Ask the Cleaning Expert – Help Me Remove My Window Mural!

The Cleaning Experts at  A Clean Streak answer your toughest cleaning questions.

Help me remove my window mural!Lynn D. from Skagit writes: I have a slightly embarrassing situation I’m hoping you can help with. This past St. Patrick’s Day, I commissioned a local artist (who’s since left our area for Sedona) to paint a fun Saint Patrick’s Day mural on my large living room window at the front of my house. Well…I loved the colors so much that I procrastinated on removing the artwork until last week when I went outside with a hose. Much to my dismay, the paint didn’t dissolve and I’m not sure what to do with my outdated mural! My neighbor suggested I take a razor blade to it…but based on the size of my window, this would take forever to accomplish (plus, I’m worried I’d scratch the glass). Can you offer any suggestions?

A Clean Streak, The Window Cleaning Experts answer:  Hi Lynn. It’s not surprising that spraying your windows with the hose didn’t dissolve the paint, as most window artists (especially here in the rainy Pacific Northwest) use acrylic paints just to avoid undesirable drips due to our typically wet weather! Acrylic paints can bond to glass —  but don’t worry, with just a little know-how and elbow grease your windows will be clean and ready for the next holiday in no time!

First gather your materials. For this job, you’ll need:
Cleaning Window Mural

  • A bucket and spray bottle
  • A source of water (hot water, if at all possible)
  • Clean rags, paper towels, and microfiber clothes
  • A plastic window scraper (in a pinch, you can use the ice-scraper you use for your car windshields)
  • A step-stool (if necessary to comfortably reach your artwork)
  • White vinegar and rubbing alcohol (91% or higher)
  • Rubber gloves and eye protection

Don your safety gear, fill your bucket with hot water, and set the step-stool in place (if using). Then, soak a clean rag no bigger than 2’ by 2’ in the water. Once the rag is saturated, hold it firmly over the painted area for a minute or so (we like to start at the top of the artwork, but you could also choose to start at the right side if you’re right-handed, or the left side if you’re left-handed). This should soften the paint enough that you can use your plastic scraper at a 45 degree angle to scrape the now-rubbery paint off the glass. We don’t suggest using a metal razor blade for the same reasons you mentioned in your question… and we do suggest catching the paint shavings in a paper towel or rag held in your other hand to avoid a messy clean-up further along in the project.

If all the paint doesn’t come off in your first scraping, saturate a clean rag with rubbing alcohol, hold it against the stubborn area for a minute or so and then gently scrub the area with another alcohol-saturated rag.

Finally, mix white vinegar and water in a 50/50 solution in your spray bottle. Again, working in sections, spray this solution onto the glass, and wipe clean with microfiber cloths.

Thanks for contacting us Lynn. Acrylic paints can be tough to remove from glass, but we’re confident that by following these simple steps, your living room windows will be clean and ready for the next holiday mural! If this project seems to be too big of a job for you to accomplish, we invite you to give us a call. At A Clean Streak we have the expertise and the equipment to make all of your windows sparkle!  For a free project estimate, call us 360-395-5748 today.

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