To clean window glass use a soft, clean, grit-free cloth with a mild soap or detergent and a small amount of rubbing alcohol (it it cuts dirt and contains a drying agent to help cut down on streaking). Be sure to remove liquid by wiping dry or using a clean squeegee.
If the vinyl frame needs cleaning do so by using the same solution. For stubborn dirt, a “non-abrasive” cleaner such as Bon-Ami or Soft Scrub may also be used. It is important to keep windows and door tracks clear of debris and dirt, along with holes open and clear of obstructions.
Very important: Do not use ammonia, vinegar, alkaline or acid solutions as these will cause chemical breakdowns of sealant and result in failure of insulation glass. Do not use solvents such as mineral spirits, toluene, xylene, naphtha or muriatic acids as they can dull the finish, soften the vinyl and/or cause seal failure of the insulating unit.
Details on Cleaning the Glass
Did you know glass is a very slow-flowing liquid? So it is important to keep your windows clean with the proper cleaning techniques. Dust and dirt are very abrasive and can damage the glass surface.
If you have ever watched a professional window washer, you probably did not see him using a spray bottle and a roll of paper towels. This technique removes much of the abrasive dirt, but in reality, it’s just being spread into a film over the glass. While this may look fine at night, when the sun hits it, you will notice that the windows are not clean.
We recommend 5 basic tools:
- Lamb’s wool scrubber
- Water, detergent & alcohol
- 12”-18” Squeegees
- Chamois Cloth
- Large razor scraper
Make your own cleaning solution with a bucket of warm water, a heavy squirt of dish soap (be careful not to use too much), and a half to a full quart of rubbing alcohol, depending on how big your bucket is and how many windows you have to wash.
First use a wand to soak the window with solution. A medium-to-long-nap fleece lamb’s wool scrubber is very effective for applying the soapy solution. The key is to get the scrubber well saturated with the solution so that it picks up the majority of the dirt as it floods and rinses the glass. You want the window to stay wet for as long as possible, especially if it is in direct sunlight (always try to avoid cleaning windows in the bright sun, it’s best to work in the shade). Once you have applied your solution, let the windows soak for a bit and soften up the dirt. If it starts to dry, wet and scrub it again just before squeegeeing it off. That way, when the glass is squeegeed dry, only clean solution is being squeegeed off. Quick Tip: If your solution dries before you have a chance to squeegee, wet the top section of the window, then squeegee; continue pattern until window is clean.
Hard-To-Clean Debris: If some of the windows still have some specks of cement, paint, bug spots, or tree sap on them, try using a scraper with lots of soapy water. This will not only get stubborn spots off your windows, but it will also be easier to get the job done without excessive elbow grease.
Squeegee: It’s best to use a professional squeegee with a brass body (12-18“wide) and replaceable rubber blades. Brass is a relatively soft metal, so it will not scratch the glass unless you bump it hard. Using the squeegee properly to remove all moisture is a very important step. Every drop you put on the glass, has to come back off, or you’re leaving dirt on the window.
When you can, use a horizontal pass across the window starting with your squeegee at the top. If you are using a pole, you can squeegee from top to bottom tilting the squeegee down on the dry side so that the water flows up to the still wet area. After each stroke, wipe off the squeegee with your lint-free towel (most paint stores sell these). Overlap each stroke by about two inches for the best results.
After you let the window edges dry, use a chamois cloth to wipe the streaks and any drops left on the window. Quick Tip: When ringing out your chamois cloth, you want to ring it out enough so not to have any water dripping from the cloth.
Then step back and enjoy the great feeling of sparkling clean windows!