Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Cleaning Your Windows
We’re a window company, so you could probably guess we have a few tricks up our sleeve about how to care for windows. After all, even the best windows and the most premium materials need to be cleaned and maintained to keep their warranty and offer the best protection against environmental conditions. This article is about how you can audit your windows’ condition, clean them for the season and determine the future life expectancy and need for new windows.
If you need a quote for new windows contact us. If you need some tips for cleaning your existing windows and determining if they are starting to get too old, read on. This article talks about those concepts.
If you follow this basic guide, you’ll be able to know if you’re in a position to start getting a quote on new windows. We’d love it if you considered Nu-Vu if you determine you are in the market for new windows this season. It’s a great time to get windows installed, just before the summer heat that can be mitigated to some extent with quality windows, and well before fall and summer show up with their trademarked drafts and cool weather.
So, let’s talk about Spring Cleaning and how to get a deep clean on your windows and check for flaws.
Spring Cleaning feels better when you’re windows are distraction-free, non-cloudy, and clear
So you’ve already committed to the body aches, and time-consuming steps that come along with a hardcore Spring Cleaning regimen. But it’s going to be so worth it to clear out all that dust, and get everything put into its rightful place. Wait – what’s that? Your windows look like they’ve got permanently embedded dust or hard water spots. Why don’t the windows ever look pristine anymore?
It could be that you are actually in need of new windows, as older technologies, films, treatment, and environmental factors can all degrade the usability and clarity of windows over time.
It could just mean you haven’t effectively cleaned the windows for the season. Sunlight can have a magnifying effect on windows that are anything less than spotless. But that effect gets much worse when the cleaning isn’t done right the first time.
Generally, we recommend a couple of points as you try to get the spotless windows that will make you feel like all that hard work was worth it.
Here are some cool tips that can help you optimize your process.
- We like nearly full strength Clorox Cleaner with newspaper
The chlorine bleach is strong and cuts through a lot of things that lesser strength cleaners simply cannot. A higher concentration of bleach means you aren’t causing hard water stains when the water dries and dissipates over time. The streak-free finish is beautiful.
It is also important that you realize bleach is a strong chemical. You should wear protective gloves and safety glasses and have proper ventilation when working with strong concentrations of bleach.
Using newspaper is helpful because it absorbs a lot of moisture and offers a streak-free alternative to a wet rag. It is also unaffected by bleach and is cheap and easy to find. It can be tossed in the trash and not smell like bleach for a long time.
Furthermore, the pulp paper processing methodology used for newsprint paper allows a slightly “abrasive” medium (it will not scrape glass, but offers a more aggressive cleaning implement than consumer paper towels or rags), as they get wet. This actually helps to clean your windows properly.
- Start at the top and try to go all the way across the breadth of the glass panel you are focused on—that way drips go down. Use a spray bottle that doesn’t drip and won’t spray too aggressively if you use bleach, or there could be some detrimental effects to colored siding, stucco, etc.
The drips can be easily cleaned up if you go level by level from top to bottom, and use a proper spray motion or control the total amount of liquid on the window. It’s okay if drips move downward while on the glass because they help to “pre-clean” the glass surface
- If you know you have hard water or calcium build-up from long days of sun after having wet windows, and/or bleach is out of the question—consider a CLR type cleaner (Calcium, Lime & Rust). Most of these are strong chemicals and can cause very strong odors/fumes. They should be used only in a well-ventilated area or wearing a proper mask to ensure none of the vapors go into your mouth and nose for prolonged periods of time. This is true of any cleaning agent.
A CLR type cleaner may take a bit more elbow grease, but it’s very likely to remove the outlines of hard water and help to get rid of the baked-on residue that appears when you have hot, sun-drying wet windows at certain times throughout the year.
A few microfiber cloths or even cotton cloths should be dedicated to cleaning the tracks and casements of the windows. The months of dirt and grime collect there and can make an ordinary window painful to open and close. Using a fingertip or a small tool to run the cloth along the bottom of these channels will clean them up easily. If you are in a particularly dry or dusty area, you might consider vacuuming prior to using your fingers to eliminate a lot of loose dirt.
Cleaning premium windows is easy
Properly designed, premium windows are super easy to clean. They have UV resistant, chemical resistant materials and a proper lip to catch (or designed to shed) excess moisture. The glass is also treated to a higher standard, and even in extreme heat or places with hard water, the glass can be cleaned to a pristine finish.
Cleaning old windows is a perfect time to check their overall condition and suitability for continued use
Old windows, on the contrary, are generally experiencing less than stable glass fitment (shrinkage of materials in the frame, degradation of sealants and weatherstripping, etc.). They are also prone to degradation from UV rays, wind, moisture, and other environmental factors that have been commonplace over the years. The cleaning process is likely to remove dirt but may also cause the finish to be removed too, as it’s already in a weakened state.
Old or tired windows tend to be riddled with wobbles, worn finishes, drafts, and difficulty in movement.
Even certain iterations of multi-pane glass can be considered old or be unable to perform proper window tasks. Depending on the quality of the window that was installed, even a window as young as ten years old could be a candidate for replacement. The litmus test is the performance and condition of the window, not the age, generally.
Why has window design evolved over time so much?
It’s precisely for these reasons that window frame and glass technologies have evolved over time to the optimized state they are in now.
Premium windows offer insulation, created by strategically placed glass panels in coordination with each other, with inert gas in between glass panels to ensure better cold and hot performance. They are usually made with premium materials that have better stability in moist environments, like vinyl, fiberglass, metals, treated wood, or hybrid composites.
One brand of windows that should be noted for the central Iowa climate and conditions is the Infinity Window by Marvin. A Fiberglass framed window with great options.
This improves the fitment, strength from a theft and breakage perspective, and the overall longevity of the product.
The hardware on these premium offerings is of top quality and the overall operational value of a properly fitted window made from top-of-the-line materials is night and day from many of the cheap variants used in tract homes, especially from 20+ years ago. The efficiency improvements in the broader window market alone have been exponential, just over the past 8-10 years.
How can you check if your windows need replacement?
Do you have any known drafts?
You’re a candidate for replacement. Even if the heating bill in the wintertime isn’t crushing your wallet right now, ants, bugs, and spiders are going to have free access to your home. It can also be a problem for mold growth if you experience prolonged wet seasons. Mold is a health hazard and it can weaken framing and other core parts of your home. That can mean costly remediation or repair bills down the line.
Is your window glass blasted or frosted looking because of wind beating dust into it over the years?
While this may not indicate a safety concern, it can be unsightly and certainly takes away from the view and clarity that a window is in place to provide. You might consider replacement on windows that are wind and sandblasted.
Are your windows failing because of long exposure to the sun?
Frames made of certain materials are not optimized for UV rays and do not have the appropriate protection against sun exposure. This can lead to weak, wobbly, or flimsy frames and even difficulty opening and closing the windows. You are likely to be a candidate for new windows if this is the case. Additionally, moisture can cause inappropriate shrinkage and expansion of windows depending on the materials. This can exacerbate the issue. The situation only goes downhill from here. Consider new window options.
If your windows are ready for replacement, consider the benefits of Nu-Vu Windows
Windows are an investment. But they can be a much better investment than a simple precursory look might provide. Yes, premium windows do command a price premium—but the benefits far outweigh the heartburn caused by a small increase in price over lesser varieties.
The right windows not only provide day-to-day benefits like enhanced heating and cooling of your home while offering better total cost baselines because of the inherent insulation values, but they are safer and more resistant to common problems.
New premium windows offer strong deterrents to thieves and offer a better quality of life when interacting with them. They offer better light in-flow and improved climate adjustability inside the home.
New premium windows are also competitively priced, thanks to improvements in manufacturing, mainstreaming of better materials, the volume of production, and experienced window installers like Nu-Vu.
If you are considering replacing windows but haven’t opted for a quote, we think you might be surprised. Between a seamless service and installation process, the right windows will not only give you the benefits above, while looking beautiful, but they will add a lot to the total value and resale value of your home.
We’d love to explore options and help you get educated on what the window replacement market looks like right now. If you’ve seen some things about your windows that give you pause while Spring Cleaning and you’re in central Iowa, then you know just who to call. We can help you tell if you just need a tune-up, or if you need to explore window replacement.