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How to Clean Windows

cleaning windows

Glass is the number one villain of every home, rivalled only by grout. It’s more porous than it might seem, so it absorbs the minerals in water. They harden into stains within mere seconds of sunlight exposure. Essentially, the very ingredient you need to clean windows has the potential to cause stains, so you need an intelligent strategy.

Preparing your windows for cleaning

Cleaning solutions can bleach your floors and furniture, so before you haul out your bucket, lay drop clothes over any flooring and décor in the vicinity. Move obstacles away wherever possible because fluids tend to find their way through poorly handled tarps. Next, you’ll need to gather cleaning supplies. A true master has the right tools, and so should you. You’ll need:

  • A high-quality Squeegee
  • A newspaper or microfiber cloth
  • A sponge
  • Your cleaning solution
  • Gloves and goggles if you’re using a corrosive cleaner
  • A bucket of water
  • A truckload of determination.

Choosing the right cleaning solution for the window glass

If your windows are relatively clean, a white vinegar solution might produce a respectable sparkle. If you haven’t cleaned your glass recently, add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to your water. Isopropyl alcohol or ammonia will cut through tough dirt and are perfect for your post-cleaning polish. Hydrocarbon blends also produce exceptional shine, but they should only be used with goggles and gloves.

Using the proper tools and techniques to avoid streaks

A well-made squeegee and scraper can achieve an impressive shine, but it might not be enough for an effective polish. Newspaper or a microfiber cloth will remove those last squeegee streaks. Even the best tools can do little with a shoddy technique, so clean your windows in stages:

  • First, scrub away tough grime with a sponge and generous amount of water. Be gentle, though. Scratches will make your glass even more difficult to clean.
  • Wipe the remaining liquid with your squeegee, working downward from the top of your glass.
  • Remove streaks with your microfiber cloth, chamois leather, and alcohol.
  • Once your windows are dry, you can begin polishing. You’ll achieve your best results with a commercial cleaner that clings to your windows evenly.

how to clean your windows

Cleaning window sills, frames, and tracks

Sparkling windows deserve sparkling window frames, so use a brush or toothbrush to remove dust from your track. If your windows are detachable, now’s the time to move them out of the way. A vacuum cleaner is a perfectly legitimate dust remover that will get into the tight corners of your tracks. If you need to wash grimy lubricant away, however, an angled brush might be necessary. Follow with your cleaning solution, making sure you don’t oversaturate your cloth. If you take your windows seriously, a handheld car detailing steam cleaner will produce superb results.

Frames are often delicate, so a gentle approach is usually best. Use a mild detergent in a spray bottle, staying away from abrasive sponges. If you have wooden frames, finish with chromated copper arsenate for protection.

Cleaning the outside of your windows

Ladders lead to 160 fatal injuries in the US every year, so cleaning at height is risky. An extended squeegee might reach the requisite floor from ground level. Alternatively, a U-shaped telescopic pole could help you to reach your exterior windows from indoors. A magnetic double-sided cleaner is another option that will take care of your interior and exterior glass in a jiff. If you need a thorough clean, though, you might have to hire the professionals.

Using a suitable cleaning solution for outdoor grime and stains

When you need to scrub through dirt at height, you don’t always have the luxury of using a mild solution. You may need to upgrade to a cleaning agent like ammonia or propylene glycol butyl ether. Complete a few scrub/rinse cycles before drying and polishing the glass. A squirt-and-squeegee set will make the job far easier.

Removing dirt, dust, and debris from window screens

If you’re lucky enough to have removable screens, you can saturate and scrub them to your heart’s content. Fixed screens offer no such luxury, but a classic dish detergent combo should take care of grime once you’ve dusted with a dry brush. If you need to remove a stain, a splash of bleach should do the trick. This will tackle mildew, too, and who doesn’t love cutting their cleaning time in half?

Windows are prone to salts and silicate deposits. Even in microscopic amounts, they enhance bonding, attracting dirt the moment you put away your squeegee.  If you want to achieve lasting shine, you need to be thorough at every cleaning stage. When it comes to glass, victory belongs to perfectionists. This is one time you’re allowed to bring out your inner pedant. Go ahead. You know you want to.

Nee help with a window project? Schedule a free estimate with 1-800-HANSONS.

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