Your home is filled with glass — everything from windows to shower doors to cooktops. Depending on where and how it’s used, glass may have different properties. Some of it is purely decorative, such as on a chandelier. In other places, glass is used for protection.
Certain types of windows are made to help reduce energy consumption. This means the standard spray bottle glass cleaner you find at the store may not be the best choice for keeping everything clean. Using the wrong cleanser or method can damage the integrity of the material over time. This can lead to dull, unattractive surfaces.
It’s important for homeowners to know what various types of glass they have in their homes and how to keep them looking their best in the most effective manner. Here are some cleaning tips to use throughout your house.
Before cleaning any of these surfaces, there are some points to always keep in mind. Whenever washing a window or other vertical surface, start at the top and work your way to the bottom. This ensures dirt won’t run onto a freshly cleaned area. Don’t clean under direct sunlight. The surface will dry too quickly and leave streaks.
Cleaning Annealed Glass
A common type of glass found in most residential windowpanes is annealed. Annealed glass should be cleaned with a simple solution of gentle dish soap and water in a spray bottle, or a typical commercial glass cleaning product. Just spray it, wipe with a microfiber cloth or soft sponge, then use a squeegee to remove everything. If there are stubborn bits that won’t come away with this method, use a clean razor blade to scrape them — as long as you’re careful.
Cleaning Tempered Glass
Most shower doors and enclosures are made from tempered glass because it is designed to withstand greater forces. Keeping this glass type clean should be done with a high-quality cleanser. Look for products that specifically mention showers on the label. Spray the entire surface, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently wipe with a microfiber towel or soft sponge.
Cleaning Coated Glass
Windows made for improving energy efficiency typically have a coating applied to them to block UV light and keep your house from becoming too warm in the summer. Protecting these low-E coatings or tints means being careful when washing them. Look for cleansers that don’t contain ammonia, as these can damage the films added to the panes. Work carefully with a soft microfiber cloth and never attempt to scrape anything off them with a metal tool.
Cleaning Glass Cooktops
Glass cooktops can be tricky. They tend to accumulate spills and stains more quickly than other surfaces in your house. Do not use chemicals to clean them, as the residues they leave can be burnt while you’re cooking and enter the air you breathe. Wait until the cooktop cools, then use a spray bottle filled with distilled white vinegar to wet it.
Sprinkle baking soda over the entire area, then cover with a clean towel soaked in hot water. Let the solution sit for about 15 minutes, then remove the towel and wipe the baking soda with a cloth. Spray more vinegar and wipe it to remove any streaks. Repeat this process, if necessary, to get rid of any lingering residue.
Although you could use store-bought glass cleaner on your mirror without harm, you can get the same results with a homemade solution. Mix equal parts distilled vinegar and white vinegar with one tablespoon of corn starch per cup. Shake well, then spray your mirror with it. Wipe in an S-pattern with a microfiber cloth.
Even though it all might look identical, not all of the glass in your house should be treated the same. Follow these tips, and you can keep these elements sparkling clear and lasting for as long as possible.
Author bio: Daniel Snow serves as Operations Manager for Glass.com®. Snow is also a contributing editor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from George Mason University and has a background in the real estate industry. After high school, Snow even worked at a family-owned glass shop for a short period and is an Auto Glass Safety Council certified installer.