How to Remove Aluminum Stains From Glass Windows
Aluminum stains on glass windows typically are a result of water dripping down aluminum window trim, siding, eaves or gutters, which leach aluminum into the water. When the drips splash onto windows, they transfer the aluminum to the glass.
Additionally, aluminum transfer can occur when aluminum tools or objects accidentally make contact with windows. Aluminum stains give window glass a darkened or silvery streaked appearance. Thankfully, leached aluminum usually sits on the surface of glass and breaks up easily with exposure to a mild acid and/or light scrubbing.
Things You Will Need
- Glass cleaner
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Glass stain removal product
- Nonabrasive scrubbing pad
- Razor blade scraper
If dealing with a tough aluminum stain, apply a commercial glass stain removal product onto the stain, wait 10 to 15 minutes--or longer if recommended by the product manufacturer--for the product to break up the stain. Wipe away the product and stain with a soft, microfiber cloth, rinse and squeegee; or, if necessary, scrub the area gently with a nonabrasive, glass-approved scrubbing pad or scrape with a razor blade scraper before rinsing away the product and removing the excess water with your squeegee.
Never use abrasive or harsh cleaners on glass as doing so can etch the glass.
Clean your glass window with glass cleaner and a squeegee. Spray at the top of the window, sweep the rubber or silicone edge of the squeegee from one side to the other, then down to collect the dirty water. Wipe the squeegee with a cloth and repeat across and down the entire window.
Fill a spray bottle with equal parts of vinegar and water.
Spray the vinegar and water solution on the aluminum stain and rub at the stain with a cloth to transfer the aluminum to your cloth. If you have double-hung sash windows that unhook from the sash to lay flat for cleaning or windows that you can remove from the window frame, lay the glass window flat, spray the surface, wait 10 minutes for the solution to soak into the stain, then rub with a cloth.
Rub undiluted vinegar or a solvent, such as rubbing alcohol, onto the stain if the vinegar-water solution doesn't remove it.
Rinse the window clean with water when finished and squeegee away the excess to give it a nice shine. Follow up with glass cleaner if desired.
The Drip Cap
- Aluminum stains on glass windows typically are a result of water dripping down aluminum window trim, siding, eaves or gutters, which leach aluminum into the water.
- Wipe the squeegee with a cloth and repeat across and down the entire window.
- Rub undiluted vinegar or a solvent, such as rubbing alcohol, onto the stain if the vinegar-water solution doesn't remove it.
Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.