Here’s a couple of tips from a professional window cleaner!
1) Do not use green scrubbie pads
Nylon scrub pads, typically green in colour and popular for cleaning dishes in your kitchen, are abrasive and will scratch window glass. The reason for this is that window glass is soft, much softer than glass bottles. The only type of nylon you can use to scrub windows is specialized nylon for window glass. Glass scrapers and fine grade steel wool are the other valid options. Razor blades are your best bet to safely remove decals and other stuck on debris from window glass.
2) Razor blades must be used wet
It’s very easy to scratch glass when using a razor blade. Razor blades are very effective at removing stickers, tape and paint, but window glass must be lubricated before using a razor. Soap and water is the ideal lubricant. There are certain types of glass where you can’t use razor blades, that’s tinted glass and mirrored glass. Also, tempered glass requires special provisions.
3) Prevention is the best strategy
If you are painting, staining or doing any kind of home renovation work near your windows, cover them! This applies to work on the inside of the house and also the outside. Paints are corrosive to glass and if left on long enough, can cause permanent stains. The best solution is to cover them before work begins, preventing any corrosive materials from getting on them in the first place.
4) Routine window cleaning pays for itself
Paints are not the only corrosive material that can permanently damage windows. Hard water deposits caused by rain can also be a problem. These deposits can come from acid rain, salt water spray, oxidation and pollutants in the air. Since window glass is porous and its surface is filled with peaks and valleys, airborne debris gets trapped, which builds up and damages the windows. To protect your investment in your windows, they should be cleaned at least twice per year. Clean glass also helps the thermal rating of windows. Believe it or not, a clean window can better regulate temperatures, increasing efficiency and ultimately saving you money on heating and cooling costs.
5) Keep sprinklers away from glass
If your outdoor sprinklers spray water on your windows, you really should reorient them to keep the water off your windows. Tap water contains hard minerals that, over time, will etch the surface of the glass and leave permanent stains.
6) Do not use a garden hose to clean windows
Similar to the sprinkler topic, water from your garden hose contains the same calcium deposits that can damage your windows. The problem is leaving the water to dry on your windows. Of course, a pro will use tap water mixed with soap to clean your windows, but a pro will not leave the cleaning solution to dry on the window. The liquid is removed with a squeegee and spot dried with a special cloth.
7) Replace metal window screens
Oxidation is something that can permanently damage glass. It makes glass appear hazy, with a white etched look. Sometimes, the source of this oxidation is metal around the window, holding the screen. As the metal is exposed to moisture, it slowly deteriorates and eventually, this condition penetrates exterior window glass and makes regular window cleaning techniques useless! Prevention is the best medicine in this case as well. Replace metal window screen frames before they rust out.
8) Consider the use of a glass sealant
While not recommended or used by all pros, a glass sealant can be useful for those who don’t clean their windows on a regular basis (twice per year). A sealant will provide a layer of invisible protection on the surface of the glass, keeping the glass cleaner (on a microscopic level) for a longer period of time. Think of the sealant as a product that fills all the tiny peaks and valleys on the surface of the glass. Professional window glass sealants are designed to be squeegeed off and increase the time between cleanings. Ask your service provider for more details.
9) Homemade cleaning solutions can damage glass
Do yourself a favour and don’t even try to create a homemade cleaning concoction for use on your window glass. Just use soap! It’s non-abrasive, environmentally friendly and contains no solvents. Why take a risk using an acidic or alkaline solution that can potentially damage your glass, or the frames and caulking.