Window Cleaning

How to Pressure Wash Your Windows

Cleaning the exterior windows at your house can be a serious pain, especially if you have multiple stories. If you want to clean the windows on the second floor or in hard-to-reach places, you can use a ladder or a pressure washer. A pressure washer is one of the best ways to clean exterior windows, but there are some things you should be aware of.

 

Setting the Right Pressure and Nozzle

 If you already have the pressure washer, you need to prepare it properly to clean your windows. Cracking the glass or loosening the wood putty are the biggest dangers when using a pressure washer to clean your windows. To avoid that, you should use no more than 2,000psi on your pressure washer. If you can set it to about 1,500 psi, that would be even better. Secondly, you should choose a 40-degree or 65-degree nozzle; you never want to spray water directly at the window pane. If you’re shopping at a store, 40-degree nozzles are white and 65-degree nozzles are black.

 

Choose The Right Detergent

 Secondly, you should choose the right detergent for your pressure washer. You need a detergent that is designed for pressure washers. Fill up the reservoir in your pressure washer; when you turn it on, it will mix with the flow of water to create the right proportion of water and detergent. If you don’t choose one recommended for your washer, it can cause problems with the proper functioning. It can also reduce the effectiveness of the cleaning solution.

 

Spray at an Angle

 Even with the wide nozzle on the pressure washer and the pressure turned down, you should avoid spraying water directly at the window. Spray at an angle to the glass. Start at the edges of the window and work your way inward.

Avoid spraying the putty if you can. You don’t want to loosen the putty; if you do, it will eventually loosen the pane in the window frame and undermine the integrity of the window. Finally, you want to spray the window with clear water. Turn off the detergent reservoir and wash the window with clear water. Do this before the detergent has a chance to dry, which will leave streaks.

If you are cleaning your windows on a particularly hot day, you should rinse each window right after washing it to ensure that it doesn’t dry too quickly. In this way, homeowners can wash dozens of windows in an afternoon.

How to Remove Paint From Windows

You can end up with paint on your windows for several different reasons. Some people just don’t bother taping up their windows. Sometimes, a paint sprayer can lead to errant paint on the glass. Maybe you bought it and it was like that when you got it. Whatever the case may be, if you have paint on your glass and you’d like it gone, you need to follow a few steps.

 

Supplies

 You’re going to need a few things to effectively remove paint from your glass. Fortunately, many of them are items that are readily available. You’ll need dish soap, a cotton cloth, a utility knife, glass cleaner, newspaper or towels, a drop cloth, a putty knife, and a spray bottle.

 

Get to Cleaning

 First, you’ll need to put some warm water into your spray bottle with some dish soap. Swirl the dish soap around to mix it up, but don’t shake it and make it foamy. Spray the soapy water all over the window. It’s not really possible to use too much here.

Once you’ve sprayed the soapy water all over the window, use a utility knife to cut along the edge of the window pane to score the paint. This will make it much easier to pull the paint off the window. However, be sure to use very light pressure. You don’t want to scratch the glass.

Place the putty knife at a 45 degree angle to the window. With an even motion, push it away from you to peel the paint off the glass. Don’t use too much pressure or you risk damaging the window. Too much pressure can scratch the glass or even crack it. Also, be sure to keep the edge of the putty knife clean so that you can easily move it across the glass. If you can’t move it easily, you’ll be forced to use more pressure. That won’t work as well, and it endangers the window.

 

Paint Thinner

 The previous instructions work best for paint that is dry and relatively new. Sometimes, in the case of very old windows, the paint is very difficult to remove. In those cases, you might need to use some paint thinner to soften the paint before it can be removed. Use this instead of soapy water. Be careful not to get the paint thinner on the painted window frame.

Just that easily you can restore windows to their previous glory.

How to Touch Up a Scratched Window

There are several different ways that your windows can become scratched. Tree branches rubbing against windows is a common problem that homeowners face. Also, they can become scratched from pets and children; pets are a particularly common issue.  The first step is to assess the damage to the window. The panes of glass should be sealed with a vacuum between them. You need to check to see if the glass itself is scratched on the surface or actually cracked. If the glass is cracked, you’ll need to consult a professional. If you see condensation between the panes, you’ll also need a professional. However, if it’s just surface scratches and the seal is still good, you can likely fix it.

Lastly, you should run your fingernail over the window. If the scratch is deep enough that your fingernail gets caught in it, then it’s likely too deep to remove.

 

Cerium Oxide

 If you got a hardware store to get something to repair the cracks, you’ll likely find a product that contains cerium oxide. This compound is actually harder than glass; therefore, it can be used to polish glass. It works on the same principle as a fine grit sandpaper polishing wood.

Apply a small amount of the cerium oxide compound to the window and use a soft cloth to polish the scratches. If they’re shallow, they should buff out.

 

Use Glass Polish

 After you’ve buffed out the scratches as much as you can, you should use a window polish. You can use mineral spirits or toothpaste to accomplish this. Apply them to the window, focusing on the scratched areas. Polish them well with a soft cloth. This doesn’t actually remove the scratches but it does remove dirt and grime from the scratches, which will make them less visible.

 

Use Nail Polish

 You can also use clear nail polish to fill in the scratches. It might be slightly visible from up close, but it will generally make your windows look much better once you take a step back.

Finally, use a window cleaner to clean the cerium oxide and toothpaste off the windows. Once you’ve done all of that, it’s likely that the window will look significantly better. If the scratches still remain after you do that, you’ll likely need to have them professional repaired. Professional glass repair contractors use a clear compound to fill in the scratches. You could also choose just to have the window panes replaced. Though, that might not be an option if you have antique windows.

How to Restore Antique Windows

In the world of interior design, reclaimed and restored pieces are very popular. That’s true for just about every aspect of design. Reclaimed hardwood is being used for floors, ceilings, cabinets, furniture, and more. Many designers and homeowners are also looking for antique windows. The windows are so interesting and unique that they’re often used simply as decoration and not even as functioning windows. The patina, aging, and scars are all part of the appeal. However, there can be too much of a good thing. If you’ve got some antique windows, you might need to restore them somewhat to allow them to truly shine. That will take some particular care. Here’s how you can do that.

 

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

 When you are dealing with antique windows, it’s best to start small. You can always do more in the future; you can’t undo work if you’ve damaged the windows. Since you don’t know how the windows will react to the chemicals you are using, always use your most gentle cleaners first.

Dirt and oil build up over time, so it might take time to clean them away. Start with a mild glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Give the glass cleaner time to penetrate the dirt and oil before you move to anything stronger. The same is true for the wooden window frame. Be careful with harsh chemicals or lots of moisture. Wood will absorb moisture, which can cause rotting or warping. Avoid that by being very careful and only using a damp cloth at first.

 

Oxalic Acid

 If the grime still exists on the glass after you’ve used standard chemicals, it’s time to move to oxalic acid. This is a harsh chemical that is typically available in powder form. It’s an abrasive that will scrape away grease and dirt but it won’t scratch the glass. When you’re using it, follow the directions on the packaging. Also, it’s important to let the chemical do the work for you. Don’t scrub too hard or you risk just breaking the glass.

 

Wooden Frame

 For the wooden frame, you need to decide how much of the original patina you’re going to keep. If it’s got a rustic look that you like, you can just preserve that look by applying a layer of polyurethane or oil to the wood. You don’t want to get this on the glass, though. Tape the glass off with some painter’s tape to keep polyurethane contained.

If you want, you can sand and stain the window frame before refinishing it. You’ll still need to tape them to protect the glass.

How to Make a Streak-Free Window Cleaner

There are several reasons why a homeowner would want to make his or her own window cleaner. One reason is simply the availability of window cleaners. If you are cleaning up around your house, you might find that you’ve run out of the commercial cleaner you bought at the store. In that case, you’ll need to either run out to the store or make one yourself. Fortunately, many window cleaners can be made from items that you likely already have around your house. Furthermore, the environment in many places already has too many toxins. Household cleaners are some of the most common culprits. Fortunately, everyday items can be safer for your environment and work just as well.

 

The Recipe

 The first step in your streak-free homemade window cleaner is assembling all of the ingredients. A very workable window cleaner is made from vinegar, rubbing alcohol, cornstarch, water, and essential oils. The essential oils are optional, but they do help to impart a nice smell to the window cleaner. You should use about even proportions of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. You can use either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Use a small amount of cornstarch and then fill the bottle up the rest of the way with water.

 

Using The Window Cleaner

 Cornstarch might seem like an odd addition to a window cleaner, but the science supports it. Glass is not completely smooth; it actually contains many microscopic scratches and bumps. Water can stick to those tiny abrasions. Then, more water and chemicals will bond to that water. That is what creates streaking. Cornstarch disrupts those hydrogen bonds and prevents streaks. If you’re allergic to corn, or don’t have any around, you could use any type of starch in small amounts. Tapioca and arrowroot, for example, would work as well.

You then should pick a microfiber towel to clean the windows. Many people choose to use two towels. Spray the cleaner on the surface and then clean the windows; then, use the second towel to dry the window. That prevents any cleaner from being left on the window. If you don’t have microfiber towels, newspaper or cotton clothing will work. Many people just use an old t-shirt. You just need something that won’t scratch the glass or leave behind fibers.

That’s how easy it is to make your own cleaner. You can alter the proportions of vinegar and alcohol if you need something that will provide a deeper clean.

How to Clean Antique Windows

A historic building can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be a time-consuming task. If you are responsible for an antique home or business, you’ll need to keep the windows clean. If the home has already been restored, then you just need to maintain them. If the home hasn’t been restored, you’ll likely need some deeper cleaning options. To clean antique windows, you need to make sure you don’t damage the window. That’s the first goal.

 

Start Small

 Dirt, oil, and general grime build up over time on your windows. Sometimes, all of those years of accumulated grime will require some pretty strong chemicals to remove. However, you should never start with the strongest chemicals. Always start light and work your way up. So, first, you should use some wadded up newspaper or a soft rag made specifically for cleaning windows. Spray clean water on the window and attempt to wipe off the grime. Loose dust and dirt will likely be removed by simple water. After you’ve done that, you can move to something stronger.

Mix a few drops of dish soap into the water. The dish soap should cut through most oils and grease. However, if the oil and grease is old, it might not be moved by dish soap. After that, you can move to diluted ammonia. Ammonia is the primary ingredient in many traditional window cleaners you might buy in a store. You can often dilute those store-bought cleaners 50/50 with water.

 

Go Big

 If none of that works to clean your windows, you’ll need to break out the stronger stuff. Cleaners with oxalic acid are often in powder form; they can scrub away grime but they won’t scratch the glass.

You should be particularly careful about using stronger chemicals if you have stained glass windows. Stained glass can either be painted glass or colored glass. If the glass is colored, you likely won’t damage it by using mild chemicals. If it’s painted, the cleaning process could damage the paint. If you have stained glass, it’s probably best just to call a professional. In fact, if your windows are old and fragile, calling a restorer might be your best option.

Professionals will have specific tools and chemicals that will clean stained glass or antique glass without damaging the glass. They’ll also be able to clean the window frames. You shouldn’t neglect the frames when cleaning the windows. Depending on what they’re made from, you might need separate chemicals entirely.

Should You Use Window Cleaner or Just Soap and Water?

When you’re doing some cleaning around the house, it’s important not to neglect the windows. Clean windows help you see better and maximize the amount of light in your home. They also make the facade of your home look better. When you’re buying the supplies needed to clean your house, you’re going to see a lot of different products that are said to clean windows. They often promise a “streak-free shine.” However, are any of them necessary? Could you clean your windows just as well with soap and water? The answer is mixed.

Yes And No

 If you are cleaning one or two windows or mirrors in your house by hand, a window cleaner will work just fine. The store-bought liquid in the spray bottle will clean your windows pretty well as long as you use a microfiber cloth. Some people use wadded up newspaper. As long as you’re not leeching newsprint onto the window, that should be fine. However, that’s not what you want if you’re washing the windows.

Cleaning your windows could mean cleaning up some spots or streaks of dirt on your windows. Washing them means removing any dirt or grime that might have built up. If you want to wash your windows or if you have a large number of windows to clean, soap and water is the way to go. You shouldn’t choose just any soap, though. Many types of soap have fragrances and chemicals that leave behind a residue. If your dishes smell like dish soap after you clean them, they have a residue of soap on them. That residue could be visible on your windows. Use a window washing solution to avoid that.

 

Window Washing Solution

 Window washing solution is typically a concentrated liquid that is meant to be mixed with water for the purpose of washing windows. This might seem like an unnecessary expense but they’re generally designed for use by professional window washers. Therefore, you will likely be able to get dozens of uses out of one large bottle of solution. You’ll also get clean windows.

You can mix the window washing solution with water in a bucket. Some are meant to be connected to a water hose or pressure washer. You should also buy window washing tools such as squeegees and microfiber cloths.

 

Conclusion

 Essentially, if you are spot-cleaning your windows, the blue liquid is fine. If you’re looking to deep clean multiple windows, buy dedicated window washing solution.

How to Properly Wash Your Car Windows

If you hire a professional to clean or detail your car, you’ll likely get it back with your windows absolutely sparkling. When you have your windows cleaned in your home, it is a nice way to make your home look better and to allow more light in. When you have them cleaned in your car, it’s also about safety. Clean and clear windows are absolutely essential to keeping your sightlines unobstructed. So, how do you wash your car windows to keep them crystal clear between professional washes?

Save the Windows for Last

 Saving the windows for last when you’re washing your car is important because soaps can run down from the roof of your car and contaminate the windows. Water can splash up and contaminate the windows. There’s just a lot that will get on your windows through the course of washing them.

Also, if it’s a warm day outside, that can cause the water or soap on your windows to evaporate faster than you can dry it. That will leave behind water spots.

 

Move it to the Shade

 The next thing you should do is move your car to the shade if it’s a hot day. Cars are made of metal and glass, two substances that heat up quickly. They can get so warm that any soap or water evaporates too quickly. You’ll then be racing to clean your windows before the washing solution dries up. Moving it to a shady spot is a better option if you can.

Buy the Right Cleaner

 Typical household window cleaners use ammonia as their primary cleaning agent. Ammonia is pretty harsh; it can eat away at any tint on your windows as well as degrading the rubber seals around your windows. You should choose either an automotive glass cleaner or make your own. To make your own, you could use a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of water. That is usually sufficient to clean windows.

Buy the Right Supplies

 You need something to apply the washing solution and something to dry the windows. A microfiber cloth is ideal for cleaning the windows. Dip it in your bucket of cleaner, rub it around, wash off the windows, and then dry them. A squeegee is the ideal drying tool. Clean cotton or a microfiber towel will work as well. A reusable cloth diaper might suffice as well.

Don’t forget to clean your windshield wiper blades; you’ll defeat your purpose if you smear dirty blades on clean windows.

How to Clean Your Windows Most Effectively

 

Washing your windows is no one’s idea of fun; however, many homeowners or business owners make it more difficult than it has to be. When they insist on using paper towels, wadded up newspaper, or some cheap sponge, they’re making the job less effective. Also, all of that rubbing will actually create a static charge on the glass. The charge will attract dust and dirt; it’s self-defeating. Instead, you need to stock up on the proper tools and do it right.

The Tools

 First and foremost, you should think of washing your windows instead of just cleaning them. You can spot clean then with a store-bought spray and a paper towel. That’s how you clean off a spot of dirt. If you need to actually clean the whole window, you need to wash it. That means soap and water. Invest in some microfiber applicators of different sizes. If you have a picture window or a sliding glass window, you should consider a strip applicator. They cover a lot of space. If you have small windows or segmented windows, smaller applicators will be appropriate. Pick something microfiber so that it is soft and absorbent but won’t leave behind lint.

Then, you need to select a squeegee. Select squeegees of multiple sizes or buy multiple and cut them to fit. A squeegee will get your windows clean and dry very effectively. Drying them quickly is an integral part of the cleaning process. Unless you use distilled water, the water itself can leave behind deposits that are generally known as water spots.

 

The Chemicals

 The other element to cleaning your windows effectively is the chemical you use. You should be using something that mixes with water. Some choose to plug the soap and water into a pressure washer that mixes as you spray. Others choose a bucket of soapy water. It’s just important that you pick the right cleaning solution. You need something that will cut grease and dirt without being harsh on your hands or on your window frame.

Many window washers will tell you that a squirt of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of water is very effective. It shouldn’t be so sudsy that they’re overflowing out of the bucket but it should be sudsy enough that you can work up a lather as you wash the window. You can also buy a dedicated window washing solution. They’re generally more concentrated, so you use less of them, and will eventually save you money in the long run.

Are Window Cleaning Drones the Future?

Technology has been pretty constantly changing for several decades now. The technology of window cleaning was bound to change. Some things are as old as time and will never change; you need water and a cleaning solution to effectively clean a window. However, the nature of those cleaning solutions changes as does the way it is delivered. There are delivery systems available now that we’re not even thought of ten years ago. One of the most significant is the window cleaning drone.

 

What Are They?

 There are two basic kinds of window cleaning drones that have emerged on the market in recent years. One type of drone has a cleaning solution and a squeegee on the drone. A pilot flies it up to each window, applies the cleaner and then cleans it off. These types of drones are popular in the imagination but they’re still not more efficient than a talented window cleaner. It is very difficult to apply with a drone the horizontal force needed to effectively clean a window.

The other type of drone is one that assists a human window washer. They’re especially useful for window cleaners who are abseiling, also known as rappelling. When you are on a ladder, a scaffold, or your rappelling, you’re very limited in what you can carry with you. That’s where a drone becomes very useful.

If you have someone on the ground who can fly cleaning supplies up to you while you’re on the side of a building, you can save a lot of time and effort that would be spent getting up and down off the building.

 

Who Uses Them?

 Window cleaning drones are becoming more popular and you might find one at a local window cleaning company. The companies that have window cleaning drones are still working out the most efficient ways to utilize this technology.

Also, smaller operations have begun to rely on this technology. As with many advances, the first adopters are smaller companies that are attempting to even a lopsided playing field. If your company only has a few employees, you can’t match the large crews of big companies. However, you can use work multipliers such as drones.

Drones can also be something of an advertising ploy; in fact, that might be their greatest benefit for a window cleaning company. Drones are popular with just about everyone; they’re popular as toys as well as tools and even military weapons. So, if you are running a company that utilizes drones, many customers will choose you just to see how well it performs.