I don't do windows.....but maybe you should.

By
Home Inspector with Perfection Inspection, Inc.

A majority of my job includes highlighting or making people aware of things in their home that they never think about.  Items in everyones' homes that need attention but are out of the way, out of sight and seldom considered during our daily lives.  One component in particular seldom gets looked at directly but it is in our direct line of sight daily.  Not only are these components in our line of sight, we look through them all the time.  When is the last time you actually looked at your windows?

Most windows these days are vinyl and very low maintenance.  Notice I said "low," and not "NO," maintenance!  In the Salem, Oregon area our windows on the south sides tend to do quite a bit of water shedding.  All of this moisture can cause things to grow in the inner workings of the vinyl channels.  On the other sides of our homes the glass and vinyl gets dirty and does not get washed with rain and will need to be cleaned periodically.

What is the proper way to clean these windows?  Here is what I do:

-Materials:  I tend to keep things pretty simple as far a chemicals.  Most of the "work" with window clean is unfortunantly good old elbow grease.

1.Toothbrush-  I like the cheap motorized brushes.  The twisting bristles can get in to some tight areas!

2. Vacuum- To get the bulk of the loose dust, bugs, etc....

3. Vineagar and Water solution-   This is a pretty standard cleaning solution.

4. Funiture polish-  This will be for the final lubrication on the rollers and the vinyl-to-vinyl surfaces.

-Now for the work!

Have you ever heard someone say that, "..they don't do windows,"?   There is a good reason for that cliche.  Cleaning a window properly is a lot of work!

I have two styles of windos in my home and I will deal with how to take them apart separatly.

I will tackel the sliding style first:

The first thing you need to do is remove the movable section.

-For sliding windows the movable section should be slid to the center and lifted up.  There should be enough clearance to tilt the bottom of the window out of the track and pull the section out.

Sliding window sash removed

Once the sash or moveable section is removed you get a good look at the bottom roller track:Dirty window track, soon to be cleaned

To properly clean this section you must remove the track.  Sometimes a screwdriver is needed to pop the track up.  Here is what the track looks like when it comes out:

Removal of a sliding window bottom track

Things are pretty simple with sliding sashes.  The only mechanical parts are the rollers and ususally the crud is collected at the bottom of the track and not where the rollers are functioning.

Roller on my Salem Oregon vinyl window

With the sash removed, wipe out the window. Then reinstall the track and sash.   Lubricate the vinyl surfaces with funiture polish and you are done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next is the single hung window:

You must first find the spring retention clips.

Sash spring retention clip

These are little clips on the upper tracks that 'grab' onto the springs on the movable sash.  When the springs are retained the window can be opened a little more and slid to the side.  This slight amount of tucking to the side in the track will allow the opposite side of the window to clear and tip out of the track. With that opposite side out of track clear you can now slide the window toward that side and remove the sash from the track.

With the sash out it is time to clean.

Dirty window sash

BeforeAfter

I use my daughter's old motorized tooth brush.  It does a  great job of cleaning out the inside corners!

The last thing to do once all of the parts are cleaned up is to lubricate the vinyl-to-vinyl surfaces.

Vinyl window lube

Like most things, cleaning a window properly is not that hard, the tricky part is actually getting started!

Clean windows will last longer, be better functioning and will just be nicer to look out.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me:

 

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Rainmaker
620,701
Pat Champion
Coldwell Banker Camelot Realty - Mount Dora, FL
Call the "CHAMPION" for all your real estate needs

Great topic windows are one of the things most home owners don't think about you have done an excellent job of detailing the cleaning of windows.

Mar 24, 2012 01:22 AM #1
Rainmaker
583,461
MaryKay Shumway
The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948) - Sister Bay, WI
Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert

This was a great post, I am suggesting!

Mar 24, 2012 01:23 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,861,624
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Very very informative blog post! I enjoyed, learned alot!

Mar 24, 2012 01:25 AM #3
Ambassador
1,611,302
Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

We do the same thing to our windows each year in the Spring time. We have to use a toothbrush.

Mar 24, 2012 01:40 AM #4
Rainmaker
176,535
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Pat: Thank you!  Cleaning windows is certainly a thankless job but I sure do appreciate it!

MaryKay:  I am flattered!  Thanks

Andrew: Thank you, now I expect your windows to be spotless!

Harry: EVERY SPRING!!  sheesh you are a glutton for punishment!

Mar 24, 2012 01:50 AM #5
Rainmaker
640,538
Kathy Sheehan
Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021 - Atlanta, GA
Senior Loan Officer

Cleaning the windows is the one household chore that I really dislike!

Mar 24, 2012 09:21 AM #6
Rainmaker
176,535
Jim Allhiser
Perfection Inspection, Inc. - Salem, OR
Salem, Oregon Home Inspector

Kathy:  I couldn't agree with you more.

Mar 26, 2012 11:13 PM #7
Rainmaker
985,771
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria - Alexandria, VA
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.

Good morning Jim,

 

These are some excellent tips for cleaning windows. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend!

Sep 20, 2012 11:33 PM #8
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Rainmaker
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Jim Allhiser

Salem, Oregon Home Inspector
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