Posted on August 18th, 2018
Having clean windows can do a lot to enhance your quality of life. Not only do clean windows provide an unobstructed view of the outdoors, they allow more light to penetrate your home—and this is important. Natural light has been shown to have many important benefits; it can, for example:
-Make your home brighter, so it looks and feels cleaner.
-Make it easier to keep your home clean. Bright light can reveal hidden dust and spots of grime that you might otherwise miss while cleaning.
-Improve your mood and concentration. According to numerous studies, exposure to bright light (particularly early in the day) has significant antidepressant effects. It’s been shown to ease the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder and reduce the number of hospital stays needed by severely depressed patients. (Psychology Today) Even if you’re not prone to depression, a well-lit home can do a lot to protect your health. Daytime light exposure improves sleep quality and concentration levels, bolstering productivity and well-being.
Unfortunately, as any homeowner knows, keeping windows clean is no easy task. Windows can be difficult to reach, and they’re prone to streaking. Furthermore, because they’re in direct contact with the elements, they seldom stay clean for very long. Window cleaning therefore requires time, patience, and the right methods and products. Here’s how it’s done:
6 Essential Windows Cleaning Tips
1. Know how often your windows need to be cleaned.
Most experts recommend cleaning windows at least twice a year, but you may need to do it more often, depending on the kind of conditions your windows are exposed to. If you live in a relatively dry (but not too dusty) area, and your windows are protected by awnings, a thorough cleaning every six months should suffice. If, on the other hand, you live in a wet climate and your windows frequently come into contact with the elements, you should clean them every few months. Lastly, if you plan to sell your home, make sure window cleaning is on your move-out cleaning checklist , no matter when your windows were last cleaned.
2. Don’t use paper towels or newspapers to clean your windows, and don’t use excessive friction.
The vast majority of homeowners attempt to clean their windows using large wads of paper products, spray cleaner, and a lot of wiping. However, not only is this method wasteful and ineffective (it almost always leads to streaking), it can actually damage your windows. Over time, the abrasive fibers in paper products create tiny scratches in window glass. Though these scratches aren’t visible to the naked eye, they gradually diminish the sheen of window glass, making it less translucent. This results in poor light penetration and an increased vulnerability to soiling. Rough surfaces give dirt particles a much better foothold than perfectly smooth surfaces.
Static, another inevitable byproduct of friction, also creates problems. As professional window cleaner Brent Weingard explains, “All that rubbing isn’t a good idea… You’re just moving dirt around from one spot to another and putting a static charge on the glass, which attracts dust and dirt. As soon as you finish, the window looks dirty again.”
3. Invest in professional window cleaning equipment.
There’s a reason why cleaning services use squeegees and strip applicators to clean window glass: The soft edges of these tools can whisk away dirt and cleaning solution without abrading the glass. To clean your windows effectively at home, you’ll need to purchase a window cleaning kit that contains these essential items. If you’re not willing to invest in this equipment, consider hiring a professional cleaner to take care of your windows for you. It will cost loss than purchasing window cleaning supplies and save you time as well.
4. Use professional cleaning techniques.
Before you clean the glass panes in your windows, make sure you wash the sills around them. This will get rid of any dirt there that might otherwise find its way into your cleaning liquid, forming rivulets of grime that run down the windows or walls.
Once you’re done cleaning around the windows, add a small amount of window cleaning solution to a bucket of warm water. Don’t add too much solution—one squirt per bucket should be enough—in order to avoid creating excess suds and streaks.
If you’re working on a small window, use a soft microfiber cloth to gently lather the window with soap solution. If you’re working on a large window, use your strip applicator for this task. Then, working from left to right, move your squeegee in an “S’ pattern down the window. After each stroke, wipe off the squeegee’s blade with a cloth; if you skip this step, your squeegee will transfer any dirt it’s absorbed to the window. After you’ve squeegeed the panes, get rid of any remaining soap residue using a damp microfiber cloth.
Note that this method only works for single or double pane windows. If you have windows with many small panes, you’ll need to lather each pane with a cloth, then use a small squeegee to remove the liquid (pulling in a direct downward motion). Make sure you work from top to bottom when cleaning multipane windows, and wipe off the muntins before you clean the glass.
5. Consider coating your windows after you clean them.
Clear polymer coatings are available to seal and protect window glass, making it more resistant to staining and scratching. These coatings can greatly extend the lifespan of your windows.
6. Put safety first.
Unless you live in a bungalow, exterior window cleaning can be risky. Balancing on a ladder while wielding a bucket and large squeegee can lead to dangerous falls. If you’re not physically able to safely complete this job—or you just don’t feel confident doing it—don’t take the risk. Contact a professional cleaning service and ask them to take care of it for you.
Do you have any questions about window cleaning that weren’t covered in this guide? Feel free to contact us for advice and information. Our team of experts will be happy to give you tips on cleaning or arrange professional cleaning services for you.