Few things let down the appearance of a house more than dirty windows. Whether you’re on the outside looking in, or the inside looking out, cloudy, dusty, grimy panes do nothing for a home’s good looks. Window cleaning is an essential part of housekeeping and there is a definite satisfaction that can be attained from keeping the job up to date.
Also, when moving into a brand new home, window cleaning may or may not have been done by the builder, but if it’s been left to you, the best way to handle it is to do it before you move in. That way, there’s no furniture in your way and it can be finished before you tackle the job of unpacking all those boxes and rearranging all your personal effects.
The Contractor’s Part
Hopefully your contractor will have taken care not to allow paint, cement, sealers or other construction materials to find their way onto your beautiful new panes. Unfortunately, however, it’s a fact of life that with so many tradespeople on the job, it is hard to supervise everyone and ensure that all care is taken.
If the window cleaning is your job, you’ll need to know what you’re up against before you start. Window glass is not as robust as you might think. It is porous and subject to penetration by the above substances, and also subject to scratching when exposed to the various materials that abound on building sites.
Heavy dust is a problem, as is sand from mortar and stucco, not to mention flying fragments of roof tiles and the like. If your windows are damaged by scratches, there is nothing you can do to repair them and you should take it up with your contractor to claim for the damage using his builder’s insurance.
The first step in window cleaning if you notice construction splatter on the glass is to gently remove the spots with a brand new flexible putty knife. It has to be new so that there are no burrs in the metal. Using a spray bottle, keep the surface moistened with some soapy water to help lubricate the putty knife as you scrape the spots off.
Dirt and dust
Depending on the kind of dirt you’re dealing with, water could be sufficient for window cleaning on a new house. If you are concerned that the dust could be abrasive, a hose down would be a good idea so that you are not actually rubbing the dirt and dust into the glass, and consequently causing scratches. Otherwise, use a cleaning solution of water and mild detergent applied either with a spray bottle or a new sponge from a bucket.
Check the ingredients of the detergent, or buy one specifically formulated for glass because some soaps can contain caustic acid which can cause etching that will dull the sparkle that you should expect from new windows. Use a new squeegee to remove the sudsy water from the glass and finish the edges with paper towel or a clean, soft cloth.
Cleaning window caulking off the glass
When the glaziers have installed the windows, sometimes there is some caulking that needs to be removed from around the edges. Cleaning window caulking is easy if you use a safety razor blade. Simply scrape from under the caulking towards the edge of the window and it will fall away fairly easily. In old buildings, it is far easier to replace window caulking rather than try to clean it.
Window cleaning can be a very arduous task, and dangerous if heights are involved. You may like to think about hiring a professional because generally the costs are not too high and they can do the parts of the house that are not easy for you to do. Since professionals are fully prepared with all the tools and equipment they need, it will also take far less time to have all the window cleaning done than if you were to undertake the job yourself.