Adding Andersen windows to your home is a smart decision. But the move could be rendered foolish if you fail to properly maintain your windows.
The best way to maintain windows is to make sure they stay clean. But what are the best practices for cleaning your Andersen windows?
Here are some tips for an effective window cleaning process, as well as some things to be aware of and avoid.
1. Keep a window cleaning schedule.
If you have Andersen windows, you should clean them at least a few times a year. If you live in an industrial area or somewhere that has a lot of dust, you should clean your windows more regularly — as this practice will prevent particles from building up on the panes and damaging your windows.
Plan on cleaning your windows at least every three months. Mark this activity in your calendar, much the same way as you might keep track of when your vehicle needs an oil change.
2. Know the capabilities of your windows before you start cleaning them.
You probably already know that the windows in your home can open in a particular direction (for instance, single and double hung windows can slide vertically). But some windows have additional features that allow you to maximize the area you can clean at one time.
Andersen double hung windows have some of these special features. The sashes of these windows can swing inward — which can allow you to clean both sides of the glass without having to go outside. This is particularly beneficial for windows on the upper floors of your home, since you won’t have to risk your safety to clean the outside of these windows.
Andersen’s detailed brochure on its double-hung windows describes in fuller detail how to open these windows for cleaning.
3. Use the right window cleaning tools and materials.
Splashing some water on the glass and giving it a good once over with paper towels won’t do the trick. Why not? Well, particles such as dust and salt deposits can embed themselves against a window frame. More heavy-duty cleaning materials are needed to remove them.
Use a mild detergent with water to clean windows that don’t appear to be terribly dusty or dirty. When a more thorough cleaning job is necessary, use vinegar, soapy water or window cleaning solutions (many of which include ammonia).
Also make sure you’re using the appropriate tools, such as squeegees and window cleaning towels. This will help you clean your windows without leaving those obnoxious streaks.
4. Clean in a consistent direction.
Just like choosing the right window cleaning tools is important, using a consistent process to clean the windows makes a huge difference (and keeps those annoying streaks off of your windows).
Using a squeegee, make sure all debris is scraped off your windows before you put cleaning material on the glass. Once you put cleaning liquid on the window surface, apply it evenly.
Place your squeegee against the upper left corner of your window. Then, squeegee horizontally across the surface to the upper right corner. Move the squeegee back to the left edge (right below where you had initially placed it), and repeat this motion, right below where you had just cleaned. (If you’re a lefty, it might be easier to do move from right to left on the window.)
Keep repeating this action — moving down the window as you go — until the window cleaning solution has been completely removed. Use a window cleaning towel to wipe off any remaining water or solution thoroughly, without leaving any streaks.
5. Avoid sharp things.
When you clean your windows, you want to avoid damage or streaks. The best way to avoid these hazards is to stay away from “sharp things,” such as the piercing glare of direct sunlight and razor blades.
Avoid using razors or other blades when cleaning Andersen windows, since these tools can damage the glass. And try not to clean windows in direct sunlight; direct exposure to the sun will dry window cleaning liquids and water quickly, leading to streaks.
6. Safety first.
Always make sure that your safety is a bigger priority than a clean window. If you open up your windows in order to clean them, make sure your kids stay from the opening; a fall could be deadly.
Also, make sure to protect yourself from any window-related accidents. If you use a ladder to clean the outside of upper story windows, make sure you have a spotter to keep the ladder sturdy. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the outside of your upper story windows, hire professionals to do that instead.