Cleaning windows from the outside is challenging but necessary work. Even when the windows are easy to access, many people find that they have to go back to remove residual streaks and missed spots later.
This can be so frustrating that homeowners either give up on window cleaning or hire a professional to do it. Fortunately, there is a happy medium that does not require taking either of these actions.
Gather Right Window Cleaning Equipment
Today’s consumers have access to the same high-quality products to clean their windows that the professionals use. People can either order them online or visit their nearest hardware or home improvement store to find what they need. Here is the minimum equipment required to do a good job of cleaning exterior windows:
- Ladder and ladder stabilizer if necessary
- Squeegee measuring 10 or 12 inches
- Small towels without any lint attached to them
- 5-gallon plastic bucket
- Dish soap
- Sponge or scrubber
Squeegee Stuff to Remember
The squeegee should always have a sharp rubber blade attached to it. Homeowners may want to purchase a few extra rubber blades to have available for when the current one starts to break down. These are the steps to follow to change a squeegee blade:
- Grab the blade at the end and stretch it to reveal the metal clip
- Slide the clip off and then slide the blade out at the other end of the squeegee
- Place the new blade into the squeegee’s metal channel
- Stretch the squeegee and replace the metal clip
Another option is to turn a rubber blade over after one side becomes worn and starts to leave nicks. The fresh side should work for just as long. Those who choose to buy extra rubber blades need to make sure that nothing touches the blades when they put them into storage.
How to Make High-Quality Window Cleaning Detergent
Window cleaning solution does not need to be fancy to work well. The only thing homeowners need to do is mix a teaspoon of dish soap for every two gallons of water in their bucket.
Adding a pinch of vinegar can be helpful to remove especially tough stains on windows. Using cool water is most effective when washing and maintaining exterior windows in warm weather.
Secrets of Streak-Free Windows Cleaning
Certain cleaning habits are more likely to leave streaks on glass than others. One such example is using a window cleaner solution that contains ammonia. People often make the mistake of thinking the ammonia will help make the window appear cleaner when the opposite is true.
The chemicals in ammonia can leave thin film that attracts moisture and dust, eventually causing streaks. It is better to apply rubbing alcohol or acetone to dirt or other debris that is difficult to remove, wipe it clean, and then start the regular window-washing process.
Homeowners also want to avoid using a razor to scrape off stubborn stains such as animal droppings. This method is unlikely to work, and it increases the likelihood of scratching the window and leaving it vulnerable to future cracks.
Using a soft, microfiber cloth that does not produce lint is also important to avoid leaving streaks on windows. Rinsing the window with clear water when finished cleaning will help to remove any streaks still appearing on the window from cleaning solution residue.
Be Sure to Wipe Windows Clean
Cleaning the windows but then leaving them dripping with water will cause streaks when the water dries. Before putting away the window-washing equipment, homeowners should take the time to remove water from the windows with a clean and dry squeegee.
The most efficient method is to place the squeegee at the bottom of the window and work upwards. After each pass of the squeegee, it is important to dry it off with a lint-free towel.
Window Screens Need Attention Too
Although the dirt on window screens might not be as obvious as it is on window glass, they also require regular cleaning. To start the process, homeowners should rinse each window screen with plain water.
The next step is to spray the screen with a water solution mixed with a small amount of vinegar. The window screens should be completely dry before going back into the frame of the window.
The best way for people to ensure that their window cleaning effort lasts is by choosing the right equipment. Do not rush through the job, and take time to check for streaks right away. The few extra minutes of time this takes will be well worth the results.