What’s The Best Way To Clean Glass?


The best way to clean glass is with a soft cloth and a quality glass cleaner. Apply the glass cleaner to the cloth and clean with soft, circular motions until the glass is clean. Be careful not to spray directly on the glass, especially on mirrors.

How To Clean Mirrors Without Streaks

Mirrors can be one of the most frustrating glass surfaces to clean because even the smallest imperfections show up clearly. The first mistake many people make is using paper towels. Paper towels will not only leave behind tiny streaks, they will also leave behind particles that make the mirror appear dusty. Instead, use a microfiber towel which will not leave behind any remnants. Many people also swear by newspaper for a streak-free clean. Just be sure to wear gloves or wash your hands after as the ink may come off on your skin.

How To Clean Glass With a Waxy Film

So you finally got around to cleaning that one window that has been dirty for so long, only to find that it looks worse after cleaning than before you started. What gives?

Many times windows get a waxy or oily build-up on them if left uncleaned for long periods- especially the inside of windshields since vinyl protectant is usually sprayed on dashboards when cars are detailed.

To avoid damaging the glass or housing, always begin with the mildest solution and work your way up. If you’ve already tried a quality glass cleaner, vinegar and warm water may be another good option. It may take some elbow great and a few rounds of cleaning.

Using Acetone on Glass

If this doesn’t work, the next step would be to spot clean using a solvent such as acetone, rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits. Use sparingly as these can be potentially harmful to the glass. Always clean the glass afterwards to remove the solvent completely. For actual wax build up, avoid using razor blades as this may permanently scratch the glass.

How To Clean A Mirror That Is Hazy

Vinegar to the rescue again! If a mirror is hazy it will need some serious cleaning power, so don’t dilute with water. Wet either newspaper or a microfiber cloth with distilled white vinegar and wipe the mirror. Afterward, you may want to wipe with water to get rid of the vinegar smell, then follow up with a normal glass cleaner to achieve a streak-free shine.

Chemicals to Avoid When Cleaning Glass

– Amonia Based Cleaners – Leave streaking and attract dust

– Alcohol Based Cleaners – leave streaking and attract dust

– Plain water—is not an adequate cleaning agent. Will leave spots and streaks.

– Abrasives – anything that contains an abrasive should be avoided as it can permanently harm the finish of the glass

Glass Cleaning Tips

– Thorough glass cleanings are recommended at least twice a year and can be done seasonally—once in the Fall and once in the Spring. Thorough cleanings mean cleaning both the inside and outside of the glass, as well as the trim that surrounds the glass.

– Additionally, spot cleaning should be done as often as necessary.

– We’ve all been there….that one mirror that always streaks no matter how carefully you clean it. For the most stubborn streaks, try using undiluted distilled white vinegar. Be sure to wipe and dry the mirror quickly and polish with a clean dry microfiber cloth.

Is It Time To Replace Your Glass? Contact Glass.com

Unfortunately, glass doesn’t last forever and at some point the time will come to replace your doors and windows. But how do you know when you’ve reached that point?

First, consider safety. If there are any cracks, chips or holes in your home’s glass, this should be a red flag. Broken glass has extremely sharp edges and could cause injury. The same goes for the housing surrounding the glass.

Other signs to look for are not so obvious. Your window serve as more than just an opening for natural light and a view to the outdoors—they also serve as insulation from heat and cold. If you can feel or hear air movement coming in through your windows or doors, or feel drastic temperature changes near them, this is a sign that they are not effectively insulating your home. This can increase electric bills.

If you suspect it might be time for replacement, call your local window and door specialist to have them do an onsite evaluation to determine the best option for your home.

Glass.com attempts to provide accurate information but cannot be held liable for any information provided or omitted.  You should always work with a licensed, insured and reputable glass shop that can assess your specific needs and local building codes and offer professional services. Never attempt to cut, install, or otherwise work with glass yourself. All content is provided on an informational basis only.

Copyright © Glass.com Inc. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed written permission. Questions? Contact info@glass.com

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By Debra Levy

Debra Levy owns Key Media & Research (KMR), to which Glass.com Inc. is a sister company. KRM produces industry publications such as USGlass magazine, Door & Window Market magazine, Architect’s Guide to Glass magazine, Auto Glass Repair & Replacement (AGRR), Auto Glass Journal and Window Film magazines. Additionally, it produces email newsletters, hosts industry trade show events, and publishes industry research studies.

Levy obtained a Masters in Science from Southern New Hampshire University with a focus in Community Economics. She sits on a number of industry committee boards for glass safety standards. Additionally, Levy often writes and speaks for industry outlets.


  • Of course, it’s obvious that abrasives must not be used on a glass because of the tendency for it to ruin the finish of the glass. That is what my brother did though, and now the glass of the shower door needs to be replaced. It has scratches all over now! Anyway, I will be sure to mention this to him once I get the shower door glass replaced.

  • I never knew that an alcohol-based cleaner can actually leave streaks on your glass. My wife and I recently moved into a new house, and we want to make sure that the big windows in the front room look clean. I will be sure to tell my wife that we should try and find a cleaner that isn’t alcohol-based!

  • I really appreciate your tip on how microfiber is a good choice when you want to clean glass. My wife and I recently decided to remodel our guest bathroom, and we want it to continue to look good for our guests. I will be sure to find microfiber cloths to clean our glass!

  • I had no idea that plain water was not recommended when trying to clean glass. It is important to understand that knowing this can help you avoid damaging your glass. Personally, I would want to find the best way to clean my windows so my house looks well maintained.

  • We just had glass panels installed in our home, and we can’t clean the film that was on the glass when the installers left. We have tried glass cleaners, straight white vinegar, soap and water. Can we clean the whole glass panels with alcohol or acetone without doing damage , and will it take the film off?

    • Hi Cheryl,
      We’re sorry to hear you’re having such trouble getting your glass clean! A good installation company should clean the glass before they consider the job finished. You may want to request they come back out to properly clean the windows. If they aren’t willing to do so, you may want to reach out to the window manufacturer to get their opinion. If for some reason neither of these options are possible, there are some techniques and products you can try. Since we’re not sure what left the “film” we may have to experiment. However, I’m guessing that it’s the adhesive leftover from protective plastic wrap the was adhered to the glass to keep it from being scratching during transportation. I’m also guessing when you say “film” that you aren’t referring to a tint that was applied to the glass for sun protection or darkening purposes- this would be much different.
      First, do not use alcohol or acetone as these can dry the rubber seals and vinyl frames around the windows. Instead, try an adhesive remover product such as this one.
      If that doesn’t work, you may want to try scraping the “film” off using a razor blade. Spray the window with glass cleaner first as lubrication, then use back and forth motions with a clean razor blade held at a 45-degree angle. You could also use the razor in conjunction with the adhesive remover. However, use the razor at your own risk. The idea of taking a piece of metal to your brand new windows isn’t ideal, so you may wish to skip this one.
      Lastly, you can try glass polish. Glass polishes are formulated specifically to be used on glass and are considered safe. Again, it’s always best to check with the manufacturer before using any of these products or techniques. Best of luck!

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