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Clean, sparkling windows can make a great impression—inside and out. With Memorial Day barbeques, Fourth of July parties and summer get-togethers headed our way, it’s a true sign that “open window” season is here. Before your party guests arrive, here are some tips to periodically care for and clean the components that make your windows beautiful and functional.
Read on for tips on the best way to clean your glass, screens, hardware, and the vinyl, aluminum, or wood frames and weatherstripping.
The best way to care for your glass is to simply keep it clean regularly. Interior glass can be cleaned with a quality glass cleaner using paper towels, soft cloth, or a squeegee.
Cleaning exterior glass may prove to be a more difficult task, especially on the upper floors of your home. To make cleaning your windows easier, you can look for tilt-in windows, where the sash tilts in toward you for safe and quick access to the exterior glass. It’s important to remember that cleaning the exterior glass should be completed when the glass is shaded and not during extreme temperatures.
Exterior glass can be carefully hosed off using your garden hose with a spray nozzle set to a shower setting. Many hardware stores sell window cleaner that attaches to the end of your hose, which gives a little more cleaning power than water alone. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could climb a ladder and squeegee the exterior of your window glass, but we recommend you leave this to the professionals.
Most screens need minimal cleaning and care. They can be hosed off with your garden hose, or vacuumed with the hose attachment on your household vacuum cleaner. In most cases, screens will not need to be removed for cleaning.
Metal and composite hardware can be wiped down with a damp rag to remove any dust or debris that has collected on them.
Cleaning and caring for your window frames will differ depending on the material your frame is comprised of:
Vinyl windows are relatively maintenance free, meaning they are resistant to stains, but this doesn’t mean they won’t collect dust and debris on the surface. Refrain from using harsh, abrasive chemicals—this can scratch your vinyl windows. Soap and water is the preferred combination, although you can also use non-abrasive household cleaners, cream wax cleaners, turpentine, or denatured alcohol. Check that all weep or drain holes are clear and free of debris.
This is also the best time to lubricate your windows. Using spray furniture polish and a clean, soft cloth, apply the polish to the cloth and apply to any area where two vinyl surfaces come into contact.
Do not use any chemicals, abrasives, or power washers to clean your painted vinyl windows—soap and water is the only recommended cleaning method in this case. In addition, be mindful to remove contaminates such as sap or bird droppings as soon as possible to prevent staining. Check that all weep or drain holes are clear and free of debris.
Lightly rinse your aluminum windows and then use mild soapy water and a non-abrasive cloth or sponge to clean the surfaces. Lightly rinse again, and dry with a soft cloth. Check that all weep or drain holes are clear and free of debris. Automotive wax can be used to enhance and maintain the exterior paint on the aluminum components.
Just like with vinyl, this is also the best time to lubricate your windows. Using spray furniture polish and a clean, soft cloth, apply the polish to the cloth and apply to any area where two surfaces come into contact.
When cleaning wood windows, it’s important to know how the windows are finished. Paints and stains should be cleaned according to the paint and/or stain manufacturer’s specifications. Care should be taken to ensure scratches and chips in the finish are sealed prior to cleaning. Check that all weep or drain holes are clear and free of debris.
As with vinyl and aluminum, this is also the best time to lubricate your windows. Using spray furniture polish and a clean, soft cloth, apply the polish to the cloth and apply to any area where two surfaces come into contact.
Check the weatherstripping and wipe off with clean soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Weatherstripping can be wiped down with a damp rag to remove any dust or debris that has collected on it. Replace if damaged or if it has become too brittle due to the suns effects.
For more information, check out the Ply Gem Windows Care & Maintenance Brochure.
While spring cleaning, it is also important to inspect your windows to ensure they’re in proper working order. This annual maintenance checklist can help you secure long-lasting performance from your windows.
Do your windows meet all of the checklist criteria? If not, you may want to consider replacing your current windows. Check out our window replacement tips here!