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Window, Cleaning, Window Washer.

How to Clean and Maintain Your Windows

Several months after picking out your perfect windows and installing them in your home, chances are some dirt or grime accumulated. Whether the kids left fingerprints or the dog pressed his nose against the glass, even the tidiest homes’ windows become clouded and dirty over time. Because of this, it is recommended to do a thorough clean twice a year to keep the glass looking crystal clear.

Believe it or not, there are recommended methods and techniques for this biannual cleaning. Rubbing your windows with a paper towel and window cleaner will only spread the dirt around and attract more dust. At XO Windows, we want to make sure you have all the tools you need to keep your windows sparkling.

When Should I Clean My Windows?

The best time of the year to clean your windows is in the early spring and the late fall, when the days are not too hot. The intense Arizona summer heat will cause your cleaning solution to quickly evaporate before the process is complete, leaving unappealing streaks (source).

There are three simple steps to effective window-cleaning:

1. Prep

Make sure to clear the area around your windows and cover your floors and couches to protect them from the cleaning solution, as this will be a somewhat messy job.

To clean your windows, you will need:

  • A sponge
  • Squeegee
  • Rags
  • Water and dish-washing soap

The most effective window cleaning solution is easy to make: simply mix one gallon of warm water with one drop of dish-washing soap. If your windows are particularly dirty, adding a drop or two of vinegar will help cut through dirt and grime.

2. Wash

Using a hand-held sponge and the cleaning solution, wash the edges of the window and rinse to remove dirt that may have snuck into the cracks and corners. Once you clean the border, apply the wet sponge to the rest of the window, using a squeegee to clean off the solution. Wipe the blade clean after each long stroke with a linen napkin or any other lint-free rag.

 3. Dry

Clear any remaining water on the edges of the windowsill with a rag and use a dry cloth, newspaper or coffee filter to dry the window pane and remove streaks.

Cleaning the Window Tracks

Window track maintenance is important to ensure your windows continue to open and close easily over time. In some cases, a vacuum may be used to remove dirt from the tracks; however, a toothbrush can get into the small crevices for a thorough clean, resulting in easy-to-open windows.

Removing Stubborn Stains

Over time, water runoff and rain can leave mineral stains on your windows that are hard to remove. In order to clean those stubborn stains, gently clean the affected area with fine 000 steel wool after each cleaning.

Alternatively, you may use a powder cleaning product, such as Zud or Barkeepers Friend, which contains oxalic acid that is strong enough to remove stains without scratching the glass (source). Simply mix the powder into a paste and apply the mixture to the stains with a wet towel. Rinse the area before squeegeeing and repeat this process two or three times.

In order to ensure the mineral stain doesn’t return, apply a clear polymer coating such as 3-Star Barrier Glass Surface Protectant at the end of your cleaning routine.

Assess Older Windows During Your Deep-Clean

During your biannual cleaning, assess any older windows you have for cracks, mold or poor insulation. If it’s time for a replacement, contact XO Windows for professional care.

Windows with severe damage can drastically increase your energy bill and be a risk to your home’s safety. We offer the best window installation and supply in Arizona, so all you have to worry about is your spring and fall cleaning.

For a FREE estimate or for more information about our products and services, call us today at 602-396-4825—or contact us here.

Securing Windows for Arizona Monsoon Season

The sky grows darker as clouds begin to populate the sky, a subtle warning of the storm that’s soon to follow. Gradually, the wind picks up and humidity seems to increase, making the Phoenix valley feel almost tropical. The combination of moisture in the air and sweltering heat seems surreal for Arizona, where dry heat dominates the summer and humidity is almost unheard of. Time to close those windows!

If you’ve ever experienced a summer in the valley, you’re all too familiar with this scenario. Chances are, there’s a monsoon on the way! Monsoons in Arizona are usually accompanied by an enormous cloud of dust called a haboob, often spreading across the length of the entire valley and reaching heights taller than 5,000ft!

These dust storms aren’t just an inconvenience when you’re trying to drive home on the freeway with limited visibility, but they can also be a health concern to you and your family. They kick up a huge amount of dust and pollen which is sucked up into air conditioning vents and spread throughout your home. Those dust particles can carry harmful bacteria that can cause allergic reactions. Not only that, but Arizona monsoons tend to cover everything exposed to them in a thin layer of dust!

So what options do you have to minimize the damaging effects of these summer storms? One option is to ensure that your windows are up-to-date and properly sealed. Intense monsoon winds, dust, and heavy rain will test the durability of those replacement windows like nothing else. Follow these steps to properly secure your windows in preparation for the next big storm.

Replace or Repair Windows with Seal Failure

Before taking drastic measures like purchasing new replacement windows, do a quick walkthrough to identify energy inefficient windows around the house. Windows in need of replacement will be poor insulators as a result of frame deterioration or poor sealing. Typically, these windows are beyond repair and are a sign that you should start researching replacement windows.

While shopping for replacement windows, keep in mind that if  your home’s old enough to have single-pane windows, it’s probably a good idea to ditch them for some double- or triple-paned windows that will be more efficient insulators.

Contact your local window providers to see whether triple-paned windows will offer you any additional benefit over double-paned options in your area. If you’re a Phoenix resident, triple-pane windows might not be worth the extra cost, given the exceptionally warm climate. The benefits of triple-pane replacement windows are much more apparent in cold weather climates.

Replace Windows with Warped or Deteriorated Frames

Just because the window glass is intact doesn’t mean that those are energy efficient windows. Have you checked the frame? Improper sealing can cause serious structural damage to your window frames and the area of the house surrounding the affected area. If you have a warped or deteriorated frame on your hands, you can bet that moisture build-up is sure to follow.

By this time, it’s usually too late to repair the windows and they should probably be replaced, especially if they’re wooden frames. Once deterioration sets in, it’s basically impossible to reverse. The soft, warped wood will continue to collect moisture until the constant draft becomes so unbearable to residents that they’re forced to purchase replacement windows.

Clear Debris

Over time, leaves, dirt, dead insects and other debris builds up in the window tracks. After too much build-up, the windows become hard to close and require some cleaning. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the dust and debris.

While you’re at it, double check that the weep hole is clear. The weep hole is a small on the exterior side of the track that allows water to drip outdoors instead of inside. Not only will your windows function better and close properly, they look a lot nicer when they’re clean!

Seal Leaks with Caulking

During the inspection of your home’s windows, you may find that some of the existing caulking has eroded or cracked away. This is a pretty good sign that you’ve got a leaky window on your hands. If you also feel a draft coming from the same place, you can be certain that there’s a leak. Leaks are a small problem and aren’t usually cause for replacement windows.

Caulking is a sealant that’s available at most home improvement stores which is inexpensive and easy to apply. After clearing away debris and old, cracked caulking, you can go ahead and apply a fresh line to the unsealed area. Be sure not to apply new caulking over old caulking that has cracked. Remove it and apply a fresh layer of polyurethane caulking instead, since it’s better at preventing moisture than acrylic or latex caulking.

Conclusion

As a Phoenix valley resident, you should have a decent understanding of the extreme weather conditions that we regularly experience as well as a firm grasp on how to protect yourself and your property from those conditions. Replacement windows can significantly improve the interior comfort level of your home by keeping the bad weather out of your living space.

To learn why you need energy efficient windows in the Phoenix Summer, Click Here.