05/14/2012 02:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How To Clean: A Better Way To Wash Windows

Country legend Willie Nelson might not do windows, but the rest of us have to (unless you like looking through a smudged view on a daily basis). And if you search for "how to clean windows," you'll most likely find a tip on using newspapers instead of paper towels to wipe away the glass cleaner. This is something that my grandmother told me about when I was a child, but why does it work?

Flickr photo by NS Newsflash

According to the Department of Energy's Argonne National Library, newspapers by design make great glass cleaner. The fibers that make up newspaper are much denser then paper towels, not only doing a better job of absorbing stains but not coming apart when wet. This means that after you wipe down the window, there won't be paper fibers left on the glass.

Also, unlike most other higher quality types of paper, newspaper does not contain any particles of solid materials, many of which are abrasive and can scratch up your surface.

If your are concerned that the ink on the newspaper will transfer onto your windows, don't worry. Argonne National Library points out that modern newspaper ink is water-based, making it extremely difficult to stain a glass pane.

Want more clever new uses for everyday things? Check out our previous "5 Uses" columns, which cover that very topic, in our slideshow below.

5 New Uses For Everything