Although we use them every day without really thinking, windows are an important part of the presentation and function of a house. But while more and bigger windows are increasingly fashionable these days they also come with a dreaded side effect: they have to be cleaned.
Windows are a cleaning task where half the battle is in the preparation. With simple and often cheap equipment you can significantly reduce your cleaning time.
1. Dry brush windows before you clean.
This simple step will save you a thousand nightmares, especially if the windows have cobwebs.
For indoor windows usually a duster is enough, but you can also use a small brush if the bristles aren’t too hard. For outdoor windows a soft bristle broom is a good alternative to cover large areas but be careful not to brush too hard. Of course there are brushes you can buy that are specifically for windows, they are usually unusually shaped and have extendable poles.
The idea is to shake loose as much dirt and buildup as possible, since that will mostly turn to mud once it gets wet. Spiderwebs are even less fun to clean once wet as well so the more thorough you are early the better in the long run. Be careful with scrubbing too vigorously though, the paint on your frames, especially the outdoor side exposed to the elements, might get damaged.
2. Using a sponge and your cleaning solution, wash down the windows thoroughly.
The sponge doesn’t have to be too fancy, any sponge will do, but most purpose built window sponges tend to come with a handle or adjustable pole to make them easier to use. Many squeegees come with a sponge built in and those are generally fine.
Water with detergent is typically enough for most windows. Store bought products often have extra effects like leaving the windows shiny, so consider your budget. Warm water is easier to work with but cold can work too.
Start at the top and work down. Dirt will likely run down but don’t worry about that too much. The main concern is to avoid the water dripping down walls or onto floors, so be sure to keep your eye on that. The frames will generally have more buildup so be sure to be thorough: this isn’t just about getting it wet, this is about getting the dirt loose and out, too many people rely on squeegees for that part of the process.
3. Squeegee and sponge away the dirt and you are left with clean windows.
A squeegee doesn’t need to be expensive to be good, but there are two basic approaches to choosing one in terms of size: a good cleaner can use a small one in a zigzag motion and not leave streaks, but most people are better off getting a couple of squeegees that are approximately as wide as the windows being cleaned so you can do them in one comfortable stroke. For the frames clean sponges are fine, otherwise paper towel, especially indoors, is fine too.
Squeegees are great for large areas of glass, but if used poorly they can leave windows streaky. You have to always be moving down, overlap your strokes, and make sure no patches are left wet. If it is large enough a single downward stroke can be enough for a window, but smaller squeegees you can zig zag. If you are finding it hard to squeegee the windows because they have dried a bit, rewet them with clean water and continue, just make sure to always start from the top and move down.
For the frames you want to make sure no dirt is left floating on the surface so a clean sponge, even dry, or paper towel can be used to go over them. If it is outdoors it is easier to just let them dry naturally, of course.
And there you have it. Windows take a little care, but more of it comes down to being thorough, patient and prepared. You can do this process as frequently as you like, the more frequently the less difficult the process will be.