Whether you’ve recently bought a charming old home fitted with stained glass windows or you’ve had them installed, you may wonder how to properly care for them. Since they have ridges and other details that change the texture compared to regular glass, stained glass windows can trap dirt.
In addition to dirt though, any stained glass window or even a stained glass panel you hang over an existing window may have more intricacies in the leaded framework which can trap in more than dirt. Think moisture and liquids from traditional cleaning sprays that can leave ugly drippings running down that mar the appearance.
That’s why many people want to know how to clean stained glass windows the right way. Surely, you want to protect your investment and have a clean home, so the following tips will help you get it just right!
Use a soft dry cloth
One of the safest and most effective ways to clean your stained glass windows is to simply use a soft, dry cloth on them. This will help get the dust out of your way. Doing so regularly may be all you need to keep up the look of your gorgeous stained glass windows and panels. Consider the condition of your stained glass Sometimes, simply dusting with that soft cloth isn’t going to cut it. Before going any further, you should check the lead frame to see if there are any loose bits. Loose pieces of lead can trap liquid within the crevices and you’ll wind up with those drips. You surely don’t want that, so take a moment to check things out. It’s also ideal to test any cleaning solution or spray on a small test area first before getting deep into this cleaning task. It would be a shame if a cleaning product you used discolored the surface of your beautiful glass art.
Gather your materials
If you need to do more than simply wipe off the dust from your stained glass windows, you should gather everything you need for this task. You should have a bowl of your cleaning solution, soft microfiber cloths, and a couple of dry towels ready to go to catch any drips. Cotton swabs are also great to have at the ready because they can help you get into those edges and corners in a gentle and effective way.
Work from the top down
When cleaning stained glass windows, you’ll want to start at the top and then carry on downward. Be careful if you have a stubborn spot of dirt as you’ll want to rub firmly enough to remove it all without applying too much pressure. Pushing too hard, especially on older windows, may crack the glass. Take it section by section with your damp cloth and then dry it off immediately after before proceeding to the next section.
Be careful with cleaning solutions
No matter what kind of stained glass you have from textured to tint to painted glass, you should always use a non-toxic cleaner. Don’t ever use ammonia or alcohol as these agents can damage what’s holding it together. Dish soap is another problematic substance for leaded stained glass because the ingredients in that soap can cause a reaction that discolors it.
Go to the pros
Additionally, it may be worth your while to seek out a foam cleaning spray from a home improvement store. Foaming sprays that come from an aerosol can help prevent any of the cleaning products from seeping through any leaks in the lead and coming out the other side with those unpleasant drips.
Microfiber dries best
Microfiber towels are absolutely your best option for drying your stained glass windows after cleaning them. They’re great even used as a dry dusting option to clean them up too. Ideally, if your stained glass windows or panels are new, you should stick to dusting them weekly with a dry microfiber cloth as that can help prevent the need for those intensive heavy cleanings.
Use a gentle touch
Stained glass is more durable than you think these days but it does require a gentle touch. It may be more helpful to directly spray your microfiber towel with any cleaning substance first and then proceed with the cleaning. This will also prevent oversaturating the glass with cleansers. It takes great patience to clean a large stained glass window, so take your time. You may want to consider using tools with long handles to help you reach stained glass that is higher-up or get a ladder to make it easier.
Know about your older stained glass windows
When it comes to older homes with older stained glass windows, most of them are kept in place with lead. Lead can’t cause any harm to you just by being there though if it is heated or the dust comes off of it, the air can become dangerous. However, if that lead has oxidized and is now a powdery white hue rather than a dark color, you should use gloves while cleaning. You may want to wear a mask to prevent inhaling any particles as well. Use disposable gloves and masks so you can throw them out when you’re done. And of course, to ensure your best health, make sure the room you’re cleaning the old stained glass in is well-ventilated. Pets and children should be kept away for their safety as well.
Now that you know how to clean stained glass windows, you can keep up their appearance without worry. It’s easy enough to do though if you start now, you can likely avoid any of the pitfalls that tend to come when stained glass is older. Clean stained glass windows will let their colors shine through and create an even more vibrant look within your home.