Want your windows to stay crystal clear?
Window cleaning is one of those tasks that seems straightforward at first glance but can actually be quite complicated. If it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned your windows, you could have dirt and buildup that’s difficult to remove and might require the expertise of a qualified professional window cleaner. But if you regularly spray them off with glass cleaner, you may be able to get a new level of clean by following the advice from expert cleaners. By using effective equipment, the right cleaner, and time-tested techniques, you’ll be amazed at how clean your windows can get!
1. Get special equipment
Have you noticed that professional cleaners have special equipment they use when cleaning windows? While the industrial-grade products aren’t needed for residential use, using small, home versions of their equipment will probably make the most noticeable difference.
Don’t use towels as your primary cleaning tool
Quick, what works best as your main washing item, microfiber or paper towels? The answer is neither. While a lint-free towel is an effective tool, many people try to clean by wadding up paper towels or old rags, then spraying glass cleaner and wiping it away. This gives the illusion of clean and only lasts temporarily, as that pushed-away dirt often returns.
Invest in a quality squeegee
A squeegee is one of the most important tools in a window washer’s collection. A squeegee soaks up water on one side and pushes it away on the other without scratching the glass. The closer you can get to the width of the windows the better, but too small is better than too large. This means that you might need a mini one as well a larger one if you have a combination of single and multi-paned windows. A good quality squeegee is perhaps the most important cleaning tool you can get for glass, so don’t go cheap here!
Other equipment can speed up the job
If you want to speed up the process or have more tools available for many different situations, there are a few other pieces of equipment you might want to obtain as well.
- Using a bucket wide enough to fit your squeegee in entirely makes rinsing off a breeze
- Washing wand
- Essentially a cloth on a sturdy piece of plastic, this works great for the entire wash
- If you think you get paint or varnish on your window, a scraper can safely remove it
- Instead of using this for washing, use it to collect excess water at the window sill
2. Choose the Right cleaner for your window type
Even with the best equipment, if you don’t have a good cleaning agent, your windows won’t be as clean as they could be. Using just water can be enough to get a lot of the dirt off, but for more stubborn spots and sterilization, you should use another option.
For most windows, an ammonia cleaner will give you the best results. These cleaners are very powerful, and one or two applications will take away the majority of spots when you wipe it away. Ammonia evaporates fast, which is why it leaves minimal amounts of streaks and is an effective choice for glass.
Some windows can be damaged by ammonia
While ammonia-based cleaners are a solid choice in most situations, there are certain types of glass that can be irreparably damaged from them. Stained glass windows, for example, should be cleaned by something else, as ammonia can cause them to become permanently clouded.
Natural cleaners are recommended for areas with pets and small children
Because ammonia and other common active ingredients such as glycol ethers can cause organ damage if inhaled, it is best not to use them in areas where children or pets frequent. A common alternative to synthetic cleaning agents is vinegar. Vinegar is available in many kinds of glass cleaner available for sale, but you can also make your own version if you’d prefer.
3. Use proven effective techniques
Even if you have the best cleaner for your window and the same equipment as the pros, if your technique is wrong, you might have trouble cleaning your windows. Proper cleaning is a carefully refined process that minimizes the chance for streaks and dirt to come back.
Start with applying the cleaner to the window
The first thing you need to do is to get rid of any dirt or debris on your window. If you have any stubborn spots or marks, see if you can remove them by applying more pressure. If you’re using the wand and bucket method, fill the bucket with a combination of cleaner and cold water, then put the wand in the bucket and apply thoroughly to the surface.
Next it’s time for the squeegee
Once your window is covered with cleaner, bring out the squeegee. Although this may seem like you simply need to pull it down the glass, getting it to work properly takes practice. An angle of about 45 degrees works best, and too much or too little pressure will have less than ideal results. You may have to go over your window a few times until you learn the right technique. When using the squeegee, make sure to go from one end to the other, so you don’t have any streaks at the edges. A slight bit of overlap can help when you’re first starting so that there aren’t any water spots in the middle.
Use a towel or rag to collect water
At the very edge of your window, using a rag to get into the crevices will clean out any leftover dirt and water that’s left. Afterward, you’ll likely have some water or cleaner that spilled onto the window sill, especially with the bucket method, and using an absorbent towel will limit trips for replacement dry towels. If there are any persistent spots, a focused spray and a little elbow grease with your towel will usually fix it.
Enjoy your clean windows!
And that’s it! Doing a detailed cleaning like this two to three times a year will greatly increase the clarity of your windows, keeping them crystal clear and streak free. Of course if you’re having trouble with any steps or finding equipment, you can always call up the pros to make sure it gets done right!