Cleaning-Cloudy-Antique-Glass

Cloudy glass, otherwise known as sick glass, can sometimes be cleared. Sick glass occurs when hard water seeps into the glass through micro fractures. The calcium, lime, and other minerals in the water cause a light, foggy appearance to occur. And as antique glass collectors know, eliminating “cloudy glass” can be a formidable challenge.  

Over the years, the aforementioned collectors have devised a number of remedies to treat―and sometimes cure―sick glass. Using only household items, here are 5 methods for cleaning cloudy antique glass.  

Soapy Water Soak

Cleaning-Cloudy-Glass

Always start with a simple soak in soapy water.

  1. Place a towel or rubber dish mat in the bottom of the sink of plastic tub to protect delicate glass
  2. Rinse the glass thoroughly to remove loose debris
  3. While applying generous squirts of dish soap, fill the sink with enough warm (not hot) water to submerge the glass
  4. Soak the item for at least 30 minutes
  5. If the glass is stable, use a soft-bristled bottle brush to clean the inside of the bottle
  6. Fill the bottle halfway with soapy water
  7. Add a small handful of uncooked rice and swirl it around the bottle
  8. Rinse thoroughly with water
  9. Remove and wipe dry with a soft, microfiber cloth

Tip: Once complete, dab some Colgate Baking Soda Toothpaste on your finger and lightly rub the paste into the glass. Once the glass has been covered, gently rinse the paste off with warm water.

Vinegar Soak

Cleaning-Cloudy-Antique-Glass

If your glass is still cloudy after a soapy water soak, try vinegar.

  1. Place a towel or rubber dish mat in the bottom of the sink of plastic tub to protect delicate glass
  2. Fill the sink with equal parts white vinegar and water
  3. Allow the liquid to sit for at least a day
  4. Clean the glass with a nylon scrub pad
  5. If the glass is stable, use a soft-bristled bottle brush to clean the inside of the bottle
  6. Fill the bottle halfway with undiluted white vinegar
  7. Add a small handful of uncooked rice and swirl it around the bottle, repeating every few hours as needed
  8. Rinse thoroughly with water
  9. Remove and wipe dry with a soft, microfiber cloth

Tip: For extra clarity, fill the bottle with water and drop in a denture cleaner tablet.

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Rubbing Alcohol

Cleaning-Sick-Glass

A little rubbing alcohol can cut and evaporate filmy residues that cloud antique glass.

  1. Place a towel or rubber dish mat in the bottom of the sink of plastic tub to protect delicate glass
  2. Pour rubbing alcohol onto a soft, microfiber cloth
  3. Using the alcohol infused cloth, wipe down all accessible areas of the glass
  4. To clean the insides, fill the bottle a third of the way full with rubbing alcohol
  5. Drop some uncooked rice into the bottle as an abrasive
  6. Swirl the alcohol and rice mixture around the bottle, repeating as needed
  7. Rinse with water and wipe dry with soft, microfiber cloth

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Citrus-Based Solvents

Cleaning-Cloudy-Glass-Citrus

If the cloudiness still remains, after trying the previous remedies, it might be time to deploy the big guns; citrus-based solvents. Such solvents are nontoxic and work as an excellent degreaser, paint thinner alternative, and are often used to replace petroleum chemicals such as mineral spirits.

  1. Place a towel or rubber dish mat in the bottom of the sink of plastic tub to protect delicate glass
  2. Pour the citrus solvent onto a soft, microfiber cloth
  3. Using the citrus solvent infused cloth, wipe down all accessible areas of the glass
  4. Pour a small amount of citrus solvent into the glass bottle and gently swirl the solution until all the glass is covered
  5. Leave the solvent on the glass for at least 30 minutes, or as recommended on the package label
  6. Wash the glass with warm water and soap to remove the citrus solvent
  7. Rinse thoroughly with water and wipe dry with a soft, microfiber cloth

Tip: For more industrial strength cleaners, substitute citrus solvents with grout cleaner or Lime-A-Way. And if the cloudiness continues to be stubborn, replace the microfiber cloth with Krazy Kloth, working it into the glass in small, tight circles.

Vaseline & Mineral Oil

To give your freshly cleaned glass more shine, gently rub Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly onto the glass, carefully working in small circles. Let the Vaseline sit for 4-5 days before removing. If you’re looking for a faster treatment, pour mineral oil onto a soft cloth, and gently rub the glass. Although neither are permanent treatments, both methods will give your bottle a little extra clarity and shine.

Regardless of which techniques you choose to use, remember to never use cold or hot water to rinse or wash your glass! Extreme temperature changes can crack or shatter glass. Also, never run antique glass through the dishwasher. Beyond the risk of breaking the glass, in some cases, a dishwasher may add more hard water stains!

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