Window Cleaning And Antique Windows: How The Pros Do It

Earlier this week we had a customer contact us about a tricky window cleaning job on an older house. She had a mixture of older windows with small panes and delicate frames, basement windows that open from the inside and would flood if they got wet, high up indoor sky lights that the customer couldn’t reach herself, as well as high up modern windows. This article is a primer on how professional window cleaners deal with these kinds of tricky situations.

Antique Windows. Window Cleaning of Antique Windows.
Antique Windows. These Ones Are Waterproof But Still Delicate.

Remove Screens

When we get all our gear out of the truck and the deionizer setup, we begin by removing screens. To do this from the outside can be a delicate procedure. First you have to locate the pull tabs, if they are facing out just pull them up and out, if they are facing inwards you will have to gently press against the metal edge of the scree opposite the pull tabs (this will be where the springs holding them in place are) before wedging a putty scraper between the screen and window frame. If you don’t have putty scrapers, old credit cards or a bus pass will do. When you have slid in two scrapers, one on each side of the window, gently pull them out and the screen should pop out too. Then we start washing.

Sean Removing a Screen With Putty Scrapers

Start Up High+

We start with the highest up windows and skylights. This way any dirty water that trickles down from our cleaning won’t get on already cleaned windows. Usually for high up windows we use a tucker pole to reach up to 30ft, but in this case because we were trying to reach windows on a third story where the house extended past the windows on the lower stories, necessitating the use of a ladder. When we get up there, we first use the brush the window to loosen dirt, grimes before rinsing the window off with deionized water. Because our deionizer removes mineral impurities from water, the water will actually attract dirt off of the windows, and will dry streak free.

Use a Squeegee When You Need To

Because on this job we were dealing with indoor windows, and leaky older windows, we had to find a way to do the job without using much water. One thing you can try is to cleaning the windows with a sponge dampened with a mixture of ten parts warm distilled water (a Brita Water Filter will work for this) with one part white cleaning vinegar , or better yet try what we use: Unger EasyGlide Glass Cleaner before using a squeegee (not paper towel) to wipe them dry.

Squeegees are a bit tough to use correctly, but with practice they leave windows looking great. Buffing off the finished window with a lint free towel can help leave a great finish and get rid of lines left by a squeegee. In my experience, it’s worth the money to buy a good squeegee because you’ll really notice the difference. You can use a squeegee on exterior windows too, but its very time intensive and difficult if you have high up windows. Never over-extend yourself while on a ladder, and never go up without someone holding the base of the ladder. If you are at all unsure about whether or not you can do it, hire a professional.

Removing Old Stickers

There were several windows that had old security system sticker on them that had dried and cracked in the sun and wouldn’t come off easily. In this case, using a sharp scraper (or razor blade) to gently work underneath the sticker and generous amounts of Goo Gone was sufficient to getting the stickers completely off. Finally, hose off the screens and put them back on.

There you have it. Properly cleaning windows is no small task but the result can be great. Contact us if you have any questions.

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