Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring Cleaning Project Windows -- Part I: Have you tackled your outside windows yet? Shiny windows go a long way toward making a house feel fresh and clean. The most beautiful scene outside your window is more enjoyable if you have a clear view of it. Even if the view outside of your window is less than picturesque, you'll still find it inspiring to view it through sparkling, rather than dim and dirty, glass.

Some windows, like mine, are made so that you can open the bottom part inward and clean it while you are cleaning the inside surface, too. Even if you do have these handy windows, you will have surfaces that you must clean from the outside.

What if you don't have the time or strength to do a thorough cleaning of your outside windows? There are solutions that will greatly improve the shine, even if they don't constitute a thorough cleaning. For example, I have used a spray which you attach to a garden hose. The spray bottle of cleaner has a switch that can be opened to release soap along with the water. You close the switch to rinse with pure water. Then, you let your windows air dry. Voila! Your windows and screens may not be perfect, but will be much, much cleaner. In fact, you might decide that a good spray once or twice a year gets your windows and screens sufficiently clean for you and your family to enjoy.

Here's another easy solution for those who don't have time to do a thorough, old-fashioned window cleaning. I recently purchased a long-handled tool which comes with disposable soap pads. One soap pad will clean up to twenty windows. You can also attach the threaded top of the handle to an extension pole to reach windows that are even higher. The idea is to wet the window and the soap pad with a hose. Then, you scrub the window. Then, you rinse the window with clear water, and you let the windows dry. I also used the soap pad to scrub the outside surfaces of my car, as well as some grungy places on the vinyl siding of our deck.

Before attempting any seasonal cleaning of windows, make sure the windowsills and and frames are clean. Start by wiping with a dry cloth and/or vacuuming. Then, clean with If you don't do a dry cleaning first, the dust and dirt on the sills will bead and smear, rather than coming off easily.

If you want to do a deep cleaning of your windows, take the screens off, spray and scrub them, place them on a clean cloth and let them and your freshly cleaned windows dry before replacing them.

Many say that you should not clean windows on a sunny day, as the sun will dry the cleaner before you can polish the window. This means that you will end up with streaked windows. Sometimes, you don't have much choice over this, though. For example, we've had an unusual number of rainy days this spring, followed by bright, sunny days. I felt like I needed to grab a window when it wasn't raining to clean my windows, so I went ahead, despite the bright Southern sun.

Windows, inside and out, are best cleaned from top to bottom.

Happy Home Keeping!

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