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How to Follow a Complete Window Washing Action Plan

To really get your windows clean, follow a complete window washing action plan. To begin, clean the frames. If you don’t, dirt from here is ready to sweep back onto your clean glass as soon as it turns windy.

Get right into grimy corners with an old toothbrush. This method is especially useful with old wooden window frames. With the brush, you can sweep out dirt without creating pools of water in the area and avoid speeding up the rotting process that may already have started in your wood frames. Use a brush to remove mud from the door tracks of sliding patio doors.

Grit can scratch plastic window frames (UPVC) so remove it with a dry cloth before wiping the frames with a soft, damp cloth. Unless there’s particular staining, stick to water only. Washing-up liquid that doesn’t get fully rinsed away can eventually cause the seals on plastic windows to decay. Painted wood or steel windows can take a stronger soapy treatment. Be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly afterwards.

With new windows, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning the frames. In particular, go easy on aluminium-coated frames with a wood-grain finish. Over time, even mild abrasives can scratch the finish.

Make a quick visual check of each window. If you can see loose dirt, you’ll save time and effort by simply sweeping it away now. Adding water may stick the dirt more firmly to the glass. Using kitchen roll is fine, or you may prefer a soft brush if, for example, the window is close to a bush or tree and is covered with pollen.

Remove bird droppings at this stage to avoid getting gunk all over your squeegee. Droppings can be tough to shift by just rubbing alone, so soften them with a proprietary cleaner or a strong solution of washing-up liquid or washing soda crystals. Wait a few minutes, then wipe away with a damp sponge.

To clean glass, follow these two basic steps:

  1. Wet the window using a cloth which is first dipped into your chosen solution and then wrung out.

  2. Use the squeegee to clear everything away.

    Tilt the squeegee downwards, so your hand makes roughly a 45-degree angle up from the glass. Start from the top and work in overlapping sweeps, shaking and wiping the blade frequently.

    When you’re cleaning both sides of a window, dry one side using horizontal strokes with your squeegee and the other by going up and down. When you spot a smear, it’s easier to see which side of the glass needs extra attention.

    It isn’t practical to squeegee small or raised panes, so use cloths to wipe off and polish.

Ideally, that’s it. In practice, though, getting a smear-free finish isn’t always so easy. When people say they hate washing windows, they actually mean they hate drying them. It can take several sweeps, and occasionally you may have to re-wet a section and start again. Alternatively, a circular rub over with old, soft T-shirt material can rub away the smear.

Steer clear of chamois leather unless you’re incredibly patient. Yes, it makes a beautiful shine on car glass. But remember how long that takes and how many windows your house has.

Once a year, clean the window hinges, too. Lightly oil moving parts with a silicone-free lubricant such as WD-40.

In bathrooms and kitchens, adopt a clean-as-you-go approach. Make good use of steam raised by cooking or showering and squeegee it away before it evaporates leaving grease and soap scum residue on your glass.

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