Getting Your Windows Really Clean

Why are my windows so dirty?

Modern homes, with their well-sealed doors and windows, tend to trap a lot of dirt and grime inside, and not all of it goes into your vacuum cleaner; some will end up on your windows. It’s possible to reduce this by keeping filters clean, for example in your central heating boiler, and your air conditioner if you have one.

Materials for cleaning

It’s possible to spend a lot of money on branded window cleaning products, but everyday household chemicals can be just as effective. Good alternatives include bleach, ammonia, liquid detergent, vinegar, surgical spirit, and soap. You will need cloths and sponges, but instead of using paper towels, remember that newspaper is also a traditional and effective cleaning material (but not the sort with colour printing – look for black and white).

Getting glass clean

Washing windows on a warm and sunny day can cause problems if the cleaning solution dries too quickly, as it will leave water marks. A really shiny finish involves eliminating every trace of dirt and grease, but also avoiding leaving streaks and fluff. Most proprietary cleaners contain alcohol or vinegar, and a home-made cleaning solution also works best if made the same way. Newspaper is effective because it doesn’t leave bits behind, and works well with vinegar for a final polish.

Very dirty windows

There may be some marks, such as bird droppings, which need to be scraped off, and so will any paint residues. If dirt has built up, it is probably best to use soap and water for the first stage, followed by a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water with a clean cloth.

Window frames

Start window cleaning with the frames if they have become dirty. Use a brush to remove loose dirt, and then a cloth with a solution of detergent or soap in water.

Window sills

After brushing off and washing down with soap and water, window sills may still show marks which need a stronger solvent solution to remove them. The corners of window sills tend to gather dirt, which needs to be dug out with an old toothbrush or cotton buds, using a solvent if necessary. A final polish with floor wax will help to keep the window sill clean in future.

Mould

Black mould patches on window frames and sills are a result of the condensation that tends to form there. They can be cleaned away with a mixture of water, detergent, and bleach, and a strong bleach solution will help to prevent mould forming in future.

Take care!

Every year there are many accidents in the home during window cleaning. Take particular care when using ladders and steps, and never climb on furniture to get to your windows. Many cleaning products are potentially hazardous, so always read the instructions carefully, and wear rubber gloves. Don’t mix household chemicals; mixing ammonia and bleach, for example, produces a poisonous gas.

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