Cleaning Paint from Glass

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated July 25, 2016)

Stained glass windows are beautiful pieces of artwork admired by most people, yet when paint gets smeared or splattered on glass when it should not be there it is more of an eyesore than a masterpiece. My last experience with painting a room I ended up with just that—a paint splattered widow that I did not seem to notice until it was too late. The roller had thrown small dots of green paint all over the window as I pushed it up the wall and pulled it back.

Small dots are not very noticeable and quite easy to remove, but what do you do when the paint covers a large area of glass or maybe someone was careless while painting a window and it goes straight from the side of the window onto the glass. These problems can actually be taken care of in the same manner I took care of mine.

  1. With a wet cloth or a spray bottle filled with water, soak the painted area thoroughly. The paint will begin to soften and take on a rubbery consistency; once this happens it should be loosening its grip on the glass and may even slide around in some areas.
  2. Start peeling. The rubbery paint should be easily lifted off the glass, you can slide a knife or razor under to pull up the edge a little so you can grab it. If you are working on a window or other framed glass and the paint runs from framing to glass you will want to run a razor around the edges of the glass so you do not pull the paint off the edge of the frame. Once you have an edge up you can spray some water under to soften any parts that are still sticking, you can also use your knife or razor to help the paint come up as you pull upward slowly. If the paint is only coming off in small sections it is not absorbing enough water, apply some more and let it sit for a few minutes before trying again. Remember that when you are using something like a razor that can dig into the glass you want to wet the surface before scraping and direct the pressure sideways and not down.
  3. Once the thick paint is completely gone there will still be a thin layer left on the glass. Come glass cleaner and crumpled newspaper will get rid of that and leave the glass looking great.

This method should work on most water-based paints like latex and acrylic, it will not work for oil based paint. For removing oil paints you will need turpentine or paint thinner instead of water and a lot of paper towels to wipe off the paint as you go so that it does not get on anything else. Whether you are cleaning small spots on a window or a large spill on a glass table take your time and be careful not to damage your glass, after all once you get the paint off you do not want to have to look at a bunch of scratches.

Author Bio

Lecia DeBrine

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