Glass and Mirrors

As you work through your home, you will need to clean nicotine buildup from glass and mirrors. Glass and mirrors come with the benefit of making the yellow build up very easy to see.

Make sure you identify all glass and mirror surfaces in your home. This includes:

  • mirrors
  • windows
  • windows in cabinets or displays
  • glass surface tables
  • pictures

Take Apart if Possible

This woman is cleaning a window

Nicotine and tar buildup can be difficult to clean from the corners of windows, and often will build up over time. You should look for ways to access the glass in different ways, and optimize your ability to clean it.

Many windows can be taken apart or opened in ways specifically designed to make easier to clean. Examine the windows and look for any buttons or levers which may release them from their tracks in order to clean. If you are able to identify the brand of windows, you can look online for model specific information on how best to clean them.

If you are able to isolate panes of glass completely, such as those in picture frames or glass surface tables, you can run them through the dishwasher on hot with vinegar for optimal cleaning.

DIY Glass Cleaner

There is no shortage of glass cleaning solutions on the market which will, no doubt, do a good a job for you. You should use whatever works best for you. However, I have personally had the best luck with this simple DIY glass cleaner recipe:

  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • a tablespoon vinegar

You should apply the mixture to glass or mirror surfaces using a spray bottle, and wipe dry. Anywhere you can see yellow nicotine build up will require extra attention.

  1. Start by trying multiple passes of spraying with the vinegar and water mixture, and wiping dry.
  2. If you aren’t seeing water, you can try increasing the amount of vinegar and rubbing alcohol in the mixture.
  3. If all else fails, try using ammonia on the stains. Make sure you wear gloves and googles and have plenty of ventilation when working with ammonia.

Don’t Overlook The Non-Glass Parts of the Windows

You should clean window jambs, sills, and sashes separate from the panes. Consult the relevant part of our Eliminate Cigarette Smoke Odor and Tar guide depending on the type of material they are made from.

Tips for Optimal Drying

Use a high density cloth to wipe dry.  If you have any old t-shirts to get rid of, this is a good use for those as well.

Always wipe from top to bottom to avoid dripping.

It’s a good idea to dry left to right one one side and top to bottom on the other anytime you are cleaning windows. That way it is easier to identify which side any streaks are on.

To avoid streaking all together and for optimal cleaning, consider investing $20 in a squeegee.