How To Clean Museum Glass? 4 Easy Steps Explained

How To Clean Museum Glass

Museum glass is nothing but a gift to the world of art. The glass, also known as art glass is designed to be non-reflective. While this sort of glass can be a tad bit more expensive, it is great for framing paintings and pictures.

If you want to display the true colors of your art, you must keep the glass clean. Museum glass can’t help to show a painting in its glory if it has fingerprints or spots all over its surface, can it?

Now, you’ve spent more money on museum glass; you don’t want to ruin it, do you? That is why, you need to know how to clean museum glass properly for the clearest and most effective results.

Not all kinds of cleaning solutions work with this glass type. You should have a clear idea about what kinds of products to use and what to avoid.

So without further ado, let’s get started, shall we?

What Is Museum Glass?

If you’ve framed a picture before, you might notice that some varieties of bright lights reflect off of the surface of the glass. The art that you have framed, is not clearly visible to the naked eye because of this reflection.

With museum glass, you don’t get that reflection. The glass has a glass UV coating that blocks 99% of UV light. This construction allows only 1% reflection with 96% light transmission.

Therefore, the art or picture in the frame can be seen clearly without any glare. Layers of optical coating around the glass and UV coating help transmit the true colors of the image with the greatest color neutrality.

It’s called a museum glass because most high-quality paintings and arts that you see in museums are framed using this glass. The museum-grade product can be used in a room with any form of lighting without having to worry about reflection.

How To Clean Museum Glass?

Museum glass does not get dirty that easily. But if someone has managed to put a fingerprint on it, or if with time a few spots have appeared, you can take care of it easily. Here are the steps that you should follow to clean your museum glass fast and easily.

Step1: Place The Art Somewhere Safe

As we’ve mentioned before, museum glass can be a bit expensive than regular glass. It’s only natural for you to not want it to break.

Cleaning a framed artwork while it is still hanging can be quite dangerous. You will be using quite a lot of force when cleaning the museum glass. An artwork that is still on the wall might fall off to the ground because of this movement.

If the height at which the art was hung is too high, the glass will surely shatter. Besides that, a painting or framed art falling from a great distance is quite a safety hazard as well.

To be on the safe side, you should always take off the painting from the wall. Place the glass on a surface that can hold on to it safely. Your glass should rest in a safe spot where it does not move too much.

If you are cleaning glass that has not been framed yet, you could use machines that hold on to the glass for you. Usually, these machines are found in places where they cut the glass.

For at-home cleaning, placing the glass on any stable and strong surface will do just fine.

Step2: Get Rid Of Any Dust

When cleaning museum glass, you need to be careful not to scratch the surface. Avoid any sort of scrubbers and harsh cleaning cloths. A microfiber cloth is the most ideal cleaning fabric for museum glass.

Using a microfiber cloth, you should gently rub off any dust and debris on the surface of the glass. This is a vital step of the cleaning process. Any dust that you leave on the surface will mix with the wet cleaning solution later on, and turn muddy. This mixture can be even harder to clean and can make the overall cleaning process a lot longer.

So, make sure any loose dust or dirt is cleaned off of the surface before you move on to the next step.

Step3: Use A Museum Glass Safe Cleaning Solution

A glass cleaning solution that does not have any ammonia or alcohol in its formulation will be the ideal choice when cleaning museum glass.

There are many lens or glass cleaning solution options available in the market. Just look for the “no ammonia” tag on the cleaning solution, and you’ll be good to go.

To clean the glass using a cleaning solution, you will need two microfiber cloths. Both of these should be dry, to begin with.

Slightly dampen one microfiber cloth with the cleaning solution, and rub the glass to clean it. Remember, less is more when it comes to using the cleaning solution. Do not drench the cloth with the cleaning solution. Too much moisture is not good for museum glass.

Once you’ve cleaned the area, use the other dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the glass. You should do this almost instantly.

It’s better to work in sections when cleaning museum glass. Letting the cleaning solution sit on the glass for too long is not good for its construction. If you work in sections, you can wipe the glass dry sooner.

Step4: Dry Off The Glass

After you’re done cleaning the glass and no spots are left, the final step is to wipe the glass down one last time. This is to ensure that no moisture is left on the surface of the glass.

Similar to the above-mentioned steps, you will be using a microfiber cloth for this drying step as well.

And with this, you should now have a dry, and squeaky clean museum glass!

Tips For Cleaning Museum Glass

Want your museum glass frame to look brand new after cleaning? Here are a few tips that would do the trick.

1. Use A Circular Motion

No matter how tricky a spot is, it can be removed using the right kind of cleaning method.

To get rid of spots, marks, and fingerprints off of museum glass, you should try rubbing the surface using circular motions. Rub in an anti-clockwise, clockwise, or both directions, and the stain or spot should go away in seconds. This is a much more efficient way to clean museum glass than using straight wiping motions.

However, don’t do circular motion near the edge because your wiping cloth can pick up flakes of the glass, scratching it in the process. When you’re wiping the edge, wipe from center to outward motion.

2. Don’t Clean Too Often

If your museum glass does not look too dull, faded, or dirty, there is no need to clean it.

Cleaning museum glass means you have to take it off the wall. The more you do this, the higher the chances of the glass breaking.

Also, cleaning too often might scratch off the protective or optical layer on the museum glass.

3. Use The Least Aggressive Method

Go for milder cleaning solutions. Instead of scratching at the surface, use soft and gentle wipes.

Try the least aggressive method first to see if it removes the stain. If it doesn’t, you can move on to a more powerful cleaning method.

Precautions You Should Take When Cleaning Museum Glass

No matter what kind of glass you use, you should always be safe. Here are some precautions you should take when cleaning museum glass.

1. Use The Right Cleaning Cloth

If you are trying to clean a very stubborn stain or spot, you might be tempted to use a scrubber or a harsh cleaning cloth. But using a cloth like this might cause damage to your glass.

We always recommend using a softer, gentler cloth when cleaning museum glass. Microfiber cleaning cloths are the top choice at all times. They do not scratch or take the protective layer off of the glass surface.

2. Wear The Right Gear

To avoid getting your fingerprints on the museum glass, you should wear cotton gloves during the cleanup process. Otherwise, you might find that you are making the glass even dirtier.

These gloves also give you a better grip on the object so that it doesn’t slip and break.

Safety goggles are also a good gear to wear since you are working with glass.

3. Take Safety Measures

Keeping the museum glass on a safe surface during the cleanup process is a must. You do not want to risk breaking the glass when cleaning it.

Make sure you have a sturdy and safe spot where you can place the glass for cleaning. When taking the frame off of the wall, be careful not to drop it by mistake. Wearing cotton gloves can help you get a stronger grip.

If the frame is too large, you can try and ask for help for carrying it to the cleaning spot. No kids or pets should be allowed at the cleaning spot to maintain a safe work environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to tell if a glass is museum glass?

An easy way to tell if a glass is museum glass is to check for reflection. If there is no reflection, the glass can be identified as museum glass.

Another way to tell if a glass is museum glass is looking for a slight purple or blue tint. Museum or anti-reflective glasses have a slight tint when looked at from the side.

Why is alcohol bad for anti-reflective glasses?

Alcohol is a no-go for cleaning museum glasses because it can scratch, or even remove the reflective coating of the glass. This could defy the whole purpose of using anti-reflective glasses in the first place.

Are reflective glass cleaning solutions anti-bacterial?

This will depend on the brand of the cleaning solutions you are using. Some cleaning solutions come with an anti-bacterial property and some don’t.

If this is something that you are looking for in your spray glass cleaning solution, you should definitely check the label before making a purchase.

Can i use windex on museum glass?

No, you should never use Windex on museum glass. Windex contains a high amount of ammonia in its formulation. So the product could cause irreparable damage to museum glass. Use a cleaner that is ammonia-free.

Final Words

Taking good care of museum glass is a must if you want it to last a long time. Cleaning the glass is one of the most vital steps when it comes to taking care of your framed artwork. Thankfully, you can get a lot of products in the market that makes the cleaning process easier.

If you know how to clean museum glass properly, you won’t need to call in for professional glass cleaning services every now and then. You can keep your art glass clean and save money on maintenance as well!

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