You don’t have to hire a professional window cleaner to acquire sparkling windows in your own home. With a few simple tools, practice, and a little elbow grease you can get rid of the mess that Arizona’s Monsoon season left on your windows.
If you don’t already have them, you can get all the supplies you’ll need at most hardware stores or home centers. Some supplies you’ll want to gather: a 10”-12” squeegee, a 10”-12” window cleaning scrubber, a bucket, a ladder and/or step-stool, dishwashing soap (Dawn works well), a soft brush (preferably on a 5’ pole), a stiff handheld brush, a vacuum with hose attachment, and a lint free cloth or paper towels.
First, you’ll want to remove the screens and get rid of all the dust from the record-setting dust storms we’ve had this year. A putty knife and paint can opener can be very helpful in popping the screens out of the window frame. Lay them out in your driveway and use the soft brush on a pole to scrub them with a mixture of water and dishwashing soap in a bucket. You’ll want this solution to be really sudsy, so use plenty of soap to cut through the dirt. Scrub the screens on both sides, rinse them well with a hose and lean them up against a wall or your garage door to dry in the sun.
If your windows are up high you’ll want to make sure your ladder is in good condition and follow all of the safety guidelines included with it. Many times these are printed on a sticker on the ladder itself.
The next step is to go around to each window from the outside and use the handheld brush to rid the window and sill of cobwebs and dirt. After you’ve completed that, go to each window from the inside and vacuum out the tracks. Make sure you open the window and vacuum out those tracks as well. You may want to wear a dust mask (available at hardware stores) if flying dust kicks up your allergies. Using an old toothbrush can help get dirt out of the corners of the tracks. If you don’t follow this step, you’ll just be making mud later when you squeegee the glass.
Now it’s time to actually get after the windows. Put a gallon or two of fresh water in your bucket and just a quick squirt of dishwashing soap. Mix it up well and rub the solution between your fingers; you want it to be slippery, but not sudsy.
For the outside windows dunk your scrubber in the solution and scrub the window well with it. The window will begin to feel clean when it is done, as it will no longer have any rough patches. Don’t hold back on using a lot of solution here, it will dry quickly if the windows are in the sun or if it is breezy.
Now for the streak-free window. When window cleaning, you can ensure that you won’t leave any streaks by using a dry rubber squeegee blade. Place this blade against the top of the window, and pull down smoothly, using a towel to dry your blade between each stroke. Repeat this process until the window is
complete, being sure to overlap the dry edge of the squeegee with the dry portion of the window in order to prevent drips and streaks. Use a dry, lint-free cloth or paper towels to soak up any remaining drips around the edges of the window.
Now move to the inside of the windows and follow the same process. You’ll want to ring out your scrubber so that it is just damp enough to wet the window. Make sure you move your window coverings and furniture out of the way and protect your sills from drips with a bath towel.
As you improve your basic window cleaning technique, you may want to learn other techniques such as the swirl, which can make the job go quicker and be a lot of fun. When using the more advanced techniques you’ll be able to clean a window in one step without having to stop and wipe your squeegee between strokes.
Finally, reinstall your screens and enjoy your sparkling, clean windows!
Brad Bolt is the owner of Clearly Professional Window Cleaning and serves the greater Phoenix area. He can be reached at (480) 466-1202, or through email at info@CPWindowCleaning.com. His website can be found at www.CPWindowCleaning.com.
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