New windows can be a significant expense, so it makes sense to invest the time and money to keep them looking their best. Many people neglect their windows, or else don’t treat them with the care they deserve. An annual wipe with wadded up paper towels or newspaper and a bottle of spray cleaner isn’t the best way to do it – it’s slow, hard work, and won’t give your windows the look you want.
Here’s how the professionals do it.
Clean your windows twice a year at least, more often if you’re in a dusty area, near a beach or a major roadway.
You will need:
- a squeegee, ideally one with a replaceable rubber blade. If the blade looks worn or dirty, put a new one in, or you’ll get streaks. If you have windows with small panes, then you probably want two squeegees, one with a small blade, and one with a larger blade.
- a scraper to remove tough marks such as paint, insects, window stickers or bird mess. Always use a fresh, clean blade to avoid scratching.
- a sponge or mop.
- dish washer detergent. Don’t bother with fancy window cleaners: they’re not worth it. The old method of using vinegar and warm water is more hassle than it’s worth: it’s cheap, but it doesn’t froth up which makes it harder work. A few squirts of cheap detergent in a bucket of water will do just fine.
- floor wax
- a rag or towel, preferably an old one.
- Q-tips or a screwdriver with a rag over the end.
- a brush, and dustpan for cleaning inside. A handheld-vacuum cleaner can work too.
- for safety reasons, always use a sturdy, well secured ladder to reach high windows. Alternatively, you can use extenders to reach windows that are only slightly above head height.
The cleaning process
Professionals recommend cleaning your windows when it’s cloudy. Since we don’t have too many cloudy days around Naples, FL, then it’s best to clean them when the sun isn’t directly on the windows, preferably late afternoon or early evening. This will stop the sun drying the cleaner before you’ve had a chance to finish cleaning.
- If you have screens, remove them. Brush them vigorously to remove dust, cobwebs, and other detritus, then wash them with soapy water. Leave them to dry while you do the rest of the window.
- Brush or vacuum the sills, tracks and frames. Use the Q-Tips or screwdriver to remove dirt from inside the tracks, then wipe down with the towel. This will avoid dirt from around the window getting on your clean glass.
- Dunk the sponge in the soapy water and wash the whole window. You don’t need to use too much water, especially not when working inside!
- Use the scraper – carefully – to remove any solid lumps of dirt from the window glass. Rinse after each use to prevent debris being trapped under the blade.
- Use the squeegee to clean the window by going from side to side, starting at the top and working down. Use the rag to clean the squeegee after each stroke.
- Use the scraper to remove any remaining solid lumps of dirt from the window glass.
- Use the towel to remove any water from the sills, and wipe them clean one last time.
- Apply a coat of floor wax to your external sills. This will stop them collecting dirt so fast.
- Reattach the screens.
With practice, you’ll be able to do a window in just a minute or two, and your windows will stay fresh and bright for years!