This information is offered as a general guide only. Specific advice on the cleaning of glass should always be sought from a reputable glazier or professional window cleaner before any glass cleaning is undertaken. Professional Cleaners have significant experience and access to equipment, materials and methods which the general public may not. As professional glass cleaners are acknowledged experts in the cleaning of glass, Highland Glass offers the information as general advice only for the professional glass cleaner to consider as part of the development of their own cleaning processes.

Instructions to All Trades and Individuals

Always follow the manufacturers installation and cleaning instructions.

While cleaning ensure jewellery and watches are removed. Gloves should be worn.

It is recommended that glass is protected from contamination caused by building materials and methods during construction as this will greatly simplify the glass cleaning task at the end of the project. If the glass is not protected during construction then the glass and frames should be cleaned frequently during construction.

Construction dust, leachate from concrete and rusting from steel can contribute to the formation of mild chemicals, which may stain or otherwise damage the glass.

Glass should be cleaned using only cleaning materials which are free of grit and debris (to avoid scratching and marking of the glass surface)

Only detergents and cleaning solutions which are recommended for cleaning glass should be used. Mild detergents are preferable.

Extra care is necessary where high performance reflective glass is installed. The coated surface can be susceptible to stains and scratches and therefore requires vigilance during the full construction process.

Temporary screens should be installed if welding, sandblasting, floor sanding, cuffing or other potentially damaging construction practices takes place near the glass.

Glass installations which are adjacent to concrete (e.g. concrete slab floors) require extra care and cleaning due to the abrasive nature of concrete dust.

*all tradesmen should be advised to be aware of damaging glass and windows and to leave in place any materials protecting the window or glass.

Toughened Glass

The cleaning of toughened glass requires special care. The glass surface opposite the standard compliance stamp may, as a consequence of the manufacturing process, have “pickup” on the surface. “Pickup” is a deposit of very small particles of glass which are fused to the glass surface. A cleaning method which does not dislodge these particles should be employed otherwise scratching off the glass surface may result. Blades or scrapers have been known to dislodge “Pickup” from the glass surface. A soft cloth, which will not dislodge “Pickup” should be used. It is suggested that professional cleaners consult with their suppliers as to the suitability of available cleaning equipment, materials and methods.

Special Products

All coated glass require specific cleaning procedures. This glass product has a very thin coating on the interior glass surface. It is this hard and durable coating which gives the product improved thermal insulation and solar control performance compared to ordinary clear glass. The coated surface of Low E Glass does clean differently to ordinary glass and these guidelines are recommended for the most appropriate hand cleaning results.

What Not To Do

Do not use cleaners which contain Hydrofluoric or Phosphoric Acid as they are corrosive to the glass surface.

Do not clean the glass when the glass is hot or in direct sunlight.

Do not allow cleaning solutions to contact the edges of Laminated Glass or Insulating Glass Units.

Do not store or place other material in contact with the glass. (this can damage the glass or create a heat trap leading to thermal breaking).

Abrasive cleaners, powder based cleaners, scouring pads or other harsh materials should not be used to clean windows or other glass products.

Avoid causing extreme temperature changes to the glass as this may lead to thermal fracture of the glass (e.g. do not splash hot water onto cold glass. Do not splash freezing water on hot glass)

Some tapes or adhesive can stain or damage glass surfaces. Avoid using such materials unless they are known to be easily removed.

If Damage Occurs

If glass is damaged or broken on-site ensure that experienced glaziers are engaged to rectify the situation. Glass can be a safety hazard if not handled properly.


Paint spots have been traditionally removed using a sharp razor blade. The use of a blade can in some cases cause damage to the glass. As an alternate, investigate solvents or graffiti removal materials, ensuring that they will not damage the glass. If a blade or scraper is used then the risk of damage can be reduced by using a scraper which has a clean edge and is held at an angle of 30o to the glass. Consult the supplier of the blade or scraper as to how it is best used to clean glass. However, surface coated, modified or tinted glass requires special care. Seek cleaning advice from your local glass merchant.

Routine Cleaning

Hand Cleaning of coated (interior) surface, to visibly remove accumulated dust or fingerprints, can be accomplished using a number of different glass cleaning products. The exterior surface of the glass is not coated so can be cleaned in the same fashion as ordinary glass.

Recommended Routine Cleaning Products

Windex Multi-Surface Cleaner (colourless liquid) Australia or Mr. Muscles Surface and Glass (New Zealand) (clear liquid available from supermarkets), produced by SC Johnson & Son Pty Ltd; or

A mixture of one part vinegar with ten parts water.

In addition to the above products , commercially available vinegar-based glass cleaners have generally demonstrated an ability to provide a clean, streak free glass surface. Highland Glass does not recommend the use of ammonia-based or alcohol-based glass cleaners because these products tend to leave visible streaks.

Routine Cleaning Procedure

While cleaning ensure that all jewellery and watches are removed. Gloves should be worn.

Flood the glass surface with the spray-on cleaning solution or with a cloth saturated with the cleaning solution. Be generous with the amount of solution applied.

Scrub the wetted surface with a clean, lint free towel or cloth.

Wipe dry with a dry, clean, lint free towel or cloth. Do not use a squeegee on the coated (interior) surface.

To prevent streaking, stop wiping when the glass is almost dry and there is a uniform film of moisture left on the glass surface. The film will quickly evaporate leaving a clean surface.

Spot Cleaning

Occasionally spot cleaning may be required to remove stubborn dirt or foreign materials which adhere to the surface. Spot cleaning products work to remove markings from grease, oil, tape adhesive, crayons and other waxy materials as well as paint and rub off marks from plastics.

Recommended Spot Cleaning Products

Acetone (solvent available from hardware store) and must be used strictly in accordance with manufacturers recommendations and warnings.

Spot Cleaning Procedure

While cleaning ensure jewellery and watches are removed. Gloves should be worn.

Apply a small amount of the cleaner listed above to a clean, wet cloth or towel.

Rub on areas of glass needing spot cleaning.

Wipe clean using a dry, clean, lint free towel or cloth. Followed by a routine cleaning procedure.

Specialised Glass Cleaning

Do not use razor blades, steel wool, scouring bristles or other metallic or abrasive objects on the coated surface. If metallic objects contact the coated surface, a thin layer of metal removed from the object may be deposited onto the surface which results in a discoloured stain which is difficult to remove using normal cleaning procedures.

Recommended Specialised Glass Cleaning Products

Hydrochloric Acid (Available from hardware store)

Specialised Glass Cleaning Procedure

While cleaning ensure jewellery and watches are removed. Gloves should be worn.

Carefully follow the chemical manufactures use and safety instructions. If there are none, pick a brand that has instructions and safety precautions or contact the manufacturer before use apply a small amount of the specialised cleaning product listed to a wet, clean cloth or towel. A cotton bud may be used for thin line type marks. Rub on areas of glass needing cleaning.

Wipe clean using a dry, clean, lint free towel or cloth followed by a routine cleaning procedure.

Ensure that the cleaner does not come into contact with framing materials.


Mirrors are spectacular glass items used in areas where good looks are required. A clean mirror looks spectacular and a dirty mirror is far from impressive. The highly reflective nature of mirror highlights any marks and the presence of any scratches on the mirror. So it is important that a mirror is correctly cleaned to ensure it maintains it’s appearance and is not scratched or damaged by the cleaning process.

Routine Cleaning: Routine Cleaning Products

Methylated Spirits ; this must be used strictly in accordance with manufacturers recommendations and warning.

Cleaning Procedure

While cleaning ensure jewellery and watches are removed. Gloves should be worn.

Wipe a few drops of Methylated Spirits over the surface with a clean, damp cloth.

Wipe over the surface, ensuring no spillage around the edges.

Polish the surface dry with a lint free cloth.

Do not use cleaners such as steel wool, scouring bristles, metallic or abrasive materials as this may scratch the glass. Some proprietary glass cleaners, if used to excess can cause damage to the backing as can excessive amounts of water. Make certain when cleaning the face of the mirror that there is no contact with the backing, particularly at the edge of the glass and be careful to keep any moisture away from the backing of the mirror. Do everything possible to ensure that the cleaning cloths used are free from any abrasives.

About this cleaning Advice

This information is offered as a general guide only and specific advice should always be sought from a reputable glazier or professional window cleaner before undertaking any cleaning. This guidance does not preclude the use of other methods, materials or equipment, however, the user should undertake careful evaluation and make suitable enquiries of the suitability of alternative methods, materials or equipment, before using them.

Highland glass has taken all reasonable care in producing this document, however, Highland Glass makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of, any disclaims all liability, direct or indirect (and whether or not arising out of the negligence, default or lack of, and disclaims all liability, direct or indirect (whether foreseeable or not)) suffered by the recipient or any other person arising out of, or in connection with, any use or reliance by any of them in this document. Liability which cannot legally be excluded is limited by the maximum extent possible.