Window cleaning basics
Unless you've installed replacement windows that tilt inwards, cleaning your windows is a difficult, time-consuming and potentially dangerous job. Thousands of people are injured each year from ladder falls, and adding in buckets of soapy water and the need to stretch to reach corners increases the chances of an accident.
Most homes should get a thorough window cleaning twice a year.
The type of cleaning solution and equipment you need varies according to the type of windows you have.
Most glass can be cleaned with soap and water. However, some situations will call for specialized cleaning solutions.
Large panes are best cleaned with a squeegee and a window cleaning detergent solution and finished with detailing cloth to eliminate streaks. Small panes and leaded or stained glass are best cleaned with plain water and specialized window cleaning cloths.
Minimize the need for extra cleaning by not taping or sticking anything to your windows you don't want to leave there permanently. If you're painting, protect your windows from drips or splatters.
Window cleaners have the right equipment to take off glue, paint and other debris that can settle on glass. If you have tinted windows, it takes extra care to clean them. The cleaning of windows also includes the screens and wiping clean the sills.
If you hire a pro, make sure the company is insured because a lot of window washing involves ladders, safety harnesses and scaffolding. Precautions are essential to ensure everyone's protection.
Best ways to clean windows
Glass surfaces can be troublesome to clean. It’s hard to know which side the streaks are on, and getting rid of them completely can be time consuming. Try these helpful hints:
Video: Window cleaning tips
The right rags: Paper or microfiber cloths will effectively clean glass. Special wood rags will also clean glass without streaks. Stay away from plain, cotton towels. These will leave lint behind, marring the beautiful finish you are trying to achieve. There is truth to the claim that newspapers do a great job of cleaning glass. Old newspapers will work wonders on your glass, leaving it sparkling and clean. While it’s a great way to recycle old papers, it will leave ink on your hands.
Chemicals: Several different chemicals can be used to clean the glass in your home. Spray chemicals from the store are effective, fast and don’t require any special mixing. If you are trying to save money, then you can make your own using 1 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 cup of water and just a tablespoon of vinegar. Vinegar and ammonia should never be mixed, but you can use straight ammonia to clean glass that is cloudy. You can also choose some hot soapy water to clean the glass. Rinse the glass with water afterward to remove the soap residue, and give it a lovely shine by adding just a little vinegar to the water.
Sneaky streaks: Take the guesswork out of finding streaks by going in different directions on the front and back of the glass. Use side-to-side motions on the front, but focus on up and down motions in the back. When the glass dries, you will easily be able to determine where the streaks are.
Extendable cleaners: Cleaning the insides of windows is easy, but scrubbing the outside is a little more challenging. Look for special tools featuring telescoping handles. With a soft scrubber on one side and a squeegee on the opposite side, these tools are great for cleaning windows outside. Simple spray the scrubber with your solution, clean the window and then remove the cleaner with the squeegee.
Work quickly: One key to getting clean windows that look great is to work fast. Drying the cleaner quickly will prevent streaking and allow you to keep moving. Gather all your supplies before you start working, so you can quickly move from one part of the process to the next.
Cleaning glass and windows is not necessarily difficult, but it can be time consuming. It can also be frustrating when you are dealing with windows and have to move between the interior and exterior of your home. You can get the chore done with the right tools and the right attitude. However, it may be worth your time to pay a cleaning service to handle the glass for you. Then you can just sit back and enjoy how great it looks, without having to deal with the frustration and time.
Fixing window scratches
A scratched window pane, while functional, is still marred. But many scratches, if not too deep, can be repaired at home with some effort. A scratch that’s penetrated deep enough to catch the tip of a fingernail is likely too deep to be repaired.
A glass repair company may be able to remove or minimize the scratch using specialized equipment or techniques, or they may recommend replacing the pane altogether.
If you’ve noticed a superficial scratch and you’re willing to try to repair it yourself, try employing one of the following methods:
Metal polish: Clean and dry the area around the scratch with clean, soft cloths — even rough fabric or paper towels can add additional scratches to the glass to scratch. After the area is thoroughly cleaned, dab a bit of metal polish onto another soft and dry cloth and gently rub it into the scratch.
Avoid excessive application of the polish, as this may add more scratches to the window in new areas. If the metal polish is applied correctly and the scratch isn’t too deep, the scratch should disappear or become significantly less visible.
Clear nail polish: Clean the scratch and the area around it with window cleaner. Again, a soft cloth should be used to wipe off the window cleaner. Make sure the scratched area is sufficiently dry before moving to the next step.
Using the bottle’s brush, carefully apply a layer of clear nail polish over the scratch. The nail polish should be enough to thoroughly cover the scratch, but not heavily applied. Afterward, carefully remove any excess nail polish with nail polish remover lightly dabbed from a clean cloth.
Homemade scratch remover: Applying a paste made from a mixture of water, white toothpaste and baking soda is another DIY scratch-removal method. The paste should be rubbed into the scratch with a clean cloth that’s slightly damp.
Rub the paste in a tiny circular motion and try to avoid applying the paste outside the scratched area. Once finished, use a clean soft cloth to wash the window. This process may take several repeated attempts before the scratch is removed or becomes minimally visible.