In the context of studying the feasibility of photocatalytically self-cleaning windows and windshields, clear, abrasion resistant, photocatalytic films of TiO2 were formed on soda lime glass and on fused quartz by a sol-gel process. The rate of photooxidation of contaminant deposits was estimated by measuring the rate of decrease in the integrated IR absorbance associated with the C-H stretching vibrations of a thin solution-cast film of stearic acid under 365 nm (2.4 mW/cm2) or 254 nm (0.8 mW/cm2) irradiation. Approximately 3 × 10−4 stearic acid molecules were stripped per 365 nm photon in either front- or back-illuminated soda lime glass, and 6 × 10−4 molecules when the films were coated on fused quartz. For thin TiO2 films on fused quartz, the rate of photooxidation, normalized by the number of photons absorbed per unit area, was independent of the wavelength. In contrast, for films on soda lime glass, the rate of photooxidation, when similarly normalized, was higher for the less penetrating wavelength. The reduced photoactivity on glass at the deeply penetrating wavelength (365 nm), as well as the greater photoefficiency on quartz than on glass, are attributed to diffusion of sodium oxide from the glass into the inner glass-contacting zone of the TiO2 layer.