Spring is upon us, which brings forth the inevitable spring cleaning. To get the most out of these sunny days, you want your windows to be sparkling clean. Spring cleaning windows comes with its own list of hassles and frustrations, so we’re here to prepare you tips on cleaning windows, both universal and location-specific.
Common Questions on Cleaning Windows
When it comes to cleaning windows, there may be a few questions that are front of mind. Below are the most common questions we get asked by current and prospective customers.
How often should windows be cleaned?
For residential homes, window cleaning should be done at least twice a year. It’s a good practice to wash both the inside and outside of your windows once in the fall and once in the spring to prevent the buildup of tough mineral deposits from rain, dirt and grime.
If you live on a really busy street, in a place with extra pollen, in an area with high wind or if there’s new construction occurring in your neighborhood, you might want to clean your windows three-four times a year, such as with each season change.
Can the windows be damaged if they’re taken apart for deep cleaning?
Yes. If you are not careful, your windows can definitely incur damage while taking them apart for deep cleaning. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to take them fully apart in order to deep clean them, lessening the potential for damage.
To clean most windows, start by opening them. Then:
- Remove the screens and wash them with soapy water.
- Wash the window glass.
- Vacuum the window tracks.
- Wipe down the sills and the frames.
- Dust your blinds, window coverings and hardware.
If you have a double pane window and notice grime between the panes, you may have bigger problems than disassembling for deep cleaning can fix.
With double pane windows, if you have dirt between the two pieces of glass, that is an indication your airtight seal has been broken. In order to clean between the two pieces of glass, the windows would have to be completely taken apart to clean, which would fully break the seal.
It is not possible to reseal the window without calling a professional. So if you’re trying to DIY your window cleaning, you probably won’t be able to clean between the two panes without damaging the window. If the seal is broken and moisture and grime are starting to show, it is best to call a professional to inspect and possibly replace your window.
Should the interior and the exterior of the windows be cleaned the same way?
The exterior windows of your home are often going to be dirtier than the interior of your windows, so the cleaning process is a little different.
For your outside windows, start by rinsing the glass and frame with a hose. Then, fill a bucket with clean, cold water and add several drops of liquid dish soap. Use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge mop to go over the surface of the window to get all the dirt and stains sudsy.
If you aren’t familiar, a sponge mop is exactly what it sounds like: a sponge on the end of a mop pole. This type of mop makes it easy to reach the tops of outdoor windows without having to use a ladder.
Once the window is cleaned, rinse off the suds with your hose. Next, spray the window with either a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts water or with a commercial cleaner.
To remove the solution, you can either wipe it off with newspaper or with a clean, rubber-bladed squeegee, wiping it into a clean, dry towel after each pull. If you use newspaper, ensure it is not made with petroleum-based ink.
(You can check the newspaper ink one of two ways. One, hold the paper between two fingers for one to two minutes. If the ink is on your fingers, it’s petroleum-based and will stain your windows. Two, check for a Soy Ink Seal on the paper (usually on the back page).)
If you have stubborn stains like bird droppings or dried pollen, you can saturate the stains with either your cleaner or your vinegar and water solution, and let them soak for several minutes before wiping. If tough stains still don’t come out, try rubbing them with a soft scrub sponge. Do not use steel wool or harsh scrubbing cloths as they will scratch up your glass.
For your window screens, rinse them thoroughly with a hose, spray them with your vinegar and water solution, let the solution sit for a few minutes, then rinse thoroughly again with the hose. Make sure the screens are completely dry before inserting them back into the frame so you don’t get any mold or rot.
For your interior windows, fill a bucket with water and several drops of your favorite dish soap. Place a large towel beneath your window to keep your floors dry. Use a clean microfiber cloth or sponge to lightly wipe your window glass and frame from top to bottom with plain water, to remove any dust or dirt. Remove any excess water with a dry cloth.
After removing excess water, spray the window with your vinegar and water solution or a commercial window cleaning product of your choice. Use a clean, lint-free towel, newspaper or your squeegee to dry it. If any dirt or streaks are leftover, repeat the process. It usually takes two rounds of spraying and drying for the best results.
Universal Tips for Spring Cleaning Windows
When it comes to cleaning windows, there are a plethora of universal basic tips you can enact to ensure you are spring cleaning correctly.
- Make sure the cleaning agent you use for your windows is suitable for the material. If you are unsure, opt for a more natural solution, such as a water/vinegar mix.
- Don’t use cleaners containing abrasive materials such as fine sand or bathtub cleaners, as these can damage glass and vinyl surfaces.
- Don’t use cleaners that contain solvents such as grease remover, chlorine bleach, strong soaps or detergents containing organic solvents as these might cause damage surfaces and cause yellowing on frames.
- One part vinegar to two parts water is a great DIY solution, but if you’re looking for a store-bought recommendation, Ammonia-Free Windex and Invisible Glass Cleaner is a crowd favorite.
- Stay away from cleaners with ammonia as an ingredient if you also are a household that uses bleach as the two mixed together create a toxic gas, chloramine.
- Consider investing in window frame materials made with low-maintenance materials, such as vinyl and fiberglass. This will save you precious time during your demanding spring cleaning schedule and routine.
- Clean on a dry, cool, cloudy day. This prevents your soapy water and window-cleaning solution from drying too quickly on your windows and leaving streaks.
- Don’t forget about your blinds and window treatments. When quickly dusting shades and blinds, go over both sides with a microfiber duster or, for a deeper clean, open the slats and go over each one with a damp cloth.
- Cleaning windows is a great time to check for any dents, cracks or damages to your windows. Give a thorough inspection and look-over while cleaning to make sure there aren’t any other issues to deal with.
Location-Specific Tips for Spring Cleaning Windows
Depending on your location, you may find yourself more susceptible to dirty windows. Here are some location-specific tips for cleaning your windows:
- Fur and pine trees bleed sap. If you live in an area with either tree species, make sure to thoroughly clean your windows to rid them of the tree remnants. There are special cleaning agents for this purpose, but you can also use rubbing alcohol with cotton pads to remove sap alongside your regular cleaning.
- If you live in an area with hard water, mineral deposits may appear on your windows. They can be tough to get out. If you have heavy mineral deposits, you may need a commercial cleanser that can take out calcium, lime and rust stains. Heavy vinegar in your DIY solution also helps.
If you notice any damage on your windows while cleaning or you’d rather upgrade your windows instead of cleaning them this spring, consider repairing or replacing your windows with KC Window & Glass. We can provide you with the perfect solution to fit your needs.