Having invested in windows for your home, it’s important to maintain them and have them looking their best. When the sun is shining, grimey windows prevent clear views to the outside world and stop you making the most of your lovely garden or surroundings. The key to having gleaming windows is to get into a routine of cleaning them because that will prevent huge amounts of build up. The longer you leave it, the bigger the cleaning job will be!
Depending on the aspect of your home, different windows will be more exposed than others. Our design expert Denise O’Connor touched on this in her post on “Double Vs Triple Glazing Windows”. So for example, you might find that your kitchen window at the back of the house requires cleaning more often than the living room window (situated at the front of the property) because the back of the house is more exposed to the elements like the wind and the rain. We advise carrying out routine “maintenance” twice a year but for those more exposed windows/doors, this might need to be doubled in terms of frequency.
What is the Best Way to Clean the Windows?
Of course, there are many glass cleaning liquid solutions available in supermarkets promising wonderfully shiny glass. However, making your own is not only easy but it’s also kinder to the environment; furthermore, some shop-bought cleaners can be abrasive and damaging to your window frames as they can contain harsh chemicals. Surgical spirits are available in most pharmacies and hardware/DIY stores and you can easily source spray bottles suitable for the job in local discount superstores. Take care that when you purchase your surgical spirits that they are listed as “Surgical Spirts BP” so that you know they are the approved levels of ingredients as per the British Pharmacopoeia for Surgical Spirits. Harsher spirits could be damaging to the windows and frames.
Homemade Glass Cleaner
What You Need:
150ml White Vinegar
60ml Surgical Spirits
Combine the above ingredients and pour/decant them in a spray bottle. Label it as “homemade glass cleaner” with the ingredients on the outside of the bottle to ensure safety within the household.
To get set for your window cleaning, you’ll need a few more items that should be easily available in a supermarket, hardware or discount superstore, or maybe you have them lying around at home.
- Microfibre Cloth x 3 (or 3 Non-Abrasive Sponges)
- 1 Squeegee
- Warm Water & Wash-Up Liquid Mix (1 heaped tablespoon of wash-up liquid per 3 litres of water)
- Homemade Glass Cleaner (outlined above)
Choose a dry but cloudy day. If it’s too sunny, any washing work you do might dry before you have an opportunity to remove the streaks/water marks.
All parts exposed when the window/door is closed should be washed down with warm soapy water using microfibre cloth number 1, rinsed well and dried thoroughly. This is an important step because there is simply no point in attempting to clean your window panes if the main parts of the window are covered in cobwebs, dust and grime themselves. You will simply transfer that dirt down onto the glass if the non-glass parts aren’t carefully washed down themselves before you begin.
All parts exposed when the window/door is open should be dusted and washed down with warm, soapy water using the same (rinsed) cloth and dried thoroughly. It’s important to pay attention to the tracking sliders and the rubber sealants but clean them gently. You might need to introduce your vacuum cleaner for this part to get into the difficult to reach parts. Avoid ammonia and abrasive cleaning agents, particularly on handles and other metal fixings. A simple mix of warm water and washing up liquid will be sufficient to remove most dirt and dust.
Using microfibre cloth number 2 soaked in the wash-up liquid and then wrung out, clean your window from the top down. It’s important to wring out the cloth well as too much wash-up liquid mix could end up water staining the window itself and you’re back to square one!
Using microfibre cloth number 3 (or an old rag), create a dry edge at the top or side of the window depending on your squeegee “method” (a squeegee is a T-bar shaped tool that has rubber “blades” at the end). Use the squeegee to remove the soapy water from the window.
- Squeegee method 1: use a reverse “S” pattern with the squeegee moving from the top to the bottom of the window (this method means you create your “dry edge” at the top).
- Squeegee method 2: squeegee from side to side ie left to right, leading from the same side each time (this method means creating your dry edge along the side).
Wipe the squeegee blade on microfibre cloth number 3 to avoid moving the accumulated dirt around. Finally use the squeegee to guide any remaining water from the windowsill.
Repeat the process on all your windows. Or break the task down over a number of cloudier days and marvel in your work on the sunnier days!
- Do not paint uPVC window frames.
- Avoid all paste and cream cleaners as they can cause damage to the frames.
- Never use any type of bleach, solvent or abrasive in an attempt to clean windows and/or frames.
- Do not use harsh spirits when cleaning your windows and frames.