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Cleaning windows is of my least favourite housekeeping chores – and I don’t really know too many people who look forward to the task.
But – somehow – it has to be done!
And this is the time of the year for spring cleaning inside and outside of your house – thought I put in some tips on how to make that not-so-favourite task of window cleaning just a little bit easier.
Good squeegee is an absolute must – that is what professional window cleaners will not do without. Do not be fooled into thinking that a cheap, plastic one or the one you use for your car windshields will do the job.
Because they won’t! The best size to start with is a 12 – 14 inch one.
This size will work well on most windows and once you have mastered this size, you can move to a larger one to make the job easier and faster. There is also a 6-inch version available, and that one is ideal for small or French windows.
A good scrubber is a definite plus. This tool looks like a squeegee but has a fluffy cover. It is used to wet and clean the window before using the squeegee. If you don’t want to run out and get a scrubber, you can use a good natural sponge instead.
Rag or Chamois
It is a good idea to use dry rag or chamois for drying the squeegee rubber blade and edges of glass.
You need a scraper to remove paint, concrete and other stubborn debris. If you don’t have a scraper or don’t want to go buy one, you can also use a good medium to fine grade steel wool pad. If that is what you decide to do, make sure the pad and the the window are soapy wet. Never use one of the pads you use for dishes – they will scratch the glass. And never use steel wool on tinted glass.
You will need an extension pole of you have high, hard to reach windows. You can get an extension pole made for a squeegee – this will allow you to stand on the ground and reach the high windows without a ladder.
Bucket and TSP
A bucket of water and TSP (trisodium phosphate) or dishwashing detergent (2-3 squirts to the bucket).
And now – how to proceed
First – fill your bucket with warm water and add the TSP or dishwashing detergent.
Be sure you have all your equipment laid out so that you don’t have to be searching around for what you need.
Dip you scrubber or sponge into the cleaning solution and wash the windows thoroughly, using very wet steel wool pad to remove any stubborn spots – such as bug stains. You don’t have to press to hard on the steel wool. Rewet the window so you will have time to squeegee it before it starts drying out. Try not to clean in a direct sunlight – that will cause streaking and spotting.
Tilt the squeegee at a angle so that 2 inches of rubber blade touches the glass. Start aqt the top corner and draw the squeegee along the top edge of the window.
Wipe the squeegee blade on a sponge, start on the dry surface close to the frame and draw the squeegee down to within about 3 inches of the bottom of the glass.
Repeat this until you have squeegeed all of the glass. Be sure you overlap each stroke and wipe the squeegee blade after each stroke.
Have a rag or chamois handy to wipe the window edges if needed. If you see a streak on your window, use poly/cotton rag (like an old t-shirt) to polish it out.
If you prefer to wash your window the spray and wipe way – here are a few good cleaning tips as well:
To polish glass or remove screen and bug stains – make a thin paste of baking soda and water, rub onto glass, rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.
To make an easy window cleaner – combine 2 quarts of warm water with ½ cup of corn starch. Apply to window with a sponge and buff dry with paper towels or soft, lit-free rags.
For tough window cleaning jobs – combine 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 2 tablespoons of clear ammonia and 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid. Apply to your window using a nylon covered sponge, rinse and buff dry. This work especially well on hard-water spots.
How To Clean Your Screens
Most people just hose down their screens to clean them. This actually just moves dirt from one part of the screen to the other. Better way to clean the screens is to soap them with a sponge dipped in a pail of warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid, ¼ cup of ammonia and 2 tablespoons of Borax. You can really suds up the screens, then pay a rag on the ground and gently tap the screen on it. Most of the soapy water containing the dirt will come off this way. To finish, rinse the screen with the hose and stand to dry.
And a little note – no matter what you have heard about cleaning your windows with a newspaper – don’t do it! It is a dirty way to try to do a clean job and it can leave newsprint all over white window trim and paint.
Hope you enjoyed these tips and please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed!