Everyone can clean a window. But not everyone can get the job done properly. While it’s great to be able to DIY your house maintenance, sometimes well-meaning homeowners cause more harm than good.
We’ve compiled a list of common mistakes that homeowners make when cleaning their own windows. Some of them are obvious, while others might surprise you.
The most frequent window washing mistakes are:
Cleaning Your Windows on a Sunny Day
This mistake may sound strange, but most window washing professionals mention it. Bright, sunny days are probably when you most feel like getting some outdoor cleaning done. That’s how most of us imagine spring cleaning, right?
But the sun can make window washing harder. Most people lather up one side of the window and then move to the other side before sponging and drying. On a sunny day, the lather will dry quickly, leaving persistent streaks and marks even after you’ve scrubbed and dried your windows.
Window cleaning professionals recommend cleaning on a cloudy day. This weather gives you a little more time before the lather starts to dry. Another alternative is to sponge, and dry one side of the window at a time.
Being Stingy with the Cleaning Fluid
Many homeowners don’t use enough cleaning fluid when they’re washing windows. Too little fluid doesn’t provide an effective clean. Use enough to cover the surface of your window properly. If you’re not sure if you’re using enough, you probably need more fluid.
How often do you clean your windows anyway? Make that washing count.
Using the Wrong Material to Dry Windows
Perhaps the most common type of mistake we discuss with homeowners is what they use to wipe up excess water. Most people use the wrong material when it’s time to dry their windows.
You should only use a soft, fiber cloth on your window glass. We can’t vouch for anything else, nor would a professional use any other material.
Your parents might swear by newspaper or wadded paper to clean glass, but this method isn’t as great as we once thought. Newspaper inks today contain chemicals that hurt your windows in the long term. The papers can also stain the window frame.
Using the Wrong Tools or Using Tools Incorrectly
There are a few basic tools essential to window cleaning. Most professionals only need a bucket, mops or sponges, a squeegee and a scraper.
A window mop or sponge is enough to lather up your windows. A squeegee will get rid of the water. Afterward, you can dry or polish your windows with a dry fiber cloth.
A scraper is only necessary for persistent stains and marks. You need to use this tool carefully, since it’s very easy to damage your windows. Use the scraper in one direction and apply pressure evenly. Keep your hand steady and use controlled movements.
It’s also best to avoid many chemical window solutions. Like newspaper inks, these chemicals can be damaging and shorten the life of your windows. If you’re using a homemade solution, make sure the ingredients are approved by professionals.
Using the Wrong Process
Washing your windows is a simple process, but some people don’t take the time to learn it.
First, apply a window cleaning solution and let set, but not dry.
Next, use a wet mop or sponge to spread the solution evenly across the surface of the window.
If needed, gently use a scraper to remove any persistent dirt stains or marks.
Finish with a squeegee to remove the water and remaining cleaning solution. Cover the entire window with long vertical. Then repeat the process once more, going horizontally.
Dry your window with a soft, fiber cloth.
Not Looking as You Clean
If you’ve cleaned windows on your own before, you’ll know this experience. You’ve just cleaned a window, and everything looks clear as you’re drying the window straight on. But once you step back and look at the window from another angle you notice annoying streaks and smudges.
As you’re cleaning your window, and especially when using the squeegee and drying, you need to get into the habit of looking at the glass from different angles. This can be annoying and challenging at first, but it’s, not professionals get the job done right in one try.
Cleaning Only One side of Your Windows
This last mistake seems silly, but people do this more than you think. Some people only clean the inside of their windows, and then wonder why it still looks dirty. Other people conclude that the outside is exposed to the most dirt, so they focus on that side.
In reality, the inside of your windows is probably dirtier. Researchers found that there are more varieties of bacteria and fungi on household surfaces than there are outside.
People touch and lean on windows, leaving human oils and bacteria brought in from the outdoors, workplaces, and stores. Make sure to give the inside of your windows a thorough cleaning, and include window sills, which easily accumulate dust and cobwebs.
Why It’s a Good Idea to Hire a Professional
The most obvious reasons to hire a professional is to save time and energy. Cleaning your windows is not a quick task. Instead of devoting a Saturday to cleaning, think about hiring a professional.
Professionals not only do the job for you but do it much faster. If we’re honest, they can finish the job in half the time it would take you to do it.
You have the ability to do the job safely. What you may not have are the tools and experience. A secure ladder and ladder pads are two tools that keep professional cleaners safe and prevent damage to your windows or home.
The biggest reason to hire a professional is for their expertise. They can spot potential hazards that may have gone unnoticed for years. Problems such as wood rot, sashes painted shut, and clogged channels all post a safety risk to you and your family.
Malfunctioning windows can prevent escape in case of a fire or other emergency. A professional can help you identify these risks and if not fix them, then recommend a source who can.
Extend the Life of Your Windows
Windows are an investment. Once you’ve replaced your windows, you don’t want to be going through the process again anytime soon. Just like we get regular checkups at the doctor’s, your windows and house should have a period “checkup” too.
A top notch window cleaner won’t just clean your windows. They’ll examine the frames and sills for any problems. A professional can help you identify situations that can be very damaging in the long-term. Insect infestations are one issue that often goes unnoticed until the problem becomes severe.
If you have a reoccurring problem with your windows, they can often find the source and help you determine a solution. The cause of your window troubles may be something completely unexpected. For example, artillery fungus can release spores and cause spots on windows and house siding.
A professional also knows how to treat the glass itself. They can restore damaged glass and remove old stains, like those resulting from old or dirty aluminum screens.
Professional window cleaning services ensure that your windows are being treated to the best. They check the stability of your windows and frames to prevent long-term issues, saving you money in the long-term, not to mention time and energy right now.
Stay away from these common window washing mistakes and consider hiring a professional to get the job done well.
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