How To Clean Windows In 5 Easy Steps

Window cleaning done the right way

The gradual melting away of winter both gladdens and saddens the residents of Vancouver.  On one hand, we are excited because we can once more head outdoors to enjoy the things we like—walking the seawall around at Stanley Park, hitting the Grouse Grind, or just heading to our local shore for a beach day.

On the other hand, Spring is around the corner – which means Spring Cleaning, and usually one of the things on our to do list is window cleaning. Having clean windows in your house will make your spring and summer much more enjoyable – especially for window gazing on those warm summer evenings.

Get Clean Windows The Right Way (And With Ease Too!)

The rainy Vancouver winters may have left their marks on the glass surfaces in your house, but you needn’t dread window cleaning if you know the steps to complete this chore quickly and efficiently. It may not be as quickly as you want but by following these steps you will certainly save yourself time from having to clean them again soon or not having cleaned them as well as they could have been. Follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to clean windows for the spring:

1. Obtain The Best Window Cleaning Equipment You Can Get Your Hands On

Effective window cleaning requires equipment that will get the job done – and done right. Here are some things you’ll need to get your hands on:

  • Plain vinegar, water and newspaper will work wonderfully to clean windows small in size that have not accumulated much dirt and grime.
  • A squeegee for larger windows and poles to attach it if you need to reach windows on higher floors. Since you’re new at it – start with a 12 inch squeegee, as it will turn much easier.  Although the squeegees with swiveling handles are difficult to wield initially, they perform well when it comes to reaching hard-to-access corners without making you stretch and strain.
  • Some regular dish soap with hot water to start things off.  The soap will not only clean windows, but first and foremost helps glide the rubber squeegee over the surface of the glass.  We use about a cap full of sudsy ammonia to help get bug marks and food marks off the glass, and also to help glide the squeegee.
  • A “mop” or applicator.  You can simply use an old rag to apply the soapy solution on to the glass, or you can buy yourself a professional one.
  • 2 old towels preferably with their fluff and lint worn away to wipe up.  One towel that gets wet to wipe sills, and one towel that stays dry to wipe the edges of your glass.
  • If you have to remove stickers from or clean sap off your window, then you will additionally need a scraper – but only use a scraper with water and not on tempered glass.

2. Follow The Correct Cleaning Technique

To make your job much easier, clean your windows when the sun is not shining directly on the cleaning surface. The sun dries the your cleaning mix to fast before you can wipe it, and this leaves ugly streaks on the glass surface.

Obviously you first need to apply your soapy cleaning mix to the glass, trying not to go too far into the corners or edges.  When cleaning windows, you should always start cleaning from the top left and proceed across to the right if you’re right handed. (Reverse if you’re left handed!)   After each swipe, wipe your rubber squeegee blade with your rag.  Obviously this technic is for beginners, but once you have the hang of it, you can turn the corners and sling that squeegee like a professional!

All Dirt Should Be Rubbed Away – If You Want Super Clean Windows

Use your wet and soap-smeared mop to rub the glass pane of your window vigorously and thoroughly. Make sure that you have removed all the dirt from the surface. You will have to use the scraper to remove any stickers, sap, or hard objects at this point while the glass is wet and soapy. Ensure that you scrape only in a forward direction so as not to drag the dirt and grime across the glass surface and leave behind ugly scratches.

3. Hold The Squeegee At The Correct Angle And With The Right Pressure

Hold the squeegee by its handle, and place your thumb midway between the top and the side. When using the device, make sure that it is at an angle of about 45˚ with the glass surface. Now work it from the top left corner of the window and make your way to the right.  What pressure should you hold your squeegee to the window?  Try holding the very tip of the handle with your thumb and 1 finger and glide the squeegee around the surface.  That is the pressure you want on the glass when you clean windows – not much!

4. Remove The Watermarks From The Edges

However thorough your window cleaning job was, some watermarks are bound to be left behind, especially on the edges of the windows. Wipe them away with a clean and dry micro-fiber cloth or a towel if you can. Now you’ll have clean windows for a while and you can be proud of your work because you tackled this annual window maintenance responsibility (at least twice a year task) the first time around.

Window cleaning can be a time-consuming affair.  But you can knock this task out quickly and be proud of the results as well.  The steps listed above should help you clean windows with ease and efficiency. And if not, there’s always a team of professionals who clean windows you can turn to!

About The Author:

Troy Thompson, Principal - North Shore Home Services

Troy Thompson is the Principal and Business Development Manager for 4 firms including North Shore Home Services, AcroTech Cleaning Systems, CityWide Gutters and Edgemont Exteriors. He focuses on residential & multifamily construction, renovation and exterior maintenance throughout various areas of the Lower Mainland. You can follow him on Google+.

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