Cleaning Your Windows

Windows are an essential investment to our homes and offices. Angie’s List reports that the average cost of a single window can range between 200 and 1200 dollars depending on quality and brand. In cases of multiple window replacement with inclusion of installation charges, the total price of windows can be thousands of dollars. Even with these high costs, property owners often fail to properly maintain their window which can drop their property value, increase energy requirements and even have an impact on their health. Window cleaning is a multi-step process which not only involves cleaning the glass on the window, but also window screens and tracks. Some property owners may choose to hire professionals to maintain their windows. Although the process may seem daunting, the task is simple enough for them to complete on their own. This article will take a deeper look at the importance of window maintenance while providing a DIY guide on how property owners can tackle this crucial task. 

Importance of Window Maintenance

Have you ever received your utility bill and gasped at the cost? Or have guests noticed cold drafts when sitting by the window? Even with top-of the-line windows, failing to properly clean and maintain them can result in decreased energy efficiency of your homes. Cleaning your window tracks is a great way to prevent this from happening. Over time dirt and salt can buildup on the window track which prevents your windows from properly sealing when you close them. Even tiny gaps allow drafts of cold air to enter your homes. The same buildup occurs on the glass of the windows. This buildup decreases the amount of light that enters and even causes scratches and cracks that impact the structural integrity of the windows. During your routine window maintenance don’t neglect your window screens! Everyone enjoys having the windows open on a beautiful spring day to feel the breeze through their home. Every time that wind blows, with it comes the dust and dirt particles trapped in the screen. All of those particles enter your house and worsen the air quality. 

Windows (specifically tracks and screens) are the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold can have serious effects on your health, the CDC reports that mold exposure can worsen chronic respiratory conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma. Uncontrolled mold growth may require professional removal, but the early stages mold growth can easily be controlled by thorough, semi-annual window cleaning. Mold growth not only has serious effects on not only your health, but the health of your pets, family and friends as well. 

DIY Guide

Before window cleaning you should make your own mental checklist of what needs to be done for each window. Here’s an example of what you should be thinking about for each window:

  • Clean the glass of the window-both interior and exterior
  • Are there any scratches or cracks on the glass?
  • Does the window properly seal? 
  • Does the window screen have any holes or rips? 
  • Are there any signs of mold growth?

Follow these steps or adapt to your own process for a streak free, clean window:

  1. Gather the following tools, some can be found already in your home or purchased from your local hardware store
  • Squeegee- The double sided squeegee works well. Sponge side is used for applying/scrubbing your initial water/soap mix to the window while the squeegee (rubber) part is used to wipe the window clean after. See the photo below for a similar model to what I’ve described.
Sponge Window Squeegee - DayMark Safety
Source: https://www.daymarksafety.com/sponge-window-squeegee/
  • Glass cleaning solution
  • Paper towels or microfiber cloth
  • Ladder (if needed to reach second story windows)
  1. Fill a bucket with water and a few drops of dish soap. Using a sponge (or sponge of a double sided squeegee) and apply this mixture to the glass of your window in circular motions. 
  2. Take the squeegee and dry the glass by wiping in straight downward motions from the top of the window to the bottom. Do this across the entire length of the window. Take a piece of paper towel or microfiber cloth and wipe the border of the window to dry any leftover streaks.
  3. Spray 1-2 pumps of the window cleaning solution to the glass and spread around with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. In the same manner as step three, wipe the glass clean with the squeegee. This should eliminate streaking across the window. Wipe borders dry with paper towel again. 
  4. You can use the same soap and water solution to clean the tracks and screens of your windows. 

Tips

  1. Routine Cleaning- Cleaning windows can be a time consuming process. Routine cleaning is key to decreasing the amount of time required to clean your windows. Instead of cleaning your windows once a year, do it every 3-6 months. That way instead of cleaning a whole year’s worth of dirt and grime you’ll only have a few months of buildup to remove. 
  2. Systematic Approach- Use an approach similar to the one above. Make a mental checklist and clean each window the same way. The steps outlined above will help you reduce window streaking and hopefully prevent you from having to make multiple attempts to get a streak free window. 
  3. Cleaning Exterior Windows-Windows are found on all levels of our homes, not just the ground floor. Having a partner assist you can be a huge help. While you are on the ladder, your partner can remove the window screen from the interior and hand you the necessary tools as needed. This will save you from having to make multiple trips up and down the ladder to grab each tool. Please remember to exercise caution when working from a ladder.
  4. Screen Repair- Screens allow the breeze into your home but they also prevent debris from reaching the glass of your window. Repair your screens regularly if you see rips or tears and that can help keep the glass of your windows cleaner.

Window cleaning and maintenance should be included in any homeowners cleaning process. It can improve your energy costs, health and protects the financial investment associated with window installation. At Forrest Cleaning, we understand how busy homeowners can be and we are more than happy to assist you with your regular window cleaning. Please contact us if you have any questions, need any additional advice or would like a quote for one of our services. 

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