Actually summer is almost here officially, but if you’re like us, you might be a little behind on some spring cleaning. When you’re ready to wipe down those precious framed photos on your walls, shelves, and desks, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right kind of cleaner. Just what kind would that be? Well, we aren’t here to endorse a brand, but we are telling you to avoid any kind that contains ammonia.
It’s Not Personal…It’s Science!
We don’t have anything against mainstream brands like “Windex,” especially for cleaning windows. In fact, they even make an “ammonia-free” version. But when it comes to cleaning picture frames, ammonia-based cleaners are definitely not the way to go. That’s one of the main ingredients in common household glass cleaning products. So, what’s the big deal? Ammonia tends to attack plastics and plastic-based products. It can also soften them. All of this leads to hazing, clouding, or brittleness. So, what does this have to do with picture frames?
Well, many finishes on modern frames contain trace amounts of PVC and plastics in the resins, pigments, and finishes. Additionally, much of the higher quality glass used in the framing industry is coated with special UV resistant films. In some cases, even polarized films (reducing or eliminating glare like the Tru Vue Museum Glass product). These coatings tend to have some kind of plastic base as well. So, you run the risk of creating permanent streaks or a dull cloudy look on your glass. You’ve likely seen this effect on antique glass and mirrors. So, what’s the solution?
A Spring Cleaning Fix
The solution is easy. Simply look for “ammonia-free” glass cleaner, like this: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Glass Cleaner, Lemon Verbena, 24-Ounce Don’t worry, it’s everywhere: grocery, hardware, and home improvement stores. It’s very easy to find, just be sure to read the label. Some have asked about mixing equal parts vinegar and water as a natural glass cleaner. We don’t recommend that either because it still has a corrosive quality to it. You may wish to try distilled water. Because it lacks impurities, it shouldn’t leave any streaks. But this may take some trial and error, perhaps even experimenting with some spring cleaning staples: paper towels and newspaper.
A Note About Acrylic
If your picture frame uses acrylic instead of glass, then this tip is a MUST. That’s because acrylic is specifically a high grade of plastic that will definitely get damaged from ammonia. And while using “ammonia-free” glass cleaner is certainly suitable for use on acrylic, we actually sell a product that is even more ideal for preservation. It’s a plastic-safe cleaner and polish that also leaves an anti-static film on the acrylic. This actually helps reduce the amount of times you actually have to clean it. Call 615-815-6015 or visit for more information.