A Cleaning Guide To Keep Your Frosted Glass Looking New

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Frosted glass can enhance the privacy of a space while also adding an elegant feel, making it a preferred choice in many homes and offices. However, frosted glass can get dirty quite quickly. So, what’s the best way to clean it?

To keep your frosted glass looking new, spray it with an ammonia-based cleaner and wait for a while as it loosens the dirt and grime. Then, wipe away the cleaner with a newspaper or paper towel. Finally, wipe the glass once more with a microfiber cloth to get rid of any residual cleaner and grime.

Things like accumulated dirt, fumes from the kitchen, lime or hard water deposits, and fingerprint smudges can make frosted glass look quite dirty. Luckily, cleaning it isn’t too difficult. Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to clean frosted glass as well as the cleaning products you should avoid. 

What Is Frosted Glass?

Garage of house in Long Beach California with wide frosted glass paned door

Frosted glass is essentially a sheet of glass that’s made opaque by techniques like acid etching or sandblasting. The light scatters as it is transmitted through the glass, and it obscures visibility to a certain extent. 

There are also ways to achieve the frosting effect on an existing glass surface. You can apply a vinyl film (on Amazon) to the glass surface, much like a stencil, or use canned frosted glass sprays (on Amazon)

You can find frosted glass in many places such as restaurants, offices, and residential buildings, and it’s used in various ways, including for office dividers, shower doors, windows, etc. Typically, frosted glass is used in bathrooms and kitchens. 

How Is Frosted Glass Made?

The translucent appearance of frosted glass is typically achieved with two techniques: sandblasting and acid etching.


Sandblasting involves using a high-velocity machine that blasts sand on the glass surface. The speed at which the sand makes contact with the glass results in abrasions, which makes the glass surface not just rough, but also translucent. You can control and change the level of translucency by adjusting the speed of the machine.

Acid Etching

In acid etching, hydrofluoric acid is used to give the glass its frosted look. When the acid reacts with the glass, it corrodes the surface and gives it a milky appearance. Once the process is complete, the glass is thoroughly washed, which leaves behind glass that has been permanently etched.

What’s the Best Way to Clean Frosted Glass?

Grease spots, fingerprints, and white spots from lime deposits can make the glass dirty. The good thing is that it’s easy to deal with the build-up on the glass. 

When cleaning frosted glass, you need to consider a few factors like where the glass is placed (such as in the bathroom) and if it needs to be cleaned in its place to get the best results. 

Supplies You’ll Need

To make your frosted glass look as good as new, you first need a few supplies: 

  • Alkaline or ammonia-based cleaners: Such cleaners are made with chemicals ideal for cleaning glass. Since ammonia tends to evaporate quicker than other cleaning materials, it’s less likely to leave behind streaks, dirt, or dust. A solid cleaner to try is Windex (on Amazon).

    When you use an alkaline cleaner, you also don’t need to scour. In case you don’t have ammonia, you can get an alkaline-based glass cleaner. 
  • Microfiber cloth: Frosted glass is quite fragile and can easily be scratched when you wipe it dry. However, microfiber cloth (on Amazon) won’t cause any scratches. 
  • Paper towels: These are also a good option since they don’t leave behind fibers like dish towels or cloth rags.  

The Cleaning Process

Once you gather the necessary materials, here’s how to clean your glass:

Step 1: Spray the Cleaner

Man spraying window glass with water to install frosted window vinyl

Spray your ammonia-based cleaner on the frosted glass and wait for a little bit. While the ammonia stays on the glass, it works to loosen soap residue, dirt, and grime left on the glass.

When you leave the cleaner on the glass for a while, it’ll remove a significant layer of build-up, so you won’t have to wipe as much to get rid of the remaining stains. This will reduce the chance of scratching the window, too.

Step 2: Wipe the Glass

Once the ammonia has worked its magic, wipe the glass using a balled up paper towel or newspaper. Make sure you wear rubber gloves to protect your skin and wipe in a circular motion to prevent streaking. 

Using a paper towel first is a good idea since it’s rough enough to remove tough dirt and grime, but not too rough that it’ll cause scratches. Plus, it won’t leave behind any residue (such as small fibers) like other kinds of drying cloths. 

And yes, you can use a clean rag, but paper is much better at cleaning glass.

Step 3: Use a Microfiber Cloth

After you wipe away the ammonia cleaner and grime with a paper towel, wipe the glass once more with a microfiber cloth. This will get rid of residual cleaner or grime without leaving behind any particles, fibers, or scratches.

Tips to Remember

  • Always make sure you clean in sections to prevent the cleaning solution from dripping everywhere. Plus, cleaning in sections makes it easier to apply gentle pressure since you don’t have to scrub a large surface in one go.
  • If there’s a considerable layer of grime and dirt build-up, it’s better to clean it with a standard cleaner first before using a stronger cleaner to get rid of mineral deposits. 
  • For tougher grime and stains in areas like the bathroom, a glass cleaner might not be strong enough. For such stains, you can try baking soda.

    Make a paste with one tablespoon of baking soda, water, and just a little bit of white vinegar or dishwashing soap. Apply it with a paper towel, let it sit for a couple of minutes, or scrub it with a paper towel or newspaper. 
  • In the end, you can spray the glass cleaner again and wipe it lightly to make sure there are no streaks left behind. If you’re cleaning the frosted glass in your bathroom, let it dry first before spraying the cleaner on it. 

Which Cleaning Products Should Be Avoided? 

When it comes to cleaning frosted glass, you should only use non-acidic cleaners and scrub gently.

Cleaning agents that have a pH higher than 7 (or, in other words, are alkaline) are more effective in breaking up grime and mineral deposits compared to acids. This means you shouldn’t use acidic cleaners, citrus cleaners, and toilet bowl cleaners. 

Plus, you don’t want to scratch or ruin the texture of your frosted glass by using an abrasive. This is why you should avoid using the following:

  • Scrub sponges with scouring pads
  • Steel wool
  • Pumice stone
  • Anything labeled abrasive or heavy-duty

Can Frosted Glass Be Removed?

With time, frosted glass can fade and start to look messy, indicating that it’s time to remove or replace it. To do so, you first need to determine the kind of frosted glass you have. Did you apply the frosting on your own using frosted films or frosted sprays, or was it done by the manufacturer? 

Frosting done at home can easily be removed with acetone or scraped off with a razor blade. For frosting done commercially by the manufacturer, you’ll need something stronger to remove it completely. Check with the manufacturer for removal advice.

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