How to Clean Different Types of Glass
Glass is a modern material you easily take for granted. However, when it comes to cleaning your windows, mirrors and car windshields, those streaks and hard water spots are incredibly frustrating. Learn how to clean glass with the top techniques for a streak-free finish.
Tips to Get You Started
No matter what type of glass you’re cleaning, follow these universal tips:
- Use soap and water, commercial glass cleaner, or a mixture of one part white vinegar and four parts water (preferably distilled water).
- Avoid cleaning glass in direct sunlight to avoid streaking.
- Start from the top of the window and work your way down. When washing windows of a multi-story home, start with the second-floor windows.
If your windows don’t have any special coatings or technology, you probably have annealed glass. Window made from this type of glass shatter into large pieces when broken.
Fortunately, annealed glass is easy to clean:
- Heavily soak the window with soap and water or glass cleaner.
- Gently scrub areas with stuck-on debris or scrape the hardy glass with a razor blade.
- Remove soap and water from the glass with a squeegee.
- Follow up with a microfiber towel to thoroughly dry the window.
Harder than annealed glass, heat-strengthened glass can withstand rapid temperature swings. When it breaks, it shatters into smaller pieces than annealed glass.
To clean heat-strengthened glass, follow the same techniques as cleaning annealed glass, minus scraping with a razor blade.
Often referred to as “safety glass,” tempered glass is five times stronger than annealed glass. It shatters into pebble-sized pieces, making it less likely to cause injury.
Tempered glass is easy to scratch, so be sure to use a high-quality window cleaner and soft microfiber towel. Don’t forcefully scrub the window, and never scrape with a razor blade.
From tinted windows to low-E coatings to glass with reflecting films, coated surfaces are meant to decrease heat buildup in your home or car. The coatings make the window more vulnerable to damage if you clean them too roughly.
Exercise special care when cleaning coated surfaces:
- Never use razor blades.
- Choose a window cleaner that doesn’t contain ammonia.
- Dry the window with a soft microfiber towel.
- Clean one window using a gentle technique and assess the results before moving on to the remaining windows.
If all this talk of how to clean glass has you feeling tired, you may prefer self-cleaning windows. As the name suggests, this type of glass cleans itself so you don’t have to:
- The photocatalytic process uses direct sunlight to break down dirt and organic materials.
- The hydrophilic process allows rain to run off the window in sheets, taking loosened dirt with it.
- The windows dry quickly and leave no streaks behind.
For a streak-free bathroom mirror, follow these tips:
- Remove toothpaste splatters or dried on hairspray with a cotton pad dampened with rubbing alcohol.
- Spray the mirror with glass cleaner.
- Wipe the mirror with a microfiber cloth.
- Check for streaks and buff the glass until it’s completely clean.
A car wash doesn’t remove the foggy, yellowy film that forms on the inside of your windshield. The awkward angle of the glass makes it hard to clean by hand. To ease the task, spray a “Reach and Clean” tool with glass cleaner. Spin and rotate the tool to get into every corner of the windshield with minimal effort.
Cleaning windows and glass around your home has never been so easy! For more tips on how to clean glass, please contact Glass Doctor® today.