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How to Clean Leadlight Windows and Leadlight Glass

As beautiful as it is practical, leadlight brings something to your home that not much else can match. Whether you’ve got a federation style house, or art-deco, leadlight glass gives you a timeless glamour that makes your home stand out from the crowd. If you’re one of the lucky ones with stained glass, then you may have found yourself wondering how to best clean them without causing any damage. These are our top tips for looking after your leadlight windows.

What to do:
  • Product matters Some cleaners are too harsh for stained glass – especially those with a high pH level. We recommend avoiding most commercial cleaning products, and looking for an ammonia free soap, instead. Otherwise warm water should do the trick.
  • Clean them separately Spray the cleaner onto the cloth, rather than directly onto the window, and then gently wipe away. Try to avoid wiping the lead as this will just make it look shiny – we will tell you how to clean that in a second.
  • Dry them thoroughly To ensure a streak free finish, after you’ve cleaned them use a dry cloth with a small amount of calcium carbonate to polish the panes. Ground up chalk will also work.
  • Use a Q-tip For the small pieces of your leadlight glass, use a Q-tip. This will help you get into the corners as well, so you can give your windows a really thorough clean.
  • Or old toothbrushes For textured glass – which is common in leadlight windows – you can use an old or soft toothbrush. Use one for the cleaner and one for the calcium carbonate.
  • Paint splatters can be removed |Have you been painting near your windows and gotten splatters on the glass or sash? It’s alright – with a new razor blade you can carefully scrape the paint away. Do not use steel wool, you’ll only scratch the glass. You can also use acetone to dissolve the paint or varnish, but keep an eye on it as you go.
  • Monitor the timber Whatever you do, don’t ignore the timber sash. This is a good indicator of the condition of the windows, and should it deteriorate, you should contact us immediately. Excessive moisture when cleaning will eventually rot the sash, so be careful.
What not to do:
  • Don’t remove the putty Whatever you do, do not remove the putty. This is what’s holding the window in place, and by getting rid of it your leadlight glass will let cold air into your home, rattle in the wind, and eventually fall out.
  • Don’t polish the metal The metal around the individual panes may seem dull, but that’s actually the way it’s supposed to look. If it has gotten really dirty, use an incredibly light (0000) steel wool to remove dirt or paint. Then rub over the lead (not the glass) with black stove polish. This can be dirty, so use care and cover anything that is close by.
In general, we recommend minimal cleaning for your leadlight glass. Usually you can get away with dusting or a light wipe down when needed. If you’ve got particular concerns, contact us – we’re happy to answer any further questions.