Blog > Category > Posted: 2016-Mar-21, Updated: 2023-May-10

The do's and don'ts of vinyl window cleaning

Window cleaning tips
There's a right and wrong way to do everything, even when cleaning vinyl windows. Here are a few not-so-obvious tips that could help make your window cleaning safer, more efficient and even easier.

Whether you prefer spring or fall to wash your windows this is a perfect time to inspect for problems that may lead to further issues down the road. Before you start to clean, check all windows for loose or vacant caulking and look for visible cracks or streaking inside the windowpane. If you have any issues it would be wise to repair them sooner than later. If you’ve had your windows installed by Bayview Windows, give us a call and tell us what’s going on.

Remember, before you clean, safety should always be your priority. If you're uncomfortable or unable to reach high windows, consider hiring a professional window cleaning service to ensure both safety and sparkling results. Dive into the realm of safe and effective residential window cleaning with these expert tips:

Things you should do:

  • (1) Weather Wisdom

    Choose a day when the sun isn't beating down on your windows. Cleaning them in direct sunlight can cause the cleaning solution to dry too quickly, leading to streaks and smudges.

  • (2) Tools of the trade

    Equip yourself with the right tools for the job. A soft, lint-free microfiber cloth or a squeegee with a soft rubber blade can work wonders in achieving a streak-free shine. Use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to reach corners and edges.

  • (3) Mindful maneuvering

    Before you embark on your cleaning adventure, take a moment to ensure your own safety. Securely position a stable ladder or use an extension pole with a window cleaning attachment to access higher windows without risking a hazardous climb.

  • (4) Technique matters

    Start by removing loose dirt and debris with a dry cloth or brush. Then, dampen your cloth or sponge in the cleaning solution and gently wipe the window in vertical or horizontal strokes. For larger windows, consider dividing them into sections to ensure thorough cleaning.

  • (5) Use gentle solutions

    Before you clean the glass, gently hose down the entire frame and window (avoid using power washers). A simple mixture of warm water and mild dish soap can often do the trick. Avoid harsh chemicals that can harm the environment and potentially corrode window frames. Start at the top of the window and work your way down with a clean soft cloth, sponge or soft-bristle brush. When you have completed it, be sure to rinse it.

  • (6) Banishing streaks

    To avoid unsightly streaks, wipe away excess cleaning solution promptly. Use a squeegee or a clean, dry microfiber cloth in a single fluid motion, starting from the top and working your way down. Regularly wipe the squeegee or cloth to prevent transferring dirt from one section to another.

  • (7) Tricky tracks and frames

    Don't overlook the window tracks and frames. They can accumulate dirt and grime over time. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to remove loose debris from the tracks. Then, dampen a cloth with your cleaning solution and gently scrub the tracks and frames. Finish by wiping them dry with a separate cloth.

Things you shouldn’t do:

  • (1) Don't neglect safety measures

    Never compromise on safety when cleaning windows, especially when working at heights. Avoid leaning out of windows or overstretching to reach difficult areas. Use sturdy ladders, and extension poles, or consider hiring professionals for high or hard-to-reach windows.

  • (2) Avoid temperature extremes

    Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight, or in temperatures too hot or too cold. Hot temperatures will dry cleansers too quickly leaving a soapy residue. Cold temperatures will cause the windows to dry too slowly leaving streaks.

  • (3) Resist the temptation to use a power washer!

    Power washers can be incredibly powerful and effective for cleaning outdoor surfaces like decks, driveways, or siding. However, when it comes to windows, the intense water pressure from power washers can damage the glass, window frames, and seals, and even force water into your home. It's best to stick to more gentle cleaning methods like using a sponge, cloth, or squeegee for window cleaning.

  • (4) Banish the Windex shortcut

    Avoid using household glass cleaners like Windex on vinyl windows. These products may contain ammonia or other chemicals that can degrade the vinyl material over time. Stick to mild, non-abrasive cleaners specifically formulated for vinyl surfaces.

  • (5) Don’t use harmful solvents

  • Don’t use cleaners that contain solvents such as grease remover, chlorine bleach, strong soaps, and detergents containing organic solvents, these may damage surfaces and cause yellowing on white frames.

  • (6) Don’t use abrasives

    Don’t use cleaners containing abrasive materials such as fine sand or bathtub cleansers, these can damage glass and vinyl surfaces.

  • (7) Don’t use metal tools, razor blades, steel wool, or other sharp objects

    While razor blades can be useful for removing stubborn residue or paint from glass surfaces, they require caution and expertise to avoid scratching or damaging the glass. Improper use of razor blades can leave permanent marks on the window, compromise its integrity, or even cause injury. It's advisable to leave the use of razor blades to professionals or individuals who have been trained in their proper use for window cleaning.

  • (8) Skip the newspaper trick

    While it's a popular belief that using newspaper for window cleaning can achieve a streak-free shine, it can actually leave ink residue on the glass. Opt for lint-free microfiber cloths or a squeegee instead.

  • (9) Steer clear of excessive moisture

    It's important not to oversaturate your windows with cleaning solution or water. Excessive moisture can seep into window frames, causing damage or even water leakage. Use a damp cloth or sponge rather than soaking the entire window.

  • (10) Don't forget the final wipe

    Once you've finished cleaning, it's essential to wipe away any excess cleaning solution or moisture. Neglecting this step can result in streaks or water spots. Use a dry microfiber cloth or squeegee to ensure a flawless finish.

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Need more information?

Proper maintenance and cleaning of vinyl windows are essential for their longevity and overall appearance. By following the dos and avoiding don'ts of vinyl window cleaning, you can ensure that your windows
remain in excellent condition. Remember to use gentle cleaning solutions, soft cloths or sponges, and avoid abrasive materials or harsh chemicals. Regular cleaning and inspection can help prevent dirt buildup and damage.

If you have any questions or need further assistance with your vinyl windows, it's recommended to seek professional advice from a trusted window maintenance service.

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