Self-cleaning Glass

Glass that is marketed as “self-cleaning” contains a coating that accelerates the rate at which water runs down the glass. The way the water goes down the glass affects how much dirt and other particles it can remove. The premise is that because the water washes away dirt and grime from the glass, users will not need to clean the windows as regularly as they would without the special coating.

How Does it Work?

Self cleaning glass is a type of glass that is coated with a thin transparent layer of titanium dioxide. This coating acts to clean the window in two stages, using two distinct properties: photocatalysis and hydrophilicity. In sunlight, photocatalysis causes the coating to chemically break down organic dirt adsorbed onto the window. Hydrophilicity then causes the water to spread evenly across the window, washing away the broken-down dirt.


Does self-cleaning glass really work?

If you are used to having spotless windows and are up on a ladder on a regular basis to clean your windows, self-cleaning glass will certainly save you some time. It is lower maintenance when compared with regular uncoated glass, but still needs to receive sunshine and water on a regular basis to actually break down dirt and dust which has accumulated on the windows – this makes them ideal for skylights.

Disadvantages to Self Cleaning Glass

There are some disadvantages to self-cleaning glass.

  • It only works when it is exposed to light, so if you have areas of your home or office that are shaded, the dirt will not break down and water alone cannot clean it away.
  • Self-cleaning glass also needs to be exposed to rainwater at least twice a year for the coating to renew itself – this may be problematic in places where rainfall is less frequent.
  • The coating is only 15 nanometers thick so can be easily damaged through improper cleaning (it’s been dubbed as the window cleaners nightmare)
  • It’s expensive compared to normal glass. Self-cleaning glass can cost up to 3 times as much as regular glass for the same size of window, so will need to be factored into your budget before you go ahead with any installation.

Self Cleaning Glass Conclusion

While Self-Cleaning Glass isn’t perfect , its ability to save people time and energy over traditional methods like ladders and squeegees make them an affordable addition for any home or business owner who wants their windows to look clean more often than they currently are.

Elias Chahine
Elias Chahine

Elias Chahine is the director of Gusto Emergency Glass Replacement and has many years in the glass repair and construction industry