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Windows and Doors

How to Clean your Windows Like a Pro

Monday, April 20 2015 10:47 AM
By Melanie Chaves

Clean windows can make any living space seem brighter. Although windows only need to be washed twice a year, many people use spray cleaner, wadded up newspaper or paper towels, and lots of scrubbing. Not only does this method take a lot of time and effort, the windows are often left with streaks or a residue that attracts more dirt. Using the proper tools and the same techniques professional window washers use can make cleaning your home’s windows faster and easier.

Tools Needed for Washing your Windows: 

  • Large squeegee for picture windows
  • Small squeegee to fit the panes of any divided-light windows
  • Strip applicator – similar to a squeegee but with a cloth strip instead of a rubber blade
  • Chamois cloth
  • Lint-free cloths, such as linen napkins or cloth diapers
  • Clean rag for drying windowsills
  • Sponge or hog-bristle brush for cleaning multi-pane windows
  • Bucket that is small enough to carry up and down a ladder
  • Dish soap of your choice
  • Warm water – about 2 gallons will do
  • Sturdy ladder with a platform for your bucket
  • For windows with hard-water stains, use Barkeeper’s Friend or Zud cleaning powder
  • To seal and protect windows after cleaning, use a professional glass protectant

Clean your Windows Like a Pro in 7 Steps

Window Cleaning

1. Clean windows out of direct sunlight. Washing your windows in the evening or on a cloudy day will reduce streaking. When cleaning the interior side of the glass, put a rag or towel down to protect your floors from dripping water.

2. Mix a cleaning solution. Just a squirt of dishwashing liquid in your bucket of warm water is all you need. If your squeegee squeaks a lot as you’re cleaning, add a little more dish soap.

3. Clean the glass with the cleaning solution and strip applicator or sponge. Use the strip applicator on large or picture windows and the sponge for divided-pane windows. Use the hog-bristle brush to get loose dirt out of the corners of the window frames.

4. Squeegee the glass clean. For picture windows, use the large squeegee and work from top to bottom, either in an S-pattern or side-to-side. Wipe the blade with the lint-free cloth after each stroke. For multi-pane glass, use the small squeegee and start with the top row. Wipe each pane vertically, from top to bottom, again cleaning the blade each time.

5. Dry the edges of the glass. Get the chamois wet, then wring it dry and use the damp chamois to wipe up any water remaining around the edges of the glass. Use the clean rag to dry the window sills.

6. Clean stains and residue. If the exterior side of your window glass has a white film or residue after cleaning, it’s probably mineral deposits from hard water. A cleaning powder with oxalic acid will clean this build-up. Be sure to rinse and squeegee the glass afterward.

7. Apply a surface protectant to the exterior window glass. A glass sealant, like 3 Star Barrier, will block hard water stains and make it easier to clean the glass next time. After each cleaning, apply the clear polymer coating with a strip applicator and then squeegee it off.

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