Safe & Effective
Glass Cleaning

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Most window and mirror cleaners are relatively safe to use, and have only a small impact on the environment. However, some cleaners contain glycol ethers and other chemicals that are harmful.

Use the mildest product you can find, and always wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself.


Use a mild cleaner with alcohol or ammonia for daily glass maintenance.

Avoid glass cleaning products that are flammable.

Use products that are packaged in a trigger bottle rather than an aerosol can.

Some degreasers contain butoxyethanol or similar toxic ingredients - always protect yourself by wearing gloves and goggles.

Regular Glass Cleaning - Use a mild alcohol or ammonia cleaning product for daily glass maintenance.

Disinfection - If you need to disinfect the surface, use a product that contains Alkyl Ammonium Chloride to kill germs.

Grease Removal - Sometimes grease, fingerprints, or other oily deposits are found on the glass you are cleaning. Your regular daily cleaner might not remove these.

In that case, use a stronger degreasing cleaner with butoxyethanol. Apply this cleaner with a scrub pad if a rag or squeegee doesn't work. Afterwards, you may need to finish the job by using your regular cleaner to remove streaks left by the degreaser.

Degreasers with butoxyethanol and other strong ingredients can harm you, so always protect yourself with gloves and goggles.

Spray the degreaser onto your rag or brush, and then wipe the glass surface. If that doesn’t work, then carefully spray the degreaser directly onto the glass. Hold your rag nearby to prevent overspray.

Do not use any degreasers made for auto repair work. These often contain flammable ingredients such as naphtha or hexane, or a dangerous cancer-causing chemical called tetrachloroethylene.


Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project - Sponsored by US EPA, State of California, Santa Clara County, the City of Richmond, and the Local Government Commission. Written by Thomas Barron, Carol Berg, and Linda Bookman. 6/99.