How to Properly Clean Your Etched Glass

Clearly etched "Coffee" on glass window with shop, cafe, restaurant lighting in background.

Have you recently moved into a home that has etched glass and are unsure how to clean it properly? Etched glass needs to be treated differently than regular glass, and not many people are familiar with the process, which is okay! Three common types of etched glass are Matelux®, Metellac®, and Metelac T® (all are registered trademarks of AGC Glass North America), all of which are acid-etched, which in layman terms means frosted glass. Matelux is an acid-etched satin-finish glass that offers privacy while still letting light in. Matelac is float glass that is covered on one side by high-quality paint while the other side is acid-etched. Matelac T is also an acid-etched float glass that is covered on one side with a high-quality back-paint, but it differs in that it must be heat-treated, making it a true enameled glass. Let’s explore how to regularly clean etched glass and remove stains, so you can avoid damage and make your etched glass shine!

Avoid Damaging Your Etched Glass

Never use aggressive cleaning tools and materials like razor blades, or steel wool to clean your etched glass. It’s also best to avoid using abrasive chemicals, too. Such materials and chemicals can cause permeant damage to the glass, which will greatly diminish its appearance. Anytime you clean etched glass, be sure to use plenty of water so you don’t scratch or damage the surface. And never try to remove stains with a dry or dirty cloth; this could also cause scratches.

Since etched glass is a little more sensitive when it comes to cleaning, don’t apply too much pressure as you clean. Too much polishing can cause damage to the acid-etched glass surface. So when cleaning, apply even, medium pressure. In addition, don’t use products containing hydrofluoric acid, fluorine, chlorine, or ammonia derivatives. All of these products can damage the glass surface and leave permanent scarring.

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Regular Cleaning

Although many people might assume that the only way to properly clean etched glass is by using a chemical-based product, the truth is much simpler. One of the best and most effective ways to clean acid-etched glass is with clean water and a soft sponge. Again, it sounds simple, and it is. However, if it will make you feel better, you can add a few drops of glass cleaner to the water. If you do so, always use standard glass cleaners that contain alcohol. You can also try a glass cleaner used and recommended by the professionals.

Just remember, when you do clean, always clean the full surface. If you only spot clean, it can create halos on the glass that will diminish the appearance. Once cleaned, the glass should be rinsed again with clean water and dried with a soft lint-free cotton cloth.

Related Article: Cleaning Hacks for Regular Glass

Removing Stains

If you notice that your glass is still stained after your initial cleaning, repeat the cleaning steps above. If the area is heavily stained, you can wash the surface using a low-pressure cleaning device with a water temperature of at least 86°F. The combination of low-pressure and warm water should effectively dislodge any stubborn stains and allow you to clean the remaining surface without damaging it.

Although distilled white vinegar is acidic (with a pH of around 2.5), when mixed with 2 parts baking soda the pH level can be increased to make it less acidic. If you’re dealing with some stubborn hard water stains on your etched glass, try using a little distilled white vinegar mixed with baking soda to remove the stain. Cover the glass surface with the mixture, wait a few minutes, then use a soft cloth to gently remove the mixture. Once it has been removed, rinse the entire surface with clean, warm water.

Glass Cleaning Hack: Clean tough glass stains using toothpaste that contains baking soda. Apply the paste to the stained areas, rub gently, then rinse completely with warm water.

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Polish Your Glass

You did it! Your etched glass is now clean and beautiful. To bring your glass’s beauty to a new level, try polishing it with a soft lint-free cotton cloth. And if you want to avoid overfilling your cleaning cabinet with ineffective glass cleaning products? Try Glass Doctor Glass Cleaner.

Cleaning etched glass is not complicated, but it does require some effort. However, cleaning your etched glass on a regular basis will really allow its beauty to shine. If you’re interested in learning more about how to maintain the glass in your home, or if you need glass repair or replacement, contact the professional at Glass Doctor today!