Stained glass windows

a customer of mine has big stained glass windows above his front door. i have now been called back 2 times now to re clean these. he says there is white streaks on them… i can see the residue, but its pretty much impossible to get rid of it with a microfiber and zep glass cleaner. i cant keep going back to this job.

i was thinking about putting some pure water in a spray bottle and using a microfiber…

FU#K stained glass, from now on its not included in a residential window cleaning

$25 extra each:mad:

Tell him sorry, the glass is stained…

not stained as in damaged or hard water stains…

its leaded glass/stained glass like you would find in a church…

Sounds like the stuff is just spreading around. I had that last week and it was because of our towels. How did you clean it the firs time?

Ive cleaned it with, fresh microfibers and zep glass cleaner both times.

I even use 1 towel to scrub and a dry one to buff…

yeah, it just spreads the glass cleaner around and leaves white residue everywhere and looks terrible in the sun.

what do i tell the guy? to replace that crap glass… or thats as good as it gets… or tell him to pay me $100 an hour for any more time i waste with this…

Is there a reason you didn’t use a mop and your favorite soap the first time?

Sorry, I thought my humor was more apparent. I won’t quit my day job for the life of a stand-up comedian any time soon;)

Also, I should have offered you advice instead of just bad humor.

So what your dealing with may be something that has leeched out of the glass or frames. As you know they have lead or zinc or other good stuff in them.

My first suggestion would be to see if you can dry-buff out the white residue with some microfiber clothes. This way you can avoid bringing anymore chem out from where ever it’s coming from.

Edit-- Oh and just tell the guy that stained glass is finicky glass with many different chemicals, some of which make cleaning them a real pleasure. But you are a professional and you will do your best to solve this annoying problem for him (even if it means you have to eat a few bucks…or a lot).

I mean seriously, do you want this guy talking trash about you or your company because you didn’t want to waste more time trying to figure out a way to get his glass clean? I know you don’t, but he will if you bail on him and tell him to replace his crappy glass. Even though you and I are both thinking the same thing, telling the customer that is bad news.

When you go into something like this, you have to expect weird stuff and be willing to work on it. Personally I would find this a personal challenge and would work on it until I figured it out, wore out my welcome by showing up at the end of every work day trying to have another crack at it, or I ran out of options to try.

My advice, keep at it until you clean it, even if you burn up a ton of time. Make it right and no customer will be doing anything but singing your praises.

That’s what helps make you a professional Trevor.

Have you tried steel or bronze wool to buff it out with? Is it older leaded/stained glass?
I have had to do cleanings where I wet scrub with wool, dry with a two towel system, then buff out with a piece of bronze wool.

I use a very soft bristle brush, like a complection brush (ask your wife) and very low soap. I rinse with DI water in a pump up sprayer

I remember reading somewhere a ways back to use a good quality school chalkboard eraser to buff out glass. I’ll have to research to find that article again and had planned to get one for some of my showy windows I do.

Never give the customer a chance to trash talk your business. It can never be taken back from the ears of those listening.

Probably goes without saying but, stained glass/leaded glass is fragile to applied pressure since it is often times separate pieces of glass held together by the leading. It can easily be dislodged so being gentle is key. You probably already know this, just throwing it out there in the discussion.

I’ve never even thought about using a chalkboard eraser for any kind of window cleaning before. How intresting. It’s been so long I hardly remember what they are made of.

I wonder what other uses there might be for a chalkboard eraser in window cleaning.

Do kids still use chalkboards in school?

Were they made with several thick pieces of felt placed together, that is what I kind of remember them looking like? The are using dry eraser boards at my daughters school, there may be some chalk boards also.

Felt/Wool Felt construction

That’s what I remember too.


I did one of the biggest homes in Palo Alto about 1 1/2 years ago that had at least 50 of the old leaded glass windows from 1905. I usually use spray way non ammonia formula but it just smeared whatever was releasing from the joints. I also did some with a WFP and DI water. See video below and excuse the one handed camera work and the finger in the camera at the end. These windows were 106 years old so I had to scrub very carefully but they came out a lot better than using the spray.
[video]Waterfed Pole Used to Clean Hard to Reach Windows - YouTube


Some good advice here from Steve-O, give the steel/bronze wool a try…I’ve done it just like Steve-O said and it works !


I guess I’m just old fashioned, but I like to start with the simplest possible answer or explanation and then work up to more complex or difficult ones.

If a bird pooped on the window, I wouldn’t reach for the Glass Renue System to get rid of that pesky poo. Instead I would reach for a strip washer.

By the same token, I would try dry buffing a white residue with a rag first, before trying bronze wool. The bronze wool may be just the ticket, but so may the rag as well.

Work your way up.