Monday, July 14, 2014

Brighten your outlook with clean windows

Image: freedigitalphotos

Why do my windows get so dirty?

Modern homes, with their well-sealed doors and windows, tend to trap a lot of dirt and grime inside, and not all of it goes into your vacuum cleaner; some will end up on your windows. It's possible to reduce this by keeping filters clean, for example in your central heating boiler, and your air conditioner if you have one.

Cleaning materials

As well as branded glass cleaners (which can be expensive) there are many household products which are useful for cleaning windows and window frames, such as liquid soap, vinegar, ammonia, bleach, and surgical spirit. Newspaper (not colour-printed) is a traditional glass-cleaning material, and household rags are also a useful addition to cloths and sponges.

Getting glass clean

Whether you use a branded cleaner or soap and water, avoiding streaks is the key to a good result. A solution containing alcohol or vinegar will help to prevent a smeared finish, and it's important that the final polish is done with a cloth or paper that is absolutely clean. Bits of fluff or lint will spoil the effect, so use newspaper or a lint-free cloth. Don't wash your windows in direct sunlight; the solution will tend to dry too quickly, and you may see water spots as a result.

Really dirty windows

A two-stage process may be necessary where there is a heavy build-up of dirt. Use a scraper on marks such as bird droppings, and a soap and water solution to get rid of the worst layer. Then change to a clean cloth and a solution of vinegar and water in equal parts.

Window frames

If the window frames are very dirty, it is best to tackle them first before moving on to glass cleaning. Start with a soft brush to remove loose dirt, and then a solution of soap and water to wash the frames down.

Window sills

After brushing off and washing down with soap and water, window sills may still show marks which need a stronger solvent solution to remove them. The corners of window sills tend to gather dirt, which needs to be dug out with an old toothbrush or cotton buds, using a solvent if necessary. A final polish with floor wax will help to keep the window sill clean in future.


Window frames and sills tend to attract mould because of the condensation that forms on them. The black stains it leaves can be cleaned off with a solution of soap and bleach in water, and bleach will also help to prevent mould reforming.

Take care!

Household accidents often occur during window cleaning. Don't climb on furniture to reach windows, and only use ladders and steps if they are properly sited. Wear gloves when handling strong chemicals such as bleach. Don't mix chemical agents such as ammonia and bleach, and follow the instructions carefully when using branded products.