a Picture Window
The first step in cleaning your windows is to have the right tools. Head
down to your local home center and pick up buckets, rags brushes, squeegees,
extension poles and whatever else you think you might need. Keep everything
together in a certain spot because you will be sure to need these tools
Washing picture windows call for large tools. The long cloth head of a
strip applicator soaks up a lot of soapy water and knocks dirt loose without
scratching the glass. For a cleaning solution use just a squirt of dishwashing
liquid in a bucket of warm water - the less suds, the better. Everyone
seems to have a favorite window cleaning solution - let me know what works
well for you!
Wipe starting at the top left; pull the squeegee over the soapy pane in
a reverse-S pattern (left- handers would start at the top right). At the
end of each stroke, wipe the squeegee's blade clean with a lint-free rag.
Cloth diapers or old linen napkins are perfect for this task.
Remove any water remaining on the edges of the glass with a damp, wrung-dry
chamois, which soaks up wetness without leaving streaks. Dry the windowsill
with a rag.
To clean a divided-light window, you need a smaller squeegee that fits
Scrub the panes. A handheld sponge or hog-bristle brush works best on
multipane windows. I prefer natural sponges. "They're firmer and
more absorbent than synthetics. Using the same solution of a squirt of
liquid soap in water, rub each pane from left to right, top to bottom,
working the sponge edges or brush bristles into the corners to loosen
Pull the squeegee down each pane in a single stroke from top to bottom.
After each stroke, clean the blade with a rag so it doesn't leave streaks.
(If the squeegee squeaks a lot, add a bit more soap to the water.) As
above, remove any streaks on the glass with a chamois, and dry the muntins
and sill with a rag.
Over time, hard-water
runoff from masonry or rain falling through metal window screens leaves
stubborn mineral stains on glass that normal washing can't erase. So after
a regular cleaning, wet the glass and gently "super clean" it
either with fine 000 steel wool (if the panes are small) or with the cleansing
powders Zud or Barkeeper's Friend, which contain oxalic acid. (Other brands
of powder may scratch the glass or fail to remove stains.) Mix the powder
into a paste on a wet towel, rubs away the stains, then rinse and squeegee
the glass twice to remove the residue. Even with that treatment, the staining
generally comes back in about six months.
To get rid of stains for good, Apply 3 Star Barrier Glass Surface Protectant,
a clear polymer coating. After the stains are gone, you just put the coating
on with a strip applicator and squeegee it off. Protection against staining
is permanent, as long as the polymer is reapplied after each regular cleaning.
Windows That Wash Themselves
Given people's aversion to washing windows, it's no wonder that window
companies now make glass that cleans itself. The secret ingredient is
titanium dioxide, a metallic compound that's permanently embedded in the
surface of the molten glass during manufacture but doesn't affect its
transparency. When exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the titanium
dioxide kicks off a chemical reaction that disintegrates organic dirt,
such as tree sap, pollen, and dead bugs. The coating also makes the glass
hydrophilic; that is, water doesn't bead up but spreads out in sheets
that slice off loosened debris like an invisible squeegee. It doesn't
leave glass sparkling like it came out of the dishwasher but it's still
quite clean. Windows with self-cleaning glass cost about 20 percent more
than ordinary windows but need cleaning only about half as often.
to Topics Page