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How do you use glass cleaner in a greenhouse?

glass cleaner
Written by Lars Ammerlaan | Last update 28-05-2020

Properly cleaned glass ensures more direct light in the greenhouse. Light is the most important thing for the growth of a crop. Therefore, it is recommended to clean the glass of the greenhouse regularly – inside and outside – to remove dirt such as rust, soot, lime, dust and other stains from the glass. A glass cleaner provides a solution. But how do you use a glass cleaner? Our specialist gives you an explanation.

Composition of glass cleaner

In most cases, fluoride-based glass cleaners are used in horticulture. There are two different types of fluoride-based glass cleaners: hydrofluoric acid-based cleaners and ammoniumbifluoride-based cleaners. 

Hydrofluoric acid-based glass cleaner

A product based on hydrofluoric can be used for cleaning metals and has a germicidal effect. It also removes rust. Hydrofluoric glass cleaners have a very strong effect, but when these cleaners are used, vapour action occurs. The substances released in this way are toxic for humans and cause damage in crops. Therefore, it is important to ventilate the greenhouse after using the glass cleaner. But: neighbouring crops - especially tuberous and bulbous crops such as freesia and lily an also suffer from this vapour effect when ventilating. Please take this into consideration. 

Ammonium bifluoride based glass cleaner

Ammonium bifluoride is a sodium and can be used to remove rust, soot, algae, moss and dust. Ammonium bifluoride based glass cleaners have a milder effect but using this glass cleaners vapour action does not occur. This makes these cleaners safer to use for both people as well as for crops. Because of the milder effect, you can also use these glass cleaners to clean foil.

Ecological glass cleaner

Ecological cleaning products have gotten more popular due to several developments in the market, society and politics. The active ingredients in these type of products are organic acids, natural plant extracts, bio-based solvents and surfacants. These ingredients prevent the process of vaporation from happening, making the cleaner suitable for use in 'full' greenhouses. Besides, ecological glass cleaners are soft to the skin and respiratory tract. Moreover, it is environmentally, human and animal friendly. 

Types of glass cleaners

Royal Brinkman offers three different types:
  • Flusol forte: this product is based on hydrogen fluoride. The product has a strong cleaning power, but vapour action does occur. 
  • Top cleaner: this product is based on ammonium fluoride. The product has a strong cleaning power and has less vapour action compared to flusol forte. 
  • Ecoforte: this product is based on ammonium fluoride. The product has a strong cleaning power and has no vapour action at all.
  • Greenhouse Glassclean: This is a product based on organic acids and natural plant extracts. The product has a strong cleaning power and has no vapour effect.
The choice of a glass cleaner depends on the surface that needs to be cleaned and the vapour effect that is released during the application of the glass cleaner.

Using glass cleaner

If you want to use a glass cleaner, please take the following steps:
  1. First, apply the glass cleaner to the glass using a spray gun or a mechanical greenhouse cleaner;
  2. Let the cleaner work in for a while. Glass cleaners have a use time of 10 to a maximum of 15 minutes.  
  3. Do not let a product work longer than the recommended application time. Otherwise, the glass cleaner will dry out and cause damage to the glass.
  4. Remove the cleaner in time and do this with a powerful water jet.
Note: tempered, diffuse or special coated glass cannot be cleaned with these glass cleaners. The fluoride may cause damage to this material. 

Personal protection equipment

When working with a glass cleaner, use always personal protection equipment to avoid eye and skin contact. Please refer to the safety data sheet of the product for more information on the personal equipment required. 

Disinfecting glass

Glass cleaners are for cleaning purposes only; they do not disinfect the glass. To remove bacteria, viruses, fungi and viroid’s that are still present, use a disinfectant.

Glass cleaners

Personal safety

Questions about the application of glass cleaners
Do you have questions about the application of glass cleaners in a greenhouse, or would you like to receive personal advice? Please contact out product specialist Yannick Valstar or ask your question via the form below. On working days you'll receive a reply within 24 hours. 

Specialist Lars AmmerlaanAbout Lars Ammerlaan

Lars Ammerlaan, product specialist in shading agents and diffuse coatings, has been working at Royal Brinkman since 2017. After the position of assistant cultivation manager, and later on account manager, he made the switch to his current position. Lars has gained a lot of knowledge through his practical experience, which enables him to offer customers targeted and personal advice. Lars enjoys visiting the growers’ greenhouses and thinking along with them about suitable solutions. 'The challenging part of this job is the international part. Abroad things can sometimes be very different compared to the Netherlands and that makes it an interesting job, in which I can continue to develop myself.

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