When you decide to install new windows in your home or office, you want to make sure to maintain them so they will continue to look great for years to come. There a few quick and easy tips that will lengthen their lifespan and ensure that you get the most out of your investment. This is especially true if you have insulated, low energy, or heat reflective glass since they require proper maintenance in order to work effectively. When you keep your windows clean, you will keep them beautiful and effective.
Most manufacturers and installers recommend that you at least wash your windows annually, twice a year if possible. It is important to wash your windows regularly because our environment can be harsh and unkind to your windows. Pollen, dust, and insects are just a few natural elements that will leave a residue on your windows. Regular cleaning and maintenance removes debris that can leave permanent spots over time. Removing the debris also ensures that the operational parts of your windows will continue to function efficiently as well. Many people include this in their spring cleaning rituals, but you can do it whenever it is most convenient for you.
There are three basic steps you should follow when washing your windows to ensure their longevity:
- Thoroughly vacuum all parts of the window including the screen, frame, and corners using a soft brush attachment.
- Wash all areas of the window and screen with a mild solution and rinse with water.
- Dry the window using a soft cloth to avoid streaks and let screens completely air dry before reinstalling.
The Do’s for Window Care
You should always read the manufacturer’s instruction and care manual, especially if you have purchased treated glass. Below are a few general tips to ensure your windows look their best all year.
- Make sure to remove your screens first and wash them on a flat surface. If they are especially dirty, you can use a brush to scrub it clean.
- Use a mild cleaning solution, such as water and dish soap to wash your windows. If you have some particularly stubborn spots or have let the residue build up for longer than a year, you can add three tablespoons of clear ammonia or vinegar into a bucket of cool water. Just make sure not to use both since the ingredients will neutralize each other.
- A cotton swab is great for reaching those tight corners and focusing on particularly difficult spots. Dip it in vinegar before attacking the grit around the edges and corners of the window, but make sure to thoroughly rinse these areas when you are done. This is also a great method to remove dried paint flakes.
- After washing, rinse your windows thoroughly with clear water to remove all cleaning agents.
- Use a cotton wiping rag or microfiber terry cloth to dry your windows.
The Don’ts of Window Care
Here are a few of the most common mistakes people make when washing their windows. Make sure to avoid these to increase the lifespan of your windows.
- Avoid using high-pressure sprays and Power washers because they could damage the caulking which is necessary to ensure water-tightness.
- Refrain from using liquid grease remover, detergents that contain organic solvents, acetone, or chlorine bleach since these substances can damage the surface of the vinyl.
- Stay away from abrasive agents, even mild ones like Soft Scrub, since they can scratch the window frame or surface of the glass. For the same reason, you should also avoid using sharp objects like razor blades during the cleaning process.
- Avoid oil-based lubricants, such as WD-40, because they will attract dirt.
- You definitely don’t want to paint or varnish any vinyl windows because you will ruin the finish.
David Black is interested in sanitation and home care tips.