When I'm cleaning windows: a guide to keeping your glass clean and shiny
Picture the scene. You’ve just had your lovely new bifold doors installed, and there are already dog nose marks at the bottom and grubby fingerprints near the handle. In a busy, modern home it’s inevitable.
So how can you keep your new investment looking new? Cleaning windows can be surprisingly hard, with many of us striving for that streak-free finish. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know, not only when it comes to glass cleaning, and looking after your aluminium frames too.
Clean your frames first
An often overlooked aspect of window cleaning is keeping the frames clean. You should always clean these first as you don’t want the dirty water dripping onto your nice, clean panes. First-up, remove dust with a dry cloth. This means it won’t mix with the water later on. Then, simply wipe your frames with a damp sponge or cloth. If they’re a little more grubby than anticipated, just add a little detergent to warm water.
Check the weather
Seriously, it’s best to clean your windows on a cloudy day. This is because warm, sunny days will heat up your panes and encourage streak marks (because the product dries faster than you can remove it). Cleaning your windows in sunny weather won’t cause any problems, but you’ll find yourself working double-hard to remove those nasty marks.
Choose your poison
When it comes to cleaning the glass, there are generally three approaches, and this often comes down to personal preference.
- Keep it simple with warm, soapy water. This is generally an easy and affordable way to clean windows. You could also add vinegar for some extra bite. Bear in mind that this might be a little bit messier if you’re using a cloth and a bowl.
- Use an off-the-shelf product. There are hundreds to choose from, and you can end up paying quite a premium for more ‘prestige’ products. But generally, the ingredients are all the same. Window cleaning solutions are effective, but can leave streaks if not removed quickly.
- Make your own solution. A bit like cocktail making, you can add as much or as little as you like when it comes to ingredients. Typically, you can use white vinegar, lemon juice, or dish soap. Ideally, you need some kind of agent that is slightly acidic, as this will help to remove grime.
Spray and wipe
It’s always a good idea to use a spray bottle (even if you’ve made a DIY solution), as it will save you making a mess and having to wash anything up afterwards. Simply spray the solution onto the glass and then wipe the surface with a soft, microfibre cloth. Alternatively, if you’re applying a little more solution than a spray bottle allows (eg: with a sponge), then it might be wise to remove with a squeegee. This is especially useful when cleaning the exterior pane as they generally need a little more attention.
Dry and relax
Strangely, the most important part of window cleaning is drying the window. It’s a good idea to buff off any remaining product, moisture or residue, as you’ll otherwise be left with streaks or water marks. You might think it’s okay to leave a few drips on the glass, but you’ll only notice them later once they’ve dried! Not ideal when you’ve just put your feet back up.
Some people use newspaper to buff windows dry, but generally, a microfiber cloth does a great job. It goes without saying, but don’t use the same cloth that you used to clean the windows, and make sure your cloth is clean, and free of any lint or dirt as this could smear or even scratch your window.
It’s not over yet
We almost forgot. Your tracks! Bifold doors run along tracks and it’s important that you keep these clean and free of any dust or dirt build-up. Our doors are incredibly well-made, but improper maintenance in the long-term may lean to usability problems. Something like a small piece of gravel or kids’ toy could easy work its way into a track, causing a problem with the mechanical elements of the door.
Visually inspect your tracks, before removing any debris and cleaning with a cloth or a vacuum cleaner. You can also use cans of compressed air to clean any hard to reach areas. We know we’ve put this at the end of the blog, but if your tracks are particularly dirty, it might be wise to clean them before you start on your windows and frames.
NOW you can relax
Okay, you’re all done. Obviously, you might just want to hire a window cleaner, and that’s entirely okay. They’ll know what to do when it comes to modern, bifold doors, but if in any doubt, or you’re just a little nervous around your new investment, feel free to show them this blog. They won’t be offended.
Happy cleaning, and as always, if you have any further questions about installing bifold doors or windows in your property, then please don't hesitate to get in touch.