Cleaning American Pressed Glass

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    • #132726

      Hi all –

      We have a large collection of American pressed glass that we are contemplating cleaning for an upcoming display. Most of it is clustered around the late 19th-early 20th century, and has not been cleaned since the pieces came into our collection. We were thinking of just lightly washing them with warm water and no soap. Does anyone have recommendations for / experience with cleaning pressed glass?

      Thanks so much!

    • #132728

      A lot of old things have been exposed to smoke – cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and/or soot from fireplaces.  Water without a detergent of some kind will not get the smoke off because it is greasy.  Since pressed glass was made to be used, there’s no reason you shouldn’t use warm water and a regular dish detergent.  You can also try glass cleaner.  You definitely don’t want a  household cleaner that claims to leave things shiny – that usually means that it leaves some oil on the surface.  The important thing is to create a set-up so that nothing is damaged, and doing the work is efficient and easy to do.


      Barbara Appelbaum

    • #132727

      I think that it’s good to dust as much as possible with a soft brush and/or a clean cloth or paper towels, very gently. Then, you can wash with slightly warm water and a little bit of detergent if you think that it will help with the removal of grime on the surface. Make sure that you rinse well your detergent from the glass surface. Depending on the grime, soot and/or dirt accumulated, I will suggest to use ethanol or isopropanol, gently with a cotton swab to see if it works. If your soot is grease the alcohol will remove quite a lot and even more than water. You can mix water and ethanol too (ratios 50:50, 75:25 and 25:75).

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