Here at Homefresh Singapore, our part time maids clean windows all the time. Every house has them, and they are one of the first things to get dirty. Ever so often, we would walk into a house where the owner hands us a stack of old (or even new and unread) newspapers and insist we clean the windows with them, saying that everyone in their family swears by it. We usually agree and follow, but not without a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. So we went back and did some research, and now we present to you 5 reasons why you should stop cleaning glass with newspapers!
1. The secret ingredient that made newspapers such great window cleaners has been replaced.
Back in the day, newspapers were printed with petroleum based oil ink. That is the same class of oil that goes into glass polish and gives glass a beautiful sheen. Then, in the 1970s and 1980s, newspapers worldwide began switching to soy ink in the face of rising environmental concerns associated with petroleum based inks and because it was cheaper. With this new vegetable ink, newspapers have lost their ability to polish glass like it used to. It might have worked for your parents and grandparents generation, but sadly the formula has changed.
2. Newspaper ink may not stain your glass, but it sure does stick to wooden frames
While ink doesn’t stick to glass, it sure does stick to both fibrous and glossy material. Watch out for your window frames, especially if you have pretty white frames. A shiny window with a smeared frame is still an unattractive window, and ink stains are a lot harder to get out than dust on a window (ever tried erasing a newspaper?)
3. It could get messy, really quickly
Cleaning one mirror with some newspaper is fine. You scrub, you polish, and you quickly toss that wet wad into the nearest bin. Cleaning an entire house worth of glass is an entirely different matter. You have to figure out where to put the fresh newspaper where it won’t get wet, you lug a bin around just for crumped newspapers which feel like they take up way more space than they should, and should you mess up, you’ll literally be peeling letters of the ground (pun intended).
4. It could get more expensive in the long run
Back in the day, newspapers made a lot of sense because it was the only way one could get news so everyone had them lying around. These days, many families don’t even subscribe to any paper, so some true believers have resorted to buying fresh newspapers for each cleaning. While that might just be a dollar a week, it quickly adds up to 4 dollars a month, $48 dollars year. While it might have made good financial sense in the past, it might not for today’s high tech world.
5. Your window could be MUCH cleaner, MUCH faster
Introducing: The squeegee.
I bet any newspaper couldn’t have cleaned up all that soap so cleanly! The squeegee has proven itself to be the fastest and most effective way in the world. When we say proven, we mean that the Guinness World Record for fastest window cleaning was set with, you guessed it, a squeegee by Terry Burrows from the UK. He cleaned three 1.1m x 1.1m windows in 9.14 seconds. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how amazing a squeegee is.
And just how much is this amazing device? You can get a brand new squeegee for just $2.90 at good old reputable IKEA Singapore.
That is the cost of 3 newspapers, and will probably last you at least a year. With the squeegee around, who needs newspapers anymore?
6. Answer: If you are NS Man stuck in Tekong
While the newspaper pales in comparison to the squeegee, it is still a whole lot better than paper towels or cloth because it doesn’t streak or leave fibres all over the glass surface. So if you do find yourself in Tekong where a clean window / mirror means an hour less of bunk re-inspection and a whole lot less pushups, we’d say you should probably go with the newspapers.