What is the best way to get a spotless glass surface?

Growing up before the rise of the internet I can remember my mother’s go to method to clean glass without streaks. This mainly involved arduously wiping glass with any soft cloth in circular motions is a common way to clean glass, but can it achieve streak free glass?. 

I can recall seeing some smears on the glass and even lint spots if you looked close enough, which just amounted to repeatedly going over any streaks or lint spots on the glass until they were no longer apparent.

Getting streak free glass can be frustrating as there may well be more than one cause of streaking. Below we share some of the common causes of streaking and how you can go about getting a spotless glass surface.

Nevertheless you should always consult the manufacturer’s instructions when caring for your glass surfaces. 

Some glass surfaces have special ultra thin coatings that may become damaged by harsh ingredients contained in certain cleaners. In some instances the manufacturer may have approved the use of certain cleaners.

Getting Started – What You’ll Need

What materials should I use to clean glass surfaces?

When it comes to cleaning glass it’s generally recommended to use a soft microfiber cloth or a cleaning sponge that’s damp. 

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If you are thinking about using cleaners on the glass surface, stick to cleaners that are free from abrasive materials and which are intended for glass. 

Once you have wiped the window with a damp cloth, dry the surface down to prevent water marks on the glass. This can be done with a dry microfiber cloth, newspaper or a squeegee.

A squeegee is a very handy time saving tool, it is typically the choice of professionals when large commercial windows need to be cleaned. 

Steps You Can Take to Prevent Streaking

To prevent damage and scratches on the surface of the glass it’s important to steer clear of abrasive cleaning materials. Keep away from brushes as well as any fabric material which may have, for any reason, collected small hard to see debris. 

What is the best way to dry a glass surface?

If you are using a squeegee

When working with a squeegee start removing surface liquid from the top of the glass, dragging the squeegee down from one side of the glass to the other. A squeegee, for the most part, is best held at a 45 degree angle.

If you notice water build up on the squeegee, give it a good wipe off with an absorbent towel.

If you are using newspaper or a soft microfibre cloth

Wiping glass dry in circular motions with a soft cloth or newspaper is still a common practise. 

Another method (when wiping single sided glass like mirrors) is to go over the glass twice in different directions by drying the glass from top to bottom and then from one side of the glass to the other.

If you are cleaning two sides of the glass (such as window glass) then a great tip is to clean vertically on one side and then horizontally on the opposite side of the glass, so that if any streaks appear, you’ll know which side of the glass needs going over.

What are the major causes of liquid marks on glass surfaces?

#1 Wiping glass under direct sunlight resulting in a rapid evaporation rate and liquid marks that quickly dry in place.

#2 Continuing to dry with a cloth that has become damp, which in turn leaves behind water marks that dry in place on the glass.

#3 Streaking that is left behind by residues from a store bought cleaner.

#4 The use of a cleaner that is not intended for glass surfaces.

#5 The excessive application of a cleaning product to glass.

#6 Missing corners and far reaching areas of the glass surface when drying.

How can I prevent streaks?

Avoid cleaning glass windows on hot days

Manually drying down glass surfaces removes liquid before it dries in place and leaves behind water marks.

On the other hand, cleaning glass surfaces under direct sunlight, especially on very warm days, can speed up the drying process and cause small droplets of water to dry on the glass, resulting in water marks. It is best to avoid cleaning glass on warms days or during the hottest part of the day.

Be aware of the cleaning solution

Some commercial cleaners and store-bought cleaning solutions may leave behind a residue on the surface of the glass. The residue may also be caused when too much liquid cleaner has been applied to a surface. 

Don’t be put off by gentle homemade cleaning solutions as these can be great!

Avoid over saturating the glass with water

Finally, when wiping down the glass table top be sure to use a damp cloth. This will help make the manual drying process easier, as the amount of water adsorbed into your drying cloth is minimised. This will help save the need to reach for another drying cloth.

You’ll know that it’s time to grab another drying cloth when you begin to notice water streaks appearing on the surface of the glass.

How Frequently Should I Clean my Glass Surfaces?

This varies from person to person and depends on what the glass is used for, how regularly the glass is in use and whether the glass is inside or outside the home or commercial building. 

Generally speaking, shower screen glass should be cleaned every two weeks on average.

Windows in industrial or commercial areas are more likely to attract dust, grime, bugs and hand marks and can be cleaned once a month. Windows around a house can be cleaned once every six months on average.

Although geographical location also plays a role when it comes to window cleaning. For example, properties near a dusty highway will be more likely to attract greater buildup and marking more quickly.

Cleaning Mirror Glass

Extra care should be taken when cleaning mirror glass. If moisture in the air or liquid residue seeps into the edges of the glass, this could cause damage to the mirror backing (the mirror backing is called silvering) resulting in black mirror edges (that is, desilvering).


There are many different approaches to cleaning glass and no single method is universally praised by all. While some faithfully abide by one process, others may find that a completely different process works best for them. 

It’s worth learning about the various glass cleaning tips and tricks and giving different methods a go until you find what works best for you. So we have provided many techniques to help you find your preferred method. 

Nevertheless, always remember to check with the manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines and to take care with fine coatings that have been applied to the surface of the glass.

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