It’s really more confusing than difficult to clean glass. There are a lot of cleaning products on the market that promise to make window cleaning quick and easy. And it is quick and easy as 1-2-3 if you follow these tips from Glass Doctor.
1) Decide whether to use a retail glass cleaner or make your own.
If you use a retail glass cleaner read the contents.
- It may have ammonia, which cleans best but has strong fumes and leaves streaks. It may have alcohol, which dries quicker. It may be a combination. Both are effective, but they are flammable.
- Some glass cleaners are tinted liquid in squirt bottles and some are foamy in aerosol cans. Wipe fast with a tinted liquid, it can streak the glass. Foamy cleaners stay put, which is great for inside windshields. However, they may contain petroleum products that are harmful in large amounts.
- Most environmentally safe cleaners have citric acid. This is an effective cleaner, but you have to dry it off quickly so it won’t eat into the glass.
- Spic and Span® by Proctor & Gamble® is marketed as a glass cleaner and hospital-grade disinfectant. It may not be available in stores, but it is available online in high concentration for professional use. Go to http://www.pgpro.com for more information.
If you make your own glass cleaner, use the right ingredients and the right recipe.
- A simple, effective homemade glass cleaner contains vinegar and water mixed equally.
- Pilkington, a leading window glass manufacturer, recommends one part vinegar to 10 parts water for tinted or treated glass. Anything stronger can damage the tinting.
- Consumer Reports recommends a mixture of 7 pints of water, 1 pint of rubbing alcohol and a half-cup of ammonia. This mixture cleans better than vinegar and water, just be sure to follow the recipe specifically; it is toxic if swallowed.
- Never use bleach or abrasives in a glass cleaner mixture. The resulting fumes are toxic. Plus they damage the glass.
If you are going to store homemade glass cleaner tint it with blue food coloring so that you remember what it is.
2) Clean the glass without damaging it.
Use a clean, dry cloth when you apply the cleaner to the glass. Preferably the glass is dry too. If there is no visible dirt on the glass, first spray the cleaner on the clean, dry cloth instead of spraying it directly on the glass. Ignore your grandmother’s advice and don’t use newspaper. It sticks to the glass and gets your hands dirty for no good reason.
- Never use brushes, abrasives (like powder tub and tile cleaner or baking soda), razor blades, credit cards or steel wool. Glass scratched with these things usually must be replaced.
- If you have never used a new glass cleaner before test it on a small part of the glass. Make sure it dries clear. If the glass is cloudy there is residue and possibly chemical damage to the glass.
- Use a squeegee to remove excess cleaner from the glass before you dry it.
- Dry the glass with a separate cloth. There are new micro-fiber cloths that do an amazing job of removing cleaner without leaving spots.
- Be sure to get all of the glass cleaner off the glass, or it will dry into a film that slowly contaminates the glass.
Watch out if you get glass cleaner on latex paint. It could take the paint right off.
3) Consider using a glass treatment protector.
Now there are a number of glass treatments that repel water, such as Aquapel® by PGW, which is available at many Glass Doctor locations. Most glass protectors are designed for windshields, but they can be applied to shower doors, mirrors and windows as well. Make sure the glass is thoroughly clean and dry before applying a glass protector. The glass protector needs time to dry according to the instructions.