Why Does Newspaper Clean Windows?


Most people grew up using newspaper to clean windows. Conventional wisdom said that the best way to clean windows around the house was to use vinegar and newspaper. But does that really work? Or is using newspaper to clean windows just an old myth that people kept repeating?


In our experience most of the professional window cleaning company, using cleaning windows with newspaper does work. But it isn’t always the best or most efficient way to clean modern windows. Newspaper is better for cleaning windows than using rags or paper towels, it’s true. Remember, mirrors are just glass as well, so this all applies to cleaning mirrors throughout your home whether it’s a bathroom mirror or a full-length mirror.But wet newspaper can leave black smudges of ink all over window frames. That ink can be difficult to clean and may even require repainting. Therefore, while newspaper will work better than some other methods it is not a foolproof way to get great looking windows.Here’s how newspaper became the homemaker’s answer for how to clean windows:

Newspaper Used To Be the Best Way to Clean Windows

Rags were never good for cleaning windows because they leave streaks and smudges. They also then have to be washed which can make window cleaning even more work. But for years that was all that was available. Newspaper is a very dense material. It is made from soft fibers that are very tightly packed together; it is not abrasive and will not scratch or pit glass.In the past newspapers were a part of daily life and everyone got the newspaper daily. So using soft newspaper was a cheap and easy way to get cleaner windows without the hassle of rags.

What About Paper Towels?

When paper towels became common household items people tried using paper towels to clean windows. But paper towels were more expensive than newspaper. And paper towels have jagged fibers that are great for catching liquid but also can cause small scratches or pits on glass. So using newspaper remained the favored method of cleaning windows.Sometimes the ink would run when the newspaper got wet but that was a small problem compared to the risks of using rags or the cost of paper towels. In the 80s and 90s some small newspapers or local weekly papers would sell sheets of newsprint paper that hadn’t been printed on specifically for cleaning windows and packing delicate items.But these days most households don’t regularly get print newspapers. Print newspapers have become obsolete thanks to the Internet. In the year 2000 most print newspapers switched to a different kind of ink that doesn’t run but by then homeowners had already stopped paying for newspaper subscriptions.The homeowners that still got the newspaper on a regular basis had to pay higher prices for subscriptions. The higher cost of subscriptions made it not very cost effective to use newspaper to clean windows.

How Do You Do It?

Washing windows with newspaper is also pretty labor intensive. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Spray the window with cleaner
  2. Rub in circular motions with newspaper
  3. Make sure all liquid is absorbed

Spraying window cleaner on the window is the first step to leave them sparkling with no smudges or streaks. Then use newspaper and rub in a circular motion to loosen the dirt. After that, you have to wipe horizontally and then vertically to make sure there are no streaks and the entire liquid cleaner is absorbed.You have to do that for each section of the window. When you have a lot of windows in the home to clean that can be exhausting and take hours to complete. That’s one of the reasons why people cite cleaning windows as their least favorite household chore.It is tedious, it takes a long time, and you have to pay close attention to every window or you will end up with streaky dull windows even if you are using newspaper to clean them.