How does self cleaning glass work?

15.03.24 01:20 PM By steve

In today's fast-paced world, homeowners and businesses are constantly seeking solutions that reduce maintenance and enhance efficiency. Self-cleaning glass represents a revolutionary advancement in this realm. This technology offers a compelling solution for those looking to minimize the labour and time associated with window cleaning, thereby presenting an attractive option for modern architectural designs and eco-friendly living spaces.

What is Self-Cleaning Glass?  

Self-cleaning glass is not just an ordinary piece of glass. It is engineered with a special coating that harnesses hydrophilic and photograph catalytic properties. Activated by UV rays, this innovative glass works to decompose organic dirt while ensuring water spreads evenly across its surface, preventing water spots and reducing cleaning frequency.

The Science Behind Self-Cleaning Glass  

The cornerstone of self-cleaning glass technology lies in its titanium dioxide coating. This coating functions in two primary ways: photo catalytically, breaking down organic dirt when exposed to sunlight, and hydrophilically, causing water to spread evenly instead of beading. This dual-action approach ensures that the glass stays cleaner for longer periods, even under diverse environmental conditions.

Hydrophilic Nature of Self-Cleaning Glass  

The hydrophilic nature of self-cleaning glass means it loves water. When rain falls on the glass, it does not form droplets but instead spreads out to cover the surface, effectively rinsing away the broken-down dirt and grime. This characteristic not only keeps windows cleaner but also eliminates the need for harsh cleaning agents.

Photo catalytic Self-Cleaning Glass  

Photocatalytic action is another pivotal aspect. Under UV light, the titanium dioxide activates to break down and dissolve organic dirt on the glass surface. This process significantly reduces the adherence of dust and dirt, making it easier for rainwater to wash it away, thus maintaining clarity and reducing cleaning efforts.

Environmental Impact and Green Advantages  

Opting for self-cleaning glass is a step towards greener living. By diminishing the need for chemical cleaners and frequent water use, it contributes to environmental conservation. Its self-sustaining cleaning process leverages natural elements, offering an eco-friendly alternative to traditional window cleaning methods.

Self-Cleaning Glass for Different Climates  

Remarkably versatile, self-cleaning glass adapts to various climatic conditions. Whether in dry or humid climates, its effectiveness remains uncompromised. In areas with less rainfall, a simple hose down can activate the self-cleaning process, ensuring the glass remains pristine.

Maintenance and Care for Self-Cleaning Glass  

Maintaining self-cleaning glass is straightforward. It requires minimal intervention, with occasional rinsing or wiping to enhance its self-cleaning properties. Avoiding abrasive materials and harsh chemicals ensures the longevity of the coating and the effectiveness of the cleaning process.

Cost Analysis and Savings  

The cost of self-cleaning glass compared to standard glass involves a variety of factors, including the initial purchase price, installation costs, and long-term savings due to reduced maintenance.

The average cost of a double glazed self-cleaning glass unit, measuring 1200mm x 1200mm with 4mm glass, is approximately £181. For a 1000mm × 1500mm triple glazed self-cleaning glass skylight with a timber kerb, the cost is around £700. Installation costs for a standard double window are estimated to be about £300.

It's important to note that these are ballpark figures and may vary based on specific requirements or regional differences. Self-cleaning glass windows are estimated to cost around 20% more than standard glazing options.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Cleaning Windows  

Self-cleaning glass brings numerous benefits, including aesthetic appeal, reduced cleaning bills, and enhanced safety by eliminating the need for ladders and manual cleaning. However, it might not eliminate the need for cleaning entirely, especially for non-organic dirt.

Advantages of Self-Cleaning Windows  

Aesthetic Appeal  

One of the most immediate benefits of self-cleaning glass is its ability to maintain clarity and cleanliness, enhancing the overall look of a building or home. The glass remains free from common blights like smears, water spots, and the accumulation of dirt, ensuring that windows retain an immaculate appearance with minimal effort.


Enhanced Safety  

By reducing the need for manual window cleaning, self-cleaning glass also enhances safety. Traditional window cleaning, especially in multi-storey buildings, often requires ladders or even scaffolding, posing a risk of falls and injuries. The autonomous cleaning function of self-cleaning glass eliminates these dangers, providing peace of mind for property owners.

Not Just Windows  

Beyond windows, self-cleaning glass technology finds application in solar panels, building facades, and other exterior surfaces. Its ability to maintain cleanliness and clarity without manual intervention presents a significant advantage in maintaining large, hard-to-reach surfaces.


Self-cleaning glass boasts an exceptional life span, akin to that of standard glass, yet enhanced with self-cleaning properties. The titanium dioxide layer, responsible for its self-cleaning function, is highly resistant to wear and tear. This durability ensures that the glass retains its self-cleaning capabilities over many years, withstanding various environmental conditions without the need for replacement or intensive maintenance.


Reduced Maintenance Requirements  

One of the most compelling benefits is the substantial reduction in maintenance effort and frequency. Traditional window cleaning involves time-consuming labour and often hazardous conditions, especially for windows located in hard-to-reach areas. With self-cleaning glass, the reliance on manual cleaning is drastically decreased as the glass autonomously maintains its clarity. This reduction in maintenance not only saves time but also significantly reduces the cost associated with window cleaning services.

Environmental Advantages  

The environmental impact of self-cleaning glass is notably positive. Traditional window cleaning methods often require substantial amounts of water and chemical cleaners, both of which have a detrimental effect on the environment. In contrast, self-cleaning glass utilises the natural forces of rainwater and sunlight to achieve a similar, if not superior, level of cleanliness. This process dramatically reduces the need for chemical cleaning agents, leading to a decrease in water pollution and chemical run-off. Moreover, the reduction in water usage aligns with global efforts to conserve this vital resource.

Clearer View Even During Rainfall  

The hydrophilic nature of self-cleaning glass ensures that rainwater spreads evenly across its surface rather than forming droplets. This unique water-sheeting effect not only aids in the cleaning process but also provides an unobstructed view even during heavy rainfall. Traditional windows can become obscured by water droplets and streaks during rain. Still, the self-cleaning glass remains clear, enhancing visibility and allowing natural light to enter the space without impediment.

In conclusion, self-cleaning glass represents a significant advancement in glass technology, offering a host of benefits that extend well beyond simple convenience. Its durability, reduced maintenance requirements, environmental advantages, and ability to provide clearer views, even in adverse weather, make it an ideal choice for those seeking a practical, eco-friendly, and cost-effective solution for their glazing needs.

Disadvantages of Self-Cleaning Windows  

Incomplete Dirt Removal  

While self-cleaning glass is highly effective against organic materials (like bird droppings and tree sap), it may not be as efficient in removing inorganic dirt such as dust or mineral deposits. In areas with hard water, for instance, the calcium and magnesium in the water can leave behind marks that the self-cleaning process cannot eliminate. As a result, occasional manual cleaning might still be necessary to address these residues.

Initial Cost  

The technology behind self-cleaning glass makes it more expensive than standard glass. The upfront cost can be a significant factor for some homeowners and businesses, especially when considering large-scale installations. However, it's important to weigh this initial investment against the potential savings in cleaning costs and the convenience offered over the glass's life span.

Weather Dependence  

Local weather can influence the efficiency of self-cleaning glass. The photo catalytic process requires sunlight to activate, and the hydrophilic action relies on rain to wash away loosened dirt. In areas with prolonged dry spells or minimal sunlight, the self-cleaning action may be less effective, necessitating occasional manual intervention to maintain cleanliness.


Self-cleaning glass represents a forward leap in window technology, offering substantial benefits in terms of aesthetics, cost savings, and safety. However, it's essential to consider the limitations, particularly the effectiveness against non-organic dirt and the initial investment. For those seeking a low-maintenance and safer alternative to traditional windows, the advantages of self-cleaning glass may justify the investment despite its minor drawbacks.

How Long Does Self Cleaning Glass Last?  

Self-cleaning glass is designed to last as long as the glass itself, with the coating remaining effective throughout the life span of the window. Proper maintenance can extend its efficacy, making it a lasting investment in cleanliness and convenience.

No Cleaning Necessary with Self Cleaning Glass  

Although self-cleaning glass significantly reduces the need for manual cleaning, occasional light cleaning might still be required to maintain its pristine appearance. This minimal effort underscores the glass's low-maintenance nature.

Where Can You Apply a Self Cleaning Coat?  

This versatile technology can be applied to various types of glass surfaces, including not only windows but also conservatory roofs, skylights, and glass facades. Its adaptability makes it an ideal choice for both residential and commercial buildings, ensuring that every glass surface can benefit from reduced cleaning requirements and enhanced aesthetic appeal.

Is Self Cleaning Glass Worth It?  

Considering the benefits of self-cleaning glass, such as time and cost savings, reduced environmental impact, and the convenience of having windows that maintain their clarity with minimal effort, the investment is indeed justified. Its long-term advantages, particularly in maintaining difficult-to-reach areas, make it a worthwhile addition to any property.

Innovations and Future Developments  

The future of self-cleaning glass looks promising, with ongoing research and development aimed at enhancing its efficiency and applications. Innovations may include improved photograph catalytic properties and broader applications beyond architectural uses, contributing further to sustainable living environments.

Safety and Accessibility Benefits  

One of the standout advantages of self-cleaning glass is its contribution to safety and accessibility. By reducing the need for manual cleaning, it minimises the risks associated with ladder use. It makes it easier for those with mobility issues to enjoy clean, clear views without the physical strain.

Ipswich Glass: Where Elegance Meets Functionality

Ipswich Glass is proud to offer an extensive and diverse range of glass products that effortlessly blend elegance with functionality to meet a variety of needs. Our selection includes energy-efficient options such as single glazed glass, double glazed glass, and triple glazed glass, all enhanced with innovative Switchable Privacy Glass and Low E Glass for superior insulation.

For those with an eye for design, we provide unique options like Sunburst Georgian Grille Glass, Decorative Leaded Glass, Bevelled Glass Panels, and vibrant Stained Glass. Our practical range includes Fire Rated Glass, Acoustic Glass, Wired Glass, UV-Blocking Glass, and Mirrored Glass, ensuring we have a solution for every requirement.

If you're in search of unique textures and colours, explore our Sandblasted Glass, Coloured Glass, Crackle Glass, and Textured Glass. To complete our bespoke offerings, we provide Glass Shelves Cut to Size, Self-Cleaning Glass, Solar Control Glass, Georgian Bar Glass, Bespoke Lead Design Glass, and Mirror Cut to Size. At Ipswich Glass, we deliver personalised and comprehensive solutions for all your glass needs.

Ipswich Glass: Your Premier Self-Cleaning Glass Supplier  

At Ipswich Glass, we pride ourselves on manufacturing and supplying high-quality self-cleaning glass products for homes. Our range of glass solutions embodies the perfect blend of innovation, quality, and environmental responsibility. Choose Ipswich Glass for self-cleaning glass that brings together the best in functionality and eco-friendly design, ensuring your home or business benefits from the latest advancements in glass technology. Contact Ipswich Glass to explore our offerings and enhance your property with the cutting-edge convenience of self-cleaning glass.