Toughened glass: 3 easy steps for cleaning without scratching
Toughened glass is a specialised type of safety glass that has been manufactured with thermal treatment to strengthen it. Due to its high strength and important safety features, (it will crumble into granular pieces if broken, instead of splintering into jagged shards like regular float glass) it is often used in applications which are more demanding, such as balustrading, vehicle windows, and glass doors.
The thermal manufacturing process that bestows toughened glass with its enhanced qualities involves the glass being heated and cooled intensively. This causes the outer surfaces to cool and contract more quickly than the centre, giving the tempered glass its strength. Like any glass product, toughened glass will accumulate dirt and dust over time, and will require cleaning to return it to a pristine state. However, despite its incredible strength, this type of glass is still prone to scratching if it is not cleaned in the right way using the correct tools.
Glass can often accumulate small particles, such as dust, stones, or sand, which are all capable of creating scratches. A standard window cleaning blade can pick up these particles and drag them repeatedly over the outer surface, especially if too much force is applied. Likewise, it is important that the water being used is clear any cleaning equipment is checked for debris, as these are other ways that scratching can occur. Therefore, to minimise this risk, it is necessary to take extra precautions when caring for toughened glass.
A non-abrasive method of cleaning toughened glass
Note: If you are not sure if your surface is made from toughened glass, look in the corners of the sheet to see if there is an emblem stating whether it is safety glass or whether it has been toughened/tempered.
Also note: Many professional window cleaners may not be aware of the fact that a particular glass surface is toughened, and they may not be aware of the special care needed for its cleaning. Be sure to inform any professional cleaners about your glass to avoid any damage to it.
Although it is stronger than regular float glass, toughened glass can still pick up dirt and other grime quite easily. When it does, it looks as unappealing as any dirty glass surface — and this can be compounded by the fact toughened glass is usually located in a more conspicuous space than regular glass, especially in architectural statement windows, doors, staircases and balconies for example. Due to this, you will probably feel more conscious about keeping your toughened glass spick and span. Read on to find out how you should go about cleaning it without causing damage.
Step One: Prepare your cleaning solution
For the cleaning of toughened glass, the most effective solution to use a mild, non-abrasive dish soap mixed with water instead of a specialist glass cleaner. Firstly, ensure that the water that you use is free of any particles that might cause damage if applied to the glass, before mixing the soap and water together in equal amounts and transferring it to an empty spray bottle. Give the bottle a shake to ensure the solution is properly mixed.
Step Two: Cleaning the glass
Using the wrong technique when cleaning toughened glass can result in any particles being dragged over the surface. You need to be very careful, taking extra care not to apply too much pressure when cleaning.
Spray on your soap-and-water solution and wait for 10–15 seconds while it penetrates the dirt — allowing it to soak will make the removal of the dirt easier, avoiding any unnecessary scrubbing. Next, steep a soft sponge in water before beginning to wipe away the solution. Start at the top and work your way down, or if your glass surface is too large, spray and wipe different sections until you have covered the whole area. This technique will make sure that any particles are removed in a gentle manner that does not put the glass at risk of scratching.
Particularly dirty areas may require you to repeat the process again — just be sure not to apply too much pressure and risk any scratches.
Step Three: Drying the glass
Once you are done, use a soft microfibre cloth to buff the glass until it is dry; a regular non-abrasive cloth will also work. Use gentle circular movements to make sure that you do not drag any leftover debris across the surface of the glass. Once you have finished, take a moment to closely check the glass for any dirt, dust, or sand that may have escaped your attentions. If any remain, you can repeat the process until they are gone.
Follow these steps until you have covered the whole surface and your toughened glass should look great without any of the scratching associated with abrasive methods of cleaning.
It is possible to minimise the need for regular glass cleaning by investing in toughened glass that has been treated to be ‘self-cleaning’. This innovative product will not only disintegrate and dispense of dirt itself, but when the time comes for it to be cleaned by hand, you will find that the removal of leftover grime and debris is much easier.
The effect of this glass is achieved by coating its outer surface with hydrophilic or hydrophobic coating, which uses UV light to break down organic particles clinging to its surface — making dirt a lot more manageable. The coating also causes rainwater to run off evenly in a sheet, rather than form droplets. This blanket rinsing takes the excess grime away with it, leaving windows unblemished.
This process means that manual cleaning is required much less often, and when it is needed, it is a lot easier and time-consuming.
Romag toughened glass
Here at Romag, we manufacture our toughened glass in a state-of-the-art plant that allows us to produce glass that has fantastic strength and minimal distortion. Our products are made to the highest quality, but, like any toughened glass, it needs care and attention to keep it in top condition. Our product can be combined with many speciality variants, like solar control, low emissivity, and tinting to suit almost any project needs.
Additionally, our toughened glass can also be combined with a self-cleaning finish to make maintenance of glass more convenient. We use a premium product called EnduroShield to ensure that our glass is extremely easy to clean and will not require heavy scrubbing. The glass will add an ultra-thin coating that isn’t noticeable, allowing you to enjoy blemish free windows. Take a look at the video below to see the difference between EnduroShield-treated and untreated glass.
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about Romag’s toughened glass, visit our product page or get in touch and we will be happy to discuss how we can help you achieve your goals.
Photography credits: © Borealnz - licence © The Busy Brain - licence