How to Clean Antique Stained Glass

Cleaning an antique stained glass window can be a daunting task. The idea of damaging such a beautiful, and possibly valuable, work of art is enough to cause anyone to let the dust and grime remain where it is. According to the experts at HowtoCleanThings.com, an occasional dusting may be adequate for some antique stained glass, but windows that are dulled by the grime of many years require more care.

Cleaning antique stained glass takes special care
  1. Remove dust or loose dirt with a dry, soft cloth. Clean any debris off the window sill. In some cases, this gentle cleaning is all that is required to restore a piece of antique stained glass to its best.
  2. Lay a few paper towels or a cloth on the window sill to catch any drips.
  3. Mix a few drops of neutral soap into a bucket of distilled water. A neutral soap is pH balanced and contains no vinegar, ammonia or abrasives. The experts at HowtoCleanThings.com recommend using Seventh Generation natural dish soap or a comparable product for cleaning antique stained glass windows.
  4. Wring a soft, clean cloth in the soapy water so that it is just damp. Wash one section of the window at a time. Rinse out the cloth and change the water as often as needed so that you are always cleaning with clean materials.
  5. Use a cotton swab dipped in the soapy water to get into tight crevasses.
  6. Dry the section with a clean cloth when you have finished cleaning it. Repeat until the entire antique window is clean.

Things You Will Need

  • Dust cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Distilled water
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Bucket
  • Gloves
  • pH-balanced dish soap
  • Cotton swabs


  • Use gentle pressure when cleaning to prevent damaging lead lines or glass that may have hairline cracks.


  • Some antique glass may no longer be colorfast. Spot test each different color panel with a cotton swab dipped in the soapy water before cleaning the entire section of glass.

About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.

Photo Credits

  • Stained Glass Window image by Andrew Breeden from Fotolia.com