45 AM): Hey! I don't think I can get Armor All in Romania, Europe. I see on their site they have a lot o products. Which one did you use? Maybe knowing that, I could find something similar on the local market. Thanks!
Alexandra (11.07.10, 8:25 PM): I continue to learn from you, thank you!
Eddie (11.05.10, 9:33 AM): On my way to the garage to get that Armor All. Thanks for the tip.
Michael Andrew (11.04.10, 4:37 PM): Yes, Armor All on the seal as well!
Jim (11.04.10, 4:34 PM): This is why I love this site. I pick up great little tips that help so much! Thank you for sharing!
Toby Roybal (11.04.10, 3:48 PM): Good stuff, I am going to go home and clean my lens!
Alex Rubio (11.04.10, 9:37 AM): Fabulous tips Michael, thank you. As far as the rubber seal in the bottom of the lens, clean it with Armor All as well? Thanks again...!
Carla (11.04.10, 9:30 AM): Sorry, I was trying to ask if the seal at the base of the lens could need replaced. It looks dry and worn. I will see if the Armor All helps.
Carla (11.04.10, 9:25 AM): Thank you! I am going to get Armor All and give my lens a good cleaning. Is it possible that the seal at the could need replaced? It looks worn.
Boz (11.04.10, 8:11 AM): Great tip Michael!! I was one of those using alcohol - this is such a better idea. Thanks!
Ria (11.04.10, 3:46 AM): superb tip... thnx a lot! :)