Newspaper can be used to clean glass.

With a simple trip to the recycling bin, you can turn yesterday's news into today's magic window cleaner. Newspaper has passed down generations in some families as the go-to wipe for cleaning windows and mirrors. Other people are unaware the option exists altogether.


While online commenters insist washing with newspaper is common practice in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, paper towels and cloths appear to dominate in the United States. Try newspaper. It does not contain lint or leave behind streaks. Popular belief is the ink grinds at the mess on the glass, and because glass does not absorb ink, dark smudges do not get left behind.



  • You do not need to change your cleaning solution. Whether you trust a commercial ready-to-use cleaning spray or a 50/50 dilution of vinegar and water, it should work just as well with newspaper.
  • Wear rubber gloves. Wet ink could get messy.
  • Don’t use color sections of the newspaper. Color could bleed onto the glass.
  • Avoid wiping the window frame. Ink could stain the wood.

Critics say applying newspaper to a messy window is not as effective as it was decades ago because the ink works less powerfully today. There could be truth to this. Newspapers traditionally printed with petroleum-based ink but in the late 1980s started switching to eco-friendly soybean-based ink.


Nonetheless, plenty of people continue to rally behind newspaper, so it must still clean well. Try it today, then glance out the window and let us know in the comments below if you can see more clearly.