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fingerprints, mirrorDougal Waters, Photodisc|Getty

I like to blame the children, but the truth is, my house was covered in fingerprints long before my children arrived. Now, with a family, our windows and walls are a regular CSI nightmare.

Here are a few common surfaces and some smart tips for removing fingerprints for them:

Painted Walls

-- For white walls, add a little toothpaste to a rag. It might be the baking soda that's really doing the work here, but reports suggest using toothpaste, and I've heard of people claiming more success with straight white toothpaste than baking soda alone.

-- Baby wipes. Some people keep a stash every room of the house because they are a quick go-to item that cleans almost anything.

Wallpaper

-- If washable, scrub with a paste of cornstarch and water, or simply use dry borax.

-- If non-washable, put a blotter on the spot, then use an iron to heat the blotter and lift the grease off the wallpaper.

-- Sometimes, an art gum eraser is all you need. Gently rub the fingerprints with the eraser and watch them disappear.

-- The strangest tip of all: Wipe the fingerprints with white bread. This trick was first printed in a publication called The Good Housekeeper in 1839 -- and people still swear by it!

LCD Screen

-- If you're dealing with a small LCD screen, like a cell phone, PDA, or iPod, simply take a piece of clear tape, like Scotch tape, press it onto the screen, and peel it off. Repeat until all the fingerprints are gone.

-- For larger LCD screens, like TVs and computer screens, rub the prints off with a dry microfiber cloth, or one dabbed with lens cleaner. Or you can make your own lens cleaning solution by combining equal parts isopropyl alcohol and distilled water (tap water will leave streaks) in a spray bottle.

Bare Wood

-- To remove greasy fingerprints from unfinished wood surfaces, polish with a mixture of 1 cup mineral oil and 3 drops lemon extract. Once polished, immediately sprinkle cornstarch on the wood surface and buff with a soft cloth. The cornstarch will absorb any excess polish, as well as fingerprints.

Stainless Steel Appliances

-- Surprisingly, Pledge, the wood polish works well to remove oily finger smudges from stainless steel appliances. Make sure to first clean the area with soap and water, and dry it, then apply the Pledge or similar furniture polish.

-- You can also dip a soft cloth in vinegar and wipe down the stainless steel to remove fingerprints.

Windows and Mirrors

-- The almighty baby wipe takes care of grubby fingerprints on mirrors and windows. It seems to be able to cut through grime easily, and without leaving unsightly streaks.

-- If you've already tried to clean your window or mirror and you're dealing with streaks, get your hands on a microfiber cloth, like the ones that come with a new pair of glasses (but you'll find bigger window cloths at the grocery or hardware store). Microfiber cloth is almost perfectly suited for cleaning glass surfaces, and often works great completely dry.

How do you take care of fingerprints around the house? Share your tips in the comments!


  • lita

    For that last suggestion, you need bigger cloths, not clothes. "Cloths" are scraps of fabric; "clothes" are items you wear. Otherwise, a well-written aticle full of useful tips.

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    I like putting vodka in a spray bottle. Takes care of many fingerprints. I love it on black appliances. I couldn't get fingerprints off of my wooden kitchen cabinets. Yep, Vodka did it.

    Reply
  • Jack

    If you are really fat you may need bigger clothes too.

    Reply
  • Kathleen

    Another great way to get marks off walls and floors- nail polish remover. Use it small quantities, but I found it works really well!

    Reply
  • CyndyZ

    When washing windows use newspaper to wipe with, the ink and the paper absorb and no streaks. Can get messy but worth it. Birds are always hitting my windows!

    Reply
  • hyperhowie

    The MAGIC ERASER -- I have no connection with it -- is a commercial product AVAILABLE AT MOST GROCERY STORES, works like a charm. You wet it, rub, e.g., the scuff mark from shoes -- I used it on my off-white walls -- and it worked like a charm (I tried a white sock that a buddy told me about, it still left a streak.) If it works for scuff marks, I assume it would also work for fingerprints. - a Wash., DC batchelor

    Reply
  • Patrick

    I was electrocuted once while resting one hand against a stainless steel refrigerator. Those fingerprints are never coming off that fridge! : )

    Reply
  • DEBRA

    i TRIED THE "BABY WIPE" THING WHEN BY ACCIDENT I SPILLED A BOTTLE OF WATER ON THE FLOOR NEXT TO A MIRROR CLOSET AND I HAD A TUB OF WIPES HANDY SO I THOUGHT WHY NOT... WELL WHAT A NIGHTMARE , FILM WAS EVERYWHERE THE WIPE WAS USED.

    Reply
  • Steph

    I use very, very hot water to remove streaks and finger prints from windows, mirrors and stainless steel. Get the water as hot as you can stand it and flick drops of water onto the window, mirrow or stainless appliance. Wipe with a dry cloth. Because the water is very hot it evaporates leaving no streaks. the hot water also helps cut the greasy film left by fingers.

    Reply
  • Roxanne

    For oily fingerprints and smudges on glass, mirrors, stainless steel or any non-porous surface, try mixing equal parts 91% Isopropyl Alchohol and any blue Windex-type glass cleaner (inexpensive store brands work just as well). Spray applicator works the best. Spray, then wipe with clean soft cloth. No streaks, no film, just squeeky clean surface. Definitely not for painted surfaces though!

    Reply
  • artimus

    ha ha

    Reply
  • G. Jefcoat

    Equal parts of white vinegar and water - - - best solution for no streak windows and mirrors - - not to mention counter tops and floors!

    Reply
  • SoNotMarthaStewart

    Baby wipes leave streaks AND residue... as they should, since they contain emollients to soothe a baby's skin.

    Reply
  • jacktheripper

    i hope the baby wipes clean the prints off my bloody knife

    Reply
  • debbie

    Baby wipes have lotion or lanolin and leave terrible oily streaks.
    Bad idea!

    Reply
  • JAMES

    SIMPLY BREAK OUT ALL OF YOUR WINDOWS WITH A HAMMER. YOU WILL NEVER HAVE FINGERPRINTS ON THEM AGAIN!

    Reply
  • Clean-in-Hawaii

    I'm cleaning an office for my brother and because it's in a retail mall, it has huge picture windows and sliding glass doors inside. The best product I've seen and used is the Windex Multipurpose for all surfaces. There are tons of finger prints on their glass door and it all comes off easily with this Windex. He buys this in bulk at COSTCO. This product is so good that I get compliments from the other stores. The office windows literally shines esp. at night and reflects back light, while the other store's windows remain flat and unreflective. They shine so much, they act like mirrors. I don't need to use a lot just a few squirts for a large area, else it I just end up wiping it over and over. I use plain white paper towels to clean the windows. It also dries really fast so when I use it outside, I can only work in one area at a time. Love this product!

    Reply
  • rebecca

    Stainless Steel magic sold by bed bath and beyond works great on preventing fingerprints in the first place

    Reply
  • 18 Comments / 1 Pages
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