How to Clean and Maintain Residential Windows

Windows are a focal point for exterior design, energy efficiency, and even resale value.  That said, you want them to always look and perform their best.  One of the best ways to save dollars down the line is to properly clean and maintain your windows.  Ultimately, proper window maintenance can lengthen material lifespan, improve energy efficiency, and even highlight exterior and interior design.  Here’s how we recommend cleaning and maintaining your windows.


How to Clean Residential Windows

All in all, different materials require different cleaning, so it’s important to customize your cleaning process to match the type of window you have. The four main window types are Vinyl, Fiberglass, Aluminum and Wood.  While the cleaning process is similar for each, there are important differences to note.   Here’s how we recommend cleaning each window type.

How to Clean Vinyl Windows

We recommend cleaning your vinyl windows 2-3 times per year.  Vinyl windows are the easiest windows to maintain, and the best way to clean them is to take a soft cloth and rub the frame down with dish soap and water.  Clean the window in a circular motion, wiping away all the residual dirt and grime. Other options, such as bleach or Lysol, can also be mixed with water and used alongside a damp cloth to remove tough stains.  Be sure to avoid abrasive cleaners when cleaning your vinyl windows, as these can damage the window and material, ultimately causing more problems than they solve.

How to Clean Fiberglass Windows

The first thing you’ll need to clean your fiberglass windows is a soft cloth or rag.  Warm water mixed with soap can be used to soak the rag, while any typical window cleaning spray from a local store can be used to polish away any dark spots.  Next, be sure to clean the track and frame with a mixture of hot water and soap.  Dry any water away once you’re finished using a soft microfiber towel to avoid scratching the material.

How to Clean Aluminum Windows

When cleaning your aluminum windows, a few different solutions, such as vinegar and aluminum cleaner, can be utilized.  A scrub brush is most effective at removing built up debris and dirt from the exterior. After using the scrub brush, dip a new brush or rag into a mixture of water and either vinegar or commercial cleaner.  Scrub at any dirt spots until white oxidation appears- a sign that the solution is working.  Continue scrubbing all of the oxidation away using a brush or light garden hose and dry your clean window.

How to Clean Wood Windows

To begin cleaning your wood windows, make sure to wipe dirt from the exterior frame and sills using a dry brush or clean cloth.  Then fill a bucket with warm water and soap, and dip a clean rag into it.  Wring the rag dry to remove any extra water, and wipe the window and frame down.  Make sure to avoid over-exposing your wooden windows to water, as this can contribute to dry rot down the line.  Continually drying the frame as you go is one way to get this done, but ensuring that your rag is not too wet should suffice. Finally, use a small brush, or even toothbrush, to remove any remaining dirt.

Residential Window Maintenance

Once your windows are nice and clean, it's important to keep it that way.  Properly maintaining windows can ultimately help lower energy bills, and even prevent future damages and repairs.  There are a few general window maintenance principles that every homeowner should follow.  Be sure to:

  • Clean your windows 2-3 times per year
  • Check for cracks, dents, scratches and marks after a large storm
  • Replace any damaged parts as they arise
  • Check sealing and re-seal when necessary

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Signs it’s Time to Replace your Windows

Even if you’re continually maintaining your windows, there are some warning signs to keep an eye out for.  Ultimately any or all of these signs could indicate it's time to have a professional window installation team come take a look.

  • Older than 20 Years
    • If your windows are older than 20, chances are there may be some insulation, color, or energy efficiency issues as well.
  • Draft Around the Window
    • Drafts around the edges or frame of your window could ultimately indicate outside air is getting in.  This can increase energy bills, and even indicate poor insulation or installation
  • Water Between Window Panes
    • If you notice water accumulation between window panes, this is an indication of a bad glass seal.
  • Faulty Operation
    • If your windows don't open, close or lock like they used to, this could lead to security or infrastructural liabilities.

Product SpotlightCleaning Double Hung-png

All of SoftLite’s vinyl double hung windows are durable, easy to maintain, and simple to clean. Double hung windows the perfect replacement for single hung windows, as our double hung windows feature tilt-in sashes that make them easy to clean from the inside your home.  In comparison, single hung windows require cleaning to only be done from the exterior of a home, which can be difficult and cause insufficient cleaning.  Besides being easier to clean and maintain, SoftLite vinyl double hung windows are versatile, durable and energy efficient, and may even come with a tax deduction.

Invest in Window Replacement

Is it time to have a professional team inspect or replace your windows?  New windows can ultimately give you improved energy efficiency, upgraded exterior design, greater protection against the elements, and a solid return on investment. SoftLite Windows and Doors has been providing quality, industry-leading products for decades.  Contact us today for a free quote, or locate a dealer near you.

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