Cleaning Old Glass When Restoring a Panel

by Keith Robinson
(Cottingham UK)

Hello Sue,

I am doing quite a bit of restoring door and window panels. de-construcing is straightforward but cleaning the old glass before a re-build takes ages. can you recommend anything to soak the peices in to help to clean them easily? I have used warm soapy water and it helps a bit. A local professional SG company uses caustic solvents which are harsh and risky to use.
thanks Keith


Hi Keith,

First of all, let me tell you what not to do!
Do not use a lye bath, high pressure steam, sand blasting, hydroflouric or other acids, ammonia based window cleaners, scouring powder or steel wool, caustic or abrasive cleaners such oven cleaners or toilet cleaners.

A PH neutral soap is the safest product to use. Believe it or not, horse shampoo is PH neutral. We get it from a local tack shop. I heard about using it several years ago, and it works as long as you use a little "elbow grease". I have also used a general purpose cleaner that we can get here (but might not be available in the UK) call Simple Green. We used it for the last restoration we did. We diluted it about 50% and soaked the pieces in it overnight, then scrubbed them with a fairly soft brush. It did a nice job. Another alternative would be a household steam cleaner. One of the small ones, not a high pressure job.

If you're trying to get off hard putty, the steam cleaner does a good job. I use a Eureka household steam cleaner. It softens the putty, keeps the dust under control, and makes very little mess.

One final thing to try is the Mr Clean Magic Eraser. I find that it cleans everything I try it on, although I haven't tried it on glass yet.

I hope you find some of this information helpful.

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