Professional Tips for Cleaning Windows
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Cleaning windows may not be at the top of your list for how to spend a Saturday but it is something that should be done at least twice a year and doing it yourself can save a bundle—if you do it right.
The most important step is to leave your paper towels, newspapers and wadded up cleaning rags right where they are and start with a new set of tools. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results since using professional techniques when cleaning windows will transform a room, or a houseful of rooms, in a more dramatic way than anything else you can do in an afternoon.
First, go shopping. Head straight for the hardware store and pick up a squeegee, a strip applicator, a chamois and a natural sponge.
Use a little dishwashing liquid in a large bucket of water for soaping up the window with the strip applicator, rinse and squeegee. Wipe the squeegee clean after each stroke (now you can use those old cleaning rags) to make the job even easier. Catch the last of the water droplets around the edges of the window with a damp chamois and then dry off the windowsill.
For small windows you’ll want to use a sponge instead of the strip applicator. A natural sponge is a nice choice because it will be more absorbent, but synthetic sponges will also work just fine.
You’ll also need a smaller squeegee. If you don’t find one the right size, customize a larger one—assuming your good with a hacksaw. Trim the metal channel of the squeegee 1/4” smaller than the windowpane. File the edges so they’re smooth and then cut the rubber cover a little longer than the metal, about 1/4” longer so it hangs over each side just a bit.
The process is the same for small or large windows—soapy water, wash, rinse, squeegee, and chamois.
If your windows have stubborn spots or the clarity has been degraded by mineral stains you’ll need to address them with either fine 000 steel wool and water or Bar Keeper’s Friend. Be sure to choose a cleaner that won’t scratch glass if you decide to use something else. Form a paste with water; apply with a towel and then rinse a couple times. Grab your squeegee and chamois and finish up the job.
If you’re feeling especially handy and want to make sure the stains don’t return between cleanings, apply a thin layer of a clear polymer coating. You’ll have a permanent fix for the stains, as long as you use the polymer coating after each cleaning.
It may take the better part of your sunny Saturday but your windows will look fantastic. And afterwards you can think of something fun to do with the money you saved by doing it yourself!