There's a new glass in town, and she needs to be treated with respect:
Low E Glass, or low emissivity glass, was designed originally for high rise buildings in Sydney and Australia. It basically reduces your heating and cooling bills by around 10% whilst reducing the harmful light that fades your sofa fabrics and can damage your floors. So everyone's on to a winner, right?
Yes, if you want to reduce heat loss and increase energy efficiency, yes if you're the builder and you're advertising the new property with this modern technology glass, no if you're the cleaning company, the home owner, a child, or a project manager.
From my personal experience Low e glass cleaning needs to only be handled by a professional cleaning company that knows what they are doing, and a professional building company that knows how to handle this glass. There's very little information about the proper cleaning methods when it hasn't been handled properly during the building process (which it never is). The cleaning methods from the manufacturers are always just a soft cloth and some dish soap. But that can't always be the cleaning methods when the stickers have been left to dry out for months, the paint has ingrained into the surface of the low e coating, and the concrete residue has been dried out for months on the special coating.
Low e glass has a coating on it, normally on the internal surface. You can clean the external of these panels like normal glass - you can use a dish soap and vinegar solution, squeegee, a mop wand, and a sharp bladed razor to carefully scrape away paint and concrete residue. Wipe it all away with a soft cloth and the external of these windows will usually come up like new, and all traces of those pesky builders will be eliminated like a normal windows clean. The internals, where the low e coating is, need to be cleaned in a totally different manner though.
This requires a knowledge of chemicals, a knowledge of cleaning methods, and a knowledge of this window type to result in a successful windows clean where low e glass is used.
In the next blog I will show you how to treat this glass. From myself continually coming across this glass that was spattered with paint and residue, and was unable to be scraped, squeegeed, or scrubbed, I called the manufacturer myself, I asked them:
"Why are there no proper cleaning instructions for low e glass available on the internet? Why do they not give you instructions on how to properly clean low e glass?"
He replied "Because when you go out to buy a brand new $30,000 car, you don't expect to have to give the new owner instructions on how to remove paint and cement from their new car. This is glass, and it needs to be treated with respect."
Fair enough. He also said:
"We don't recommend highly toxic and caustic cleaning chemicals when cleaning our glass because if we put ""use hydrochloric acid"" in our cleaning methods and someone burnt their fingers using the acid, then we would be held responsible for the negligence of the cleaning methods."
Fair enough again!
However, as an end of build cleaner, I constantly find this glass being mistreated. Not perhaps so much from negligence, but from mainly misinformation or lack of training in this area, which causes the cleaning company a massive headache in the cleaning of this low e glass. If I see this glass in an end of build clean the windows cleaning price immediately doubles.
The recommendations are not to use harsh chemicals, only dish soap, to not even let fingerprints sit for too long on the glass as they can actually permanently damage the coating, and to not use a squeegee, take off all watches and jewellery before cleaning, and that irreparable and irreversible damage can occur easily if this mateial is mishandled. Basically one fingernail, one scratch from the metal from a watch, or one spot of paint can actually permanently damage this low e coating.
Yes, the internal coating can easily be scratched beyond repair, but there are certain cleaning methods that can be undertaken to eliminate most damage that occurs during the building process. We will show you how to get this difficult to clean product back to it's former shining glory in time for the end of build clean reveal and what damage can't be reversed in our next blog post.
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