Do Paper Towels Scratch Glass? Find Out

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It’s a beautiful day and you settle down in front of your glass window to enjoy the view. But these smudges and whitish haze over the window are terrible to see. So you grab some paper towels which are super soft and easily within reach. You wipe the window till you’re satisfied but it seems there are now scratches that were not there before.

Is paper towel okay to use to dry glass

Now you’re wondering: Do paper towels scratch glass? The simple and short answer is YES. Paper towels can actually scratch glass.

I know, it’s almost unbelievable. You would like to know how come. Well, keep reading to find out why paper towels are not the best materials for cleaning glass.

And more importantly, I’ll let you know what then you can use to clean your mirrors, windows, tables, shower enclosures and other glass surfaces without damaging or scratching them.

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Why Do Paper Towels Scratch Glass? 

Although paper towels are soft and appear to be gentle, you need to remember what they are made from. They are made from wood and contain tiny wood pulps.

These pulps will not be visible to the naked human eyes but are harmful to the smooth texture of glass. Glass is a material that never lies. Even the tiniest scratch will make an impression on it, creating an eyesore and leading to larger scratches. 

Moreover, many of the commercially available paper towels are recycled products. What this means is that they contain lots of particles that may be very tiny yet very scratchy. 

Another reason why paper towels may leave scratches on glass is that you have to use them dry and on a dry surface too.

If any particles have come to rest on the glass, you will end up rubbing them all over the glass, leading to micro scratches that develop over time into more horrible scratches. Apart from scratches, paper towels actually have other disadvantages when it comes to cleaning glass.

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Disadvantages Of Cleaning Glass With Paper Towels 

1. Paper towels can scratch glass

Paper towels are made from wood and therefore tend to have some pulp that may be scratchy on your delicate glass items. Moreover, they can have tiny particles in them which can also scratch your glass, especially if they are recycled. 

2. Paper towels leave a film that looks like dust over glass after cleaning

Paper fibres are what makeup paper towels. As such, it is bound to leave a film of fibre all over your newly cleaned glass. In the end, a window that you just cleaned looks as if it’s still dirty. This can be really frustrating and discouraging. After all your hard work! 

3. Wet paper towels are not convenient for cleaning

This is because paper is a weak material. Once they get wet, paper towels break down easily and fall apart. You are then left with a squishy mess both in your hands and on your cherished glass. Definitely not the squeaky clean result you were hoping for.

Now that you have the answer to your question ‘do paper towels scratch glass?’, I know you are on the lookout for what you can use instead of the ineffective paper towels.

The good news is that there are better alternatives. There are materials or items that are perfect for the job of cleaning glassy surfaces. Read on as we explore two of the very best.

Best Materials For Cleaning Glass

1. A Microfiber Cloth

This is what you need for cleaning all your glass surfaces, whether big or small, including eyeglass lenses! In fact, it works splendidly for other types of surfaces as well. The microfiber’s superpower lies in the fact that it is made up of extremely tiny fibres, made from nylon and polyester. 

Microfiber actually attracts dirt, dust, stains, grease and grime to itself. You know the way you would use a magnet to clean out all the iron filings from a surface because they are attracted to the magnet?

That’s exactly how it works with microfiber clothes as well! They attract all the undesirables you are trying to get out of your glass to themselves, making it super easy for you to clean.

Now that you know just how effective microfiber is, you just need to follow the right steps in using a microfiber cleaning cloth, in order to achieve a sparkly clean eyeglass, phone screen, clock, window or mirror. 

How To Clean Glass Using A Microfiber Cloth 

Materials Needed

  •  Microfiber cloth
  • Soap and water or a liquid glass cleaner
  • An extra cloth


Get all your materials in one place in front of the item you have decided to clean

This will save you from running helter-skelter when your cleaning duty is already in progress. We can’t afford for you to slip up on soapy water while dashing off to get something, can we?

Spray your soap and water mix or your glass cleaner all over the surface you want to clean

With this, stains and greasy spots that have stuck to your precious glass get softened and you can easily wipe them off with an extra cloth before the main cleaning. Make sure the spray is just enough to cover the whole surface but not to overflow or start to drench the floor.

Fold the cleaning cloth made of microfiber

You will need to fold it twice, at least. This provides you with four different sides of the cloth that you can use, helping you to make the best use of the cleaning cloth. So, when one side gets wet or too dirty, you simply turn it to the other side and continue with your chore.

Position the folded microfiber cloth at a corner at the very top of the glass

Wipe it to the other corner carefully. Then bring it down a bit in order to wipe it again to the corner. This completes a movement like the letter C. Keep going this way till you get to the bottom of the glass.


It is important for you to lead the cleaning with the same corner of the cloth that you started with after choosing a side to use. This will prevent you from spreading the dirt that must have already gathered at a corner of the cloth.

2. A Rubber or Silicone Squeegee 

This is another item that can get the job done when all you want is a clean and bright mirror to view yourself reliably, or clear and smudge-free glass to look through.

It’s easier, quicker and therefore more effective to use squeegees on large glass surfaces because you can hold it up by the handle to reach greater heights. This is what professional cleaners use for their glass-cleaning duties.

A squeegee is a piece of T-shaped equipment with a handle that comes in various lengths. The length you choose depends on the height of the glass surface you’re cleaning.

You will need a long handle for high windows but your bathroom mirror may only need a short grip for your hand. The blade of a squeegee is wide and made of rubber or silicone. This makes it useful for cleaning large sections at a time, without scratches. 

How To Clean Glass Using A Squeegee 

Squeegees are very easy tools to use. All you have to do is to spray the glass with a soap and water solution. Then you simply use the squeegee blade to scrub both the liquid and the dirt away! Be careful not to scratch the glass with the metal part of the squeegee though this is unlikely to happen. 

How Long Can Squeegee Blades Last?

If treated right, squeegee blades can last for up to a year before they need to be changed. Squeegees should be stored in a cool and dry place out of the reach of direct sunlight. This is because the ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause the rubber blade to weaken quickly. 

What To Do When Glass Is Scratched 

Oops! You already used paper towels on your glassy material and now there’s a tiny scratch that you can’t ignore? Not to worry, I’ve got your back. Below is what you can do to repair your glass after it is scratched. 

Method 1: Using Toothpaste 

The common white toothpaste in your bathroom has proven to be a quick fix for light scratches on glass. 

Materials: white non-gel toothpaste, cleaning tool of choice, soapy water 


  • Clean the glass and let it dry. You can scroll up to read how to clean glass with either microfiber or a squeegee. 
  • Apply some of the toothpaste on the scratched area and rub it over the scratch in circles, using a microfiber cloth. 
  • Rinse the toothpaste off and dry the area with another microfiber cloth. Check if you have successfully removed the scratch. If not, repeat the process again. 
  • Afterwards, clean the whole glass again. 

Method 2: Using Baking Soda 

Baking soda is so easy to come across and therefore is an easy DIY (Do It Yourself) material when you need those hideous scratches out of your glass.


  • One tablespoon of baking soda
  • One tablespoon of water
  • A bowl, a spoon
  • Microfiber cloth 


  • Mix equal parts of baking soda and water in the bowl. Use the spoon to mix it up thoroughly. If necessary after mixing, add a bit more baking powder till the mixture is a bit pasty.
  • Take up some of the mixtures with a microfiber cloth and rub this on the scratch in circles. Do this consistently for some seconds. Apply a little pressure. 
  • Rinse the area and dry it with another microfiber cloth. Check if you have successfully removed the scratch. If not, repeat the process again. 
  • Afterwards, clean the whole glass again. 

Method 3: Get A Professional Glass Repair Service 

Using toothpaste or baking soda is specifically for light scratches on the surface of the glass. If there are deep cracks or scratches that go all the way in, your best bet is to get a professional to repair the glass. 

Do Paper Towels Scratch Glass – Conclusion 

Do paper towels scratch glass? Yes, paper towels do scratch glass. The reason is that they are likely to contain tiny wood pulps or other particles acquired during recycling.

If you cherish your mirrors, windows and lenses, use a microfiber cloth or a squeegee for cleaning them. If however you already have scratched glass, look up some of the remedies above. Do leave a comment to let me know about your glass-cleaning adventures.

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