Gold Foil - Storefront

I have a storefront who has been having trouble finding someone in our area that can clean their inside windows because of the gold foil lettering.

Wondering if anyone has experience with this type of material. What do you do? What solution do you use or don’t use?

We typically use Unger easy glide solution but I was wondering if good ol’ Dawn might be the way to go here. I was going to squeegee down to the lettering, then dab-dry the area with huck towel.


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Consider using just clean water and avoid the lettering

The insides are looking pretty oily/streaky. I’m not convinced that just water will do it.

To clarify are you talking about gold filigree? Like you would find on a fire truck? Basically gold feather paper? Normally, as in the case of the fire trucks, there is a seal coat over it and it should be resistant to any mild detergent. I am intrigued to see images.

I’m not sure it would technically classify as “filigree” but it’s gold foil laid over a glue/adhesive that was painted in the shape of the lettering. It looks a little worse for wear, but honestly, the wear looks really good. I don’t want to degrade the lettering further, as I think more wear might shift the look from cool hipster to dirty homeless pretty quickly. :wink:

Here are a few photos of the lettering I grabbed from online.
vic barber 2

Based on the wear they’ve seen over the years, I’m not confident there is a protective clear coat layer over them. Though, there undoubtedly should be, IMHO.

Yeah that is not filigree. This is:

They take the gold leaf and set it on the paint then clear coat over it a few times. I don’t think there can be a clear coat layer applied to the back of the glass without it ruining the clarity.

While I have not run into this myself with cleaning windows, I have been in older buildings in Metropolitan areas like New York and Philadelphia where the storefronts had hand painted lettering with a black drop-shadow/border like what it appears to be depicted in the images. On one hand the paint can be restored and the lettering will look new again and the new paint will protect the gold leaf lettering while you wash the windows. However, if the client wants to keep the “patina’d” look, you may have to use a piece of masking tape and plastic drape to "shield the lettering while you Trad wash the window surface above, the remove the tape & drape and hand wash between each letter which would be time consuming as all hell, but I can see taking the extra steps and charging a hefty premium to “preserve the delicate patina” (how I would phrase it to the client).

I have an older barbershop on my route. been around since 1955 same space. The painted lettering on the inside like your’s is oil based paint. They asked me to clean it with clean water no soap. After 6 years of monthly service lettering is still fine.

Clean up to and around them and then just use clean water. If the owner is really worried about it, they’ll understand what you are trying to do. Someone with the skills to repaint that are probably no longer around.

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We managed to get it done without issue. Took some very careful huck towel detailing but about 1h to finish 7 panes… Not ideal, but they haven’t been done in ages and the difference before/after was stark.

We ended up just using light dawn soap in water to get all the oily buildup off the glass. Next time I would do those windows with water only and schedule it for every few weeks. We’ll see if they go for it. At 1h per job it will be a question of cost effectiveness for them.

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They needed a heavy cleaning and looks like you did a great job.