This past weekend my family tackled the tough job of cleaning the windows in my daughter’s recently purchased historical home. After years of built-up dirt, this was no easy task and let me tell you, it made me appreciate my easy to clean vinyl windows a whole lot more. But with a house in a historic district, efficiency upgrades aren’t as simple as they are with other homes, so a morning of cleaning was inevitable. Luckily, with a few simple tricks, we got the job done and the windows look amazing.
Window washing is a dreaded task, but a few hours can make all the difference. Here are 10 of my favorite tricks, tips, and hacks to simplify the job and get your glass gleaming again.
Never clean windows on a hot day. The glass will heat up, causing your washing solution to dry on the panes faster than you’ll be able to wipe it off. A cloudy, overcast day is your best bet for this job.
Instead of relying on reams of paper towels, stop into your local hardware store and grab an eight-inch squeegee for those small panes. They make the job a lot easier with much less waste, just don’t forget to wipe the blade between swipes!
Here is a great DIY window cleaning solution. Combine one cup hot water and one cup white distilled vinegar. Mix in a spray bottle and there you have it. For very grimy windows, clean with hot soap and water first, followed by the vinegar mixture for a streak-free shine.
To get rid of really pesky streaks, use a dry board eraser. Unlike paper towels, an eraser can do away with streaks without leaving lint behind.
If you really hate washing windows, take an extra step and apply a window protectant. The clear polymer coating will help protect the glass from dust, dirt, and grime for longer.
If you’ve run out of paper towels, old newspapers are a great alternative. The ink will get on your hands but you don't have to worry about lint getting left behind on the windows.
Hard water spots can be tough to remove with regular window cleaner. A dryer sheet will do the trick, just buff in circular motions. It works on mirrors and shower doors too.
Caterpillars love building nests in window tracks. Clean them out with a thin screwdriver and then follow up with a firm, toothbrush-sized bristle brush.
Hate cleaning blinds? Wrap a pair of kitchen tongs in two microfiber cloths and secure with an elastic band on either side. Run the tongs between each slat to remove dust and pet dander.
Have a can of WD-40 in the garage? A quick coat on freshly cleaned window sills will prevent dirt and grime from sticking.
If after this round of window washing you swear it will be your last, consider upgrading to vinyl windows. The seamless, tilt-in design makes them so easy to clean and the energy efficiency can’t be beaten. It’s one of the best upgrades you can make to your home to save both time and money in the long run.
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions for Bob to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.