Removing Stains from Glass

by Amy Gordon
(last updated July 12, 2021)

Quite apart from being an important part of your kitchen, glass is something that is used everywhere in a home—doors, windows, mirrors, ornaments, and furniture. However, a major disadvantage of glass is that it reflects dirt and grime fairly easily, so it requires regular cleaning and maintenance.

When removing stains from glass, keep in mind that you are doing it not merely because you want clean windowpanes and mirrors that make your home look good, but also because you want to make sure of certain practical benefits. For instance, cleaner windows means more sunlight is allowed in during winter, which heats up the house nicely and saves you some heating expense. It's important to keep your car windows and mirrors clean to allow you to see better while driving.

Cleaning windows or any other glass item in strong sunlight is not advisable because whatever cleaning fluid you are using will almost certainly dry before you can get the entire surface clean. In turn, dried cleaning fluid will certainly cause stains on your windows, leaving them dirtier than before.

Another general rule is to thoroughly wipe the surface of any glass object before you commence removing stains. This sends the bigger dirt and grime particles packing. If you don't clear the surface of these particles, they may once again produce stains and streaks of dirt during cleaning, which means double work for you.

Water Stains

Water stains are among the most unsightly stains on glass and can hang around forever. However, they are usually fairly easy to remove. The best way of remove old water stains from glass is to use old black and white newspapers. The newsprint in these papers is a great reducing agent and a single wipe is usually enough to clean large surfaces like windows and mirrors. Once you have cleaned the excess dirt, wet a sheet of newspaper in plain water and run it gently over the glass surface. Change the sheets as often as required. Once the stains have gone, wipe the surface dry with a clean, dry towel.

Another alternative is to use commercial glass cleaner and paper towels to wipe the surface. For obvious reasons, you cannot use hard brushes or abrasive scrubbing tools to clean glass. After all, stains on glass are removable, but scratches are not! Also, paper towels are better than cloth towels because the latter may contain lint that spreads all over the glass.

Some people prefer a mixture of vinegar and water rather than commercial glass cleaners, but commercial cleaners are better equipped to handle tough stains.

Cosmetic Stains

Cosmetics stains mysteriously adhere to mirrors and other large surfaces, but wiping them with plain water and paper towels is not a good idea because the stains may simply spread further. A good way to remove lipstick and hairspray stains is to wipe the glass with rubbing alcohol and pat it dry with a clean, dry rag.

Various Stains on Smaller Objects

The best thing to do about dirt and grime on smaller objects is to immerse the objects in a solution of lukewarm water and a very mild liquid detergent. After about thirty minutes, rinse the objects with plain water and towel them dry.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...


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