How To Clean Stained Glass

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Stained glass windows can be a beautiful addition to any home. They are considered a form of art since as early as the 4th century. While the glass looks great, a lot of effort needs to be put into keeping it clean.

This is because the bumpy surface of stained glass traps a lot more dirt and moisture than regular glass.

How To Clean Stained Glass

Stained glass is a work of art. This means that it has gradients, crevices, nooks, and crannies where dust and dirt can get trapped. If not maintained, not only will their perfect look get hampered but cleaning will become increasingly difficult.

Follow the below methods or steps to learn how to clean stained glass

Stained glass

Method 1: Use A Foam And Brush

For those who do clean regularly, this method is the best and simplest. You can pick up everyday household items and follow the steps below.

Step #1: Check The Condition Of The Glass

In the first step, you need to first check on the condition of the glass. There might be some issues that may not allow you to clean it properly. You need to check on the loose pieces over the lead frame. 

Checking the condition of the glass is vital because loose frames might lead to liquid trapping in the crevices. As a result, it will cause dripping on either side of the glass and on the floor.

Step #2: Pick The Right Cleaning Solutions

Regardless of whether you have a stained glass with textures, paint, or tints, every stained glass demands the use of gentle cleaning solutions. Do not use cleaners that consist of ammonia or alcohol. These substances hamper the joint that holds the window together.

Apart from that, the experts also urge avoiding using dish soap while cleaning stained glass. Dish soap can react with the lead frame and discolor it, thereby destroying its appealing look. 

Before cleaning the entire glass, test it over a small area. Give it time to check if that solution is fading away from the surface. If there is no adverse result, you can proceed with the use of that solution.

Use A Foam Cleaning Spray

If you’re worried that you’ll pick the wrong cleaner and damage your glass, you can get some foam spray and play it safe. The spray cleans the glass just as well as other cleaners.

There are several foam sprays available over the online and offline market, specified for cleaning stained glass. The use of foam spray is recommended on high priority because it doesn’t seep liquid into the lead joints. As a result, the glass frame will not lose its color and appeal over time. 

You need to pick up a small trial pack at first, to check whether it is effective or not. Once you have tested the quality of the product, you can order the appropriate amount to proceed with the cleaning process. 

Step #3: Begin Cleaning

Before you start with the foam spray, it is important to do some initial wetting & scrubbing. It means that you need to initially wet the glass and scrub it gently with a brush. It will help you remove all the dust and dirt from the surface before the solution is applied. 

Gloved hand holding a cleaning spray

Moreover, it is advisable to use a bigger brush to clean if the glass surface is large. Make sure you don’t use any soap during this process.

Be Gentle As You Clean

You need to be gentle while you clean the stained glass. The pressure put upon the glass by your fingers should be uniform. Moreover, you need to avoid putting immense pressure on one area. 

If you have a delicate stained glass in your house, then you must prefer spraying the cleaner solution on your microfiber cloth instead of spraying it directly over the glass. It is advisable for the sake of avoiding over-saturation. Over-saturation might deteriorate the glow of the glass!

Step #4: Use Microfiber Towels Or Clothes For Drying

Once all the cleaning is over, it is important for you to dry off the surface properly. You need to use a microfiber cloth for this purpose. The role of microfiber cloth is to clear out the dust or dirt residues without forcing them to slide over the glass. 

Other cloth will scratch the surface while drying, but microfiber cloth will not. While drying the stained glass, you do not need to use any more cleaning solutions for the sake of removing dirt or dust. The microfiber cloth will do all the drying for you. 

Method 2: Use Distilled Water And Cleaner

At times, the stained glass gets super dirty and demands an intense cleaning approach. For that, one needs to use a cloth soaked with distilled water and wipe it over the glass surface. In case there is any residue, using a cleaner to get rid of it is then preferable.

You must make sure it has no vinegar or ammonia. Along with that, the cleaner needs to be non-abrasive and pH neutral. You will find such products in the online or offline market. Foam sprays won’t work upon super dirty glasses.

Once you clean the glass with distilled water, you can use another microfiber cloth to use the cleaner solution to remove tough spots. Such cleaners will help in bringing out intense cleaning results for your stained glass. Remember to be gentle.

Tips To Make Cleaning Stained Glass Easier

Here are some of the tips that you need to follow to make your stained glass look flawless:

Clean stained glass
  • Firstly, you need to get all of the supplies before starting with cleaning sessions. It will save you a lot of time during the entire process. 
  • Lay some towels over the windowsill to prevent the glass from catching any sort of drips. 
  • For minimizing the drips, it is important for you to wring the cloth once you submerge it in the solution. 
  • While you clean the glass, prefer to start from the top and go all the way down. It will make the entire cleaning session easier and faster. 
  • Use cotton swabs for cleaning the glass corners and edges. In this way, you can get a perfect and clean edge over the glass panes. 
  • If your stained-glass window is very old, seeking professional help is the right way to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Clean Older Stained-Glass Windows With The Same Process?

Yes, you can clean them but, it would be better if you take the help of professionals to clean the stained-glass windows of over 50 years. It is because the lead dust that is released during cleaning might be harmful to human health. Older glass windows have a higher risk of releasing that lead dust.

So, keep pets, children, and older adults away from the area. 

How Frequently Should I Clean My Stained Glass Windows?

You should prefer to clean it at least once or twice a year. You can do it more frequently if your stained glass is getting dirty more often due to the location or the utilization of space. 

Should I Dust My Glass Before Applying A Cleaner Solution?

Yes, you should dust your stained glass before you go ahead and apply any of the cleaning solutions. You can use a big or small brush or a gentle cloth to dust off the glass. 

Can I Use Any Of The Home Glass Cleaning Solutions?

No, you should not use any of the home glass cleaning solutions on stained glass. It is because cleaning the usual glass and the stained glass is quite different and needs specific care. 


These are a few of the important considerations that you need to adopt to clean your stained glass properly. Follow the above steps and tips to make no mistakes in the process.