Cleaning exterior windows is a job that homeowners really don’t like to do. But cleaning your windows at least twice a year is the best way to keep your home in good repair and make sure it looks great. If you’re planning on selling your home in the near future cleaning the windows is a must.
Cleaning exterior windows doesn’t have to be a terrible chore. If you use the right equipment and use some secrets from professional window cleaners you can get all of your exterior windows cleaned quickly and cleaned well the first time. But in order to get your windows clean efficiently you have tailor the tools that you use to the kind of windows that you have. Using the right tools is the only way to turn window cleaning from a terrible chore into a quick and easy job.
Different styles of windows require different tools. Using the wrong tools will just end up making the window dirtier because you will just be moving the dirt around and grinding it into the glass. If you want to avoid wasting time and effort you’ll need to upgrade your window cleaning tools to fit the type of windows that you have. Here’s a quick look at some of the tools professionals use that you should have at home for cleaning windows:
A strip applicator isn’t technically a window cleaning tool. But it’s the best tool to use for cleaning large windows like picture windows. If you have large floor to ceiling windows, bay windows, or picture windows you’ll get a much better result cleaning them with a strip applicator. You should also use a strip applicator to clean patio doors and large sunroom windows if you want to get them sparkling clean.
You should keep sponges in several different sizes in your at home window cleaning toolkit. Natural sponges are the best to use because they are firmer and have better density than synthetic sponges. Pro tip – if you’re having trouble finding natural sponges in a variety of sizes check a farm supply store or tack shop. Often large natural sponges are used for bathing horses and livestock.
You should also have a few good quality chamois cloths, like the ones used for cleaning and waxing cars. Using a chamois is much better than using newspaper.
Squeegees are essential for cleaning exterior windows. But you should have squeegees in several sizes in order to get the best possible results. Cut a squeegee down to the size of a single pane of glass if you have multi pane windows. Then after washing with detergent and a sponge use the small custom size squeegee to scrape the water off each pane of glass in the window individually.
Squeegees are not expensive. So the best thing to do if you have several different types of windows is to buy several squeegees then cut down individual squeegees to different sizes to fit each of the types of windows that you have.
You probably grew up watching your parents clean windows with household vinegar and water. But that is definitely not what you should use on exterior windows. If you don’t use some type of detergent on the exterior windows you won’t get rid of the dirt and debris. You need to use a detergent that has grease and stain fighting ingredients so that you can get those stubborn stains off the windows.
That doesn’t mean that you need a fancy detergent though. According to window cleaning professionals that best detergent that you can use to get your windows sparkling clean is regular dish detergent. Just a couple of drops of dish detergent in a bucket is enough to get your windows clean. You don’t want to create a lot of suds so just use a few drops in a bucket of water. Most of the time this is all you’ll need to get your windows clean.
But if you find that some of your windows have especially stubborn stains you can use a heavy duty cleaner like Barkeeper’s Friend. Barkeeper’s Friend is a powder cleaner that contains oxalic acid. The acid will get really tough stains, like mineral deposits, off the windows without scratching the glass. Just mix some water with the powder to make a paste. Put the paste on a natural sponge and wipe it in a circular motion on the glass until the stain comes up. If you regularly get hard water stains or mineral deposits on your windows you may have to scrub them ever three months or so in order to keep them looking great.
Another pro tip for keeping your exterior windows looking great is to coat them with a clear polymer coating when you’re done cleaning them. After you have scrubbed and squeegeed and the windows are dry applying a thin layer of a high quality polymer coating will help keep the windows looking clean and shiny. The coating will resist dust, dirt, pollen and other debris and keep debris and leaves from getting plastered to the window. It also will help protect the glass from small chips or cracks.
Cleaning windows is not fun. But like many other household maintenance tasks it has to be done in order to protect your home and your investment. If you use these DIY techniques and have the proper tools for cleaning windows you can get the job done in a minimal amount of time and without a huge amount of effort. And if you keep up on regular household maintenance and clean the windows regularly then they won’t be so bad to clean. If you let them go for a year, or for several years, then it will be a lot more difficult to get them clean.
So stock up on proper window cleaning supplies and just jump in and get those windows cleaned. You’ll be glad you did.