Professional window cleaners not only utilize industrial grade tools and cleaning solutions but the experience they bring to the job only makes their results all the more impressive. Not everyone wants to hire a professional however nor can all homeowners afford one. For such persons we offer the following window cleaning tips that will help your home's windows stay clean, remain looking good, and help protect them moving forward.
Your Tools Of Choice
In order to properly and thoroughly clean windows on your own you'll need a solid set of tools. You don't want to go too cheap when putting your window cleaning tool set together but most items are readily accessible and inexpensive.
- Gloves - Gloves should be worn by both professionals and homeowners whilst cleaning windows. While using harsh toxic cleaning chemicals isn't recommended for a number of reasons, even the mild yet effective eco-friendly cleaning solutions available today can take their toll on your skin. Moreover gloves protect the hands from cuts and scrapes as well. Just about any type of glove will work. Those with latex allergies however will want to select gloves made of vinyl or some other material. Wrist high gloves can be utilized in window cleaning however dish sized gloves are recommended as they tend to be thicker and protect the forearms in addition to the hands.
- Soft bristled Brush/Dust Cloth - A soft bristled brush is a tool that's an absolute must in window washing. The soft bristles won't scratch windows and will remove surface debris quite easily. This is a vital step in the cleaning process that when overlooked renders future steps useless. Alternatively, the do-it-yourselfer can opt for a dust cloth instead. A dust cloth will remove some loose debris from windows but it may not always remove the more obstinate types of debris found on windows. Both options are effective here though a brush produces the better results.
- Soak It Up - A good sponge goes a long way in the world of window washing. Your sponge will be responsible for gently massaging away debris and residue from your windows and applying ample amounts of "soap" to them as well. For these reasons you'll want a quality sponge and there are many designed specifically for window washing. These can be found at retail and home improvement stores so don't fall back on your kitchen sponge for this type of work.
- Lint Free Soft Cloth - A soft yet lint free cloth is a must when you want your windows to look their best. During the drying process too many laypersons rely on old rags for drying. While these will certainly dry windows, they'll leave streaks, spots, and smudges behind which renders your work useless. Lint free soft cloths on the other hand are excellent at absorbing water and dirt and as such will leave windows sparkling after they are dried.
- Squeegee - Morosely, too many homeowners simply forego a squeegee and instead rely solely on cloths for drying. Squeegees play a vital role in the window cleaning process as they remove excessive amount of water and solution from windows without leaving streaks. So as you can see a squeegee is indeed important but it's also important to utilize a high quality squeegee in your work lest your windows be left with streaks and smudges.
- Buckets - This one is a no-brainer. A bucket is essential to any window cleaning job as it will be the device in which your water and cleaning solutions rests. There are different types of buckets made specifically for window cleaning and the type you need will depend largely on the type and size of job looming ahead of you. If you're working on a multi-storied home for example, you'll need a bucket that is easily carried or portable so that it can ascend and descend ladders and lifts with you. Conversely, single story homes can be cleaned with any simple bucket that's large enough to dip your cleaning tools into.
- Spray bottle - A good spray bottle will save a do-it-yourself window cleaner a good deal of hassle. This is because spray bottles carry and apply cleaning solutions to windows. The right spray bottle should never be too large nor small and should be attachable to a belt so that it can be carried sans hands.
- White vinegar - Unbeknownst to a great deal of homeowners, white vinegar makes for one heck of a window cleaning solution. More than that, vinegar is strong enough to remove even calcium from windows but is non toxic and being natural, is safe for the environment. Moreover white vinegar is safe for all types of windows, regardless of what type of glass they are made from.
- Hot water - Never use water that can scald your skin but reasonably hot water loosens caked on dirt and debris from windows. Used in conjunction with white vinegar, the two make a very effective and chemical free window cleaner.
Let's Get To Cleaning
1. Watching The Weather: There once existed a time where we relied on our local news stations to provide us with weather predictions. In the modern era not only has meteorology improved vastly but our access to it is a mere few clicks away. Whether it's a mobile device, a computer, smart TV, or some other electronic device, we can check weather forecasts quickly and with ease. Prior to washing your windows you'll want to spend a moment to check on what your local forecasts look like. Avoid cleaning your windows if rain or extreme weather is predicted. Avoid overly windy days as well as those that are likely to include high heat and any form of precipitation. Look for a minimum of 7 days good weather.
2. Dry Cleaning Your Windows: Wait, what? Dry cleaning's for sensitive fabrics isn't it? Well that's true but you can and should clean your windows with a soft brush or dust cloth prior to doing anything else. This will remove things like cobwebs, pests, and loose dirt/dust and prepare them for deeper cleaning.
3. Mixing Your Own Concoction: While you can certainly purchase window cleaning solutions, the vast majority of these contain toxic chemicals or pose some sort of health risk. Even those that are eco-friendly are usually overpriced but there's a way to avoid both of these issues. Mixing your own cleaning solution is surprisingly easy, inexpensive, and very effective. Try creating a solution that's 50% white vinegar and 50% water. This solutions costs very little and will do a better job at cleaning your windows than will harsh chemicals.
4. Removing Dirt: Utilizing your sponge or perhaps a lint free cloth, you can remove dirt from your windows after water has been applied to them. During this step in the process try and prevent your solution from coming into contact with your window frames. This will prevent staining and moisture damage from occurring.
5. Squeegee Tips: When the time arrives for you to bring out your squeegee there are a few thing you'll want to remember in order to maximize its efficiency. For starters you should always wet your squeegee so that it doesn't skip. Secondly, always draw your squeegee down using straight strokes to avoid streaking. Lastly, always dry your squeegee after every stroke using a second lint free cloth. This drying will remove dirt and residue and keep it from being reapplied to your windows.
6. Don't Forget The Frames: So now your windows look great, inside and out, and you're ready to call it a day. Not so fast! Window cleaning doesn't end until windows frames are wiped by both damp and dry cloths. The damp cloth will remove any residue and debris that may have made its way onto your frames and the dry cloth will soak that moisture up and prohibit any more from finding its way there.