But spring isn’t all fun and games. When it’s time to clean grime from windows, most of us reach for off-the-shelf chemical cleaners. Most of the experts, on the other hand, say these products can do more harm than good.
Harsh chemicals can ruin exterior finishes, and pre-mixed cleansers aren’t much better. To protect window finishes and achieve the same sparkling results, mix up a gentle cleaning solution with simple ingredients like baby shampoo or vinegar. These solutions have additional benefits: they cost mere pennies and are environmentally friendly.
“The most important thing to remember when cleaning windows and patio doors is to use gentle, soft materials that won’t harm surfaces,” says Brian Hedlund of JELD-WEN windows. “Avoid the ‘power washer’ method because it’s more likely to cause water damage than to effectively clean exterior surfaces.”
For busy homeowners, JELD-WEN offers these simple steps for quick and effective glass cleaning:
- Clean your glass surfaces on a dry, overcast day. Intense sunlight can cause the solution to dry too fast and create streaks. Avoid using a power washer or garden hose to clean windows or doors, which can cause seal failure and allow water to enter your house.
- Avoid using metal tools, razor blades or other objects that can damage surfaces, scratch glass and remove exterior glass coating. Don’t allow aggressive cleaners to come in contact with vinyl, wood or metal surfaces. Be sure to clean up puddles that collect at glass edges, as they can damage window glazing.
- Use a combination of common, gentle ingredients to clean glass. Mix one teaspoon of baby shampoo with one gallon of water, or 1½ cups of vinegar and one gallon of water.
- Wash windows with the solution using a clean, soft cloth or sponge
- Rinse with clean water
- Promptly dry the glass thoroughly with a cloth
- Dry the frame with a separate cloth
- Removing stubborn labels on glass: Soak the label with soapy water and remove with a putty knife.
- Removing dried paint on glass: Soak the paint with a warm water and baby shampoo solution. Wipe with a soft cloth or use a plastic putty knife, if needed.
- Cleaning insect screens: Start this task by removing the screen. Most have spring-loaded pins or tabs. Patio door screens can be lifted up off their tracks. Place the screen into a tub or shower stall if indoors, or on a hard surface if outdoors. Gently spray the screen with water. Brush lightly with a soft bristle tool until clean. For stubborn dirt, a mild soap and water solution can be used. Rinse clean and replace the screen when it’s dry.
- Cleaning exterior finishes: Mild soap and water and a soft sponge or cloth is the simplest and safest way to clean exterior finishes such as wood, metal surfaces, vinyl, plastic and brass. Always rinse and wipe dry immediately after cleaning. Metal and brass surfaces benefit from a protective coating of high-quality car wax after cleaning. As a general rule, avoid vinegar and citrus-based solutions, paint removers, and harsh or abrasive cleaners on exterior surfaces.
- Inspecting weatherstripping: This is also a good time to check windows to see if the paint needs touching up and if the weatherstripping is functional. Properly maintaining the paint and weatherstripping can help windows and doors last much longer. Evaluate replacing your windows and doors with ENERGY STAR-qualified, Low-E glass versions that will save money on heating and cooling costs.
For a free copy of a window care and maintenance guide from JELD-WEN, call (800) 877-9482 or visit them online.
– Courtesy of ARA Content