Window Cleaning
and Glass Cleaning

One of the simplest ways to maintain your windows is by window cleaning and glass cleaning. Just about any homeowner can purchase the same tools that professional window cleaners use and cut the time they spend window cleaning in half. Even old windows look great when they are perfectly clean. So its a skill thats worth learning.

The Squeegee

Most professional window cleaning and glass cleaning is done with squeegees. These are usually made of brass or stainless steel so they wont rust. They usually have interchangeable blades for windows of different sizes but most homeowners will find a 12" to 14" blade will be fine for everything in a residential home.

The squeegee also uses blades made of very soft silicone rubber. These blades are not the same as the rubber used in the cheap squeegees you find in most hardware stores. Cheap squeegees have rubber that hardens after a few uses and can actually scratch the glass.

A high quality squeegee has a blade that will practically last forever for a homeowners purposes and will not scratch glass if used properly. The squeegee rubber blades are also replaceable unlike most hardware store squeegees. You can buy replacement blades in just about any janitorial supply store.

The Strip Washer

The other tool in for professional window cleaning and glass cleaning is the strip washer. It looks like a squeegee but is actually a soft deep pile cloth covering a squeegee shaped handle. Sometimes the strip washers have a plastic scouring pad material strip which can be used to break up thick dirt.

The strip washer is soaked in the bucket in a solution of dish detergent with a little ammonia to help cut through cigarette smoke and tar deposits.

You run your hand along the strip washer to squeeze off excess soapy water. Then you soap down the window. This techniques is especially important indoors where you do not water splashing around. You also need drop-cloths on the floor to prevent the inevitable drips from doing any harm.

A good strip washer will soak down a whole window in seconds, much quicker than using a soapy rag. Working fast is important not just for productivity. When the sun is shining down hard the water dries on the window sometimes faster than you can wipe it off.

Window Cleaning and Glass Cleaning Technique

I usually start with all my windows disassembled from their frames with only one panel left in the frame in front of me. If possible, turn the window panel around so you can clean the outside from the inside.

Its actually best to clean windows on an overcast or cloudy day because the sun dries the soap so fast it will leave streaks. Start your squeegee upside down in the lower left or right hand corner of the window. Do not touch the squeegee to the edges of the window, that will track lines of dirty water.

Use one finger to keep the end of the squeegee as close to the edge of the glass as you can without touching the edge. Pull the squeegee up to the top of the window turning as you go so the squeegee goes all around the window. Up the left side, across the top and all the way down the right.

Never stop until you reach the bottom edge of the glass. Take you squeegee off the glass and mop the excess water off the blade with a dry rag. You should have been able to clean the 75% of the glass by this one movement. Then with the dry squeegee, make one or two strokes from top to bottom to finish off the soapy water water left on the window. Your technique will just require practice.

Without too much work, you will get to the point where you can clean an entire panel from top to bottom without ever stopping or removing the squeegee from the glass. Usually, the more you remove the squeegee from the glass, the more marks you leave.

Once you have squeegeed the whole glass, run a towel around the edges from the bottom to the top and all round. You do not want drips starting to track down the glass. Avoid using the squeegee to clean off the sills, your blade will get damaged.

You will also need a razor blade scraper to help remove stickers and tape from windows. Also if you clean windows that have screens in front of them, bear in mind that screens trap dirt between the glass and the screen. This dirt actually sandblasts the glass over time. You will notice this when you try to clean the glass and it still looks dirty after you have finished. Its not, the glass is actually scratched, just like fine glassware in a dishwasher.

You can spray a little oven cleaner on the glazing and rub it in prior to using soapy water to help clean windows behind screens properly. But this only works if the damage is not severe. Beyond a certain point the glazing must be replaced. This is why its a good idea to take your screens off and store them during the winter months.

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