Glass Cleaner with or Without Ammonia?

January 24, 2020 - 1:26 pm

Many people ask if they should use a glass cleaner with or without ammonia. The true answer is that it depends on the application, BUT in almost all typical use situations it’s better to go ammonia free! This goes for use in the home and most professional applications as well.

The number one reason to avoid an ammoniated glass cleaner involves, you guessed it- safety. The harmful fumes can wreak havoc on your respiratory system, especially if being used in a cleaner that gets sprayed onto surfaces, since it becomes airborne before and possibly after point of contact. The toxic fumes can cause respiratory and skin irritations, as well as asthmatic and allergic reactions.

The second reason, which is closely related to the first, is that ammonia can react and become very dangerous when combined with other chemicals, especially chlorine bleach! You should never combine ammonia with chlorine bleach because this creates chloramines – gases that are extremely toxic. Chloramine exposure can lead to chest pain, nausea, coughing, irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, shortness of breath, pneumonia, lead to fluid in the lungs and also cause stomach disorders. If you think this all sounds quite terrible, you’re correct. Never mix chemicals or cleaning products, especially if they contain ammonia or chlorine.

The third reason to avoid ammoniated glass cleaner is because it can damage acrylic, plastic, optical and UV coatings, car windows (tinted or not) and many other glass-like surfaces. This greatly limits the usage options and versatility of your cleaner, and can result in irreversible damage to you or your customer’s valuables.

The fourth reason would be streaking! Pesky streaks are one of the most common complaints among glass cleaner users. Ammoniated glass cleaners have been known to cause more streaks than non-ammoniated versions. This can be especially true for windows exposed to sunlight because the suns rays can actually make the solution dry too quickly, causing more streaks to appear on the glass.

These were just our top 4, but there are additional reasons why we feel an ammonia-free glass cleaner is almost always preferable to one with ammonia. With very few exceptions, we feel the negatives far outweigh the positives when it comes to using ammonia in your glass cleaner. There are plenty of great non-ammoniated glass cleaners (like ours) that yield excellent results without the additional risk of adding ammonia.

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