HOUSE & HOME: Through the Window Glass

Through the Window Glass: Experts Answer the UK’s Top Window Cleaning Questions

The window cleaning world is absolutely booming. Growing by an average of 5.9% between 2018 and 2023, the industry is now worth more than £280m. That’s a lot of squeaky clean windows.

Alongside this, a growing number of people are searching Google for answers to window cleaning queries. The public are asking about everything from how to keep your windows streak-free to which frames you can safely clean, meaning that although the industry is healthy, many Brits are looking to save some pennies by doing it themselves – saving £10-£25 per month.

Whatever the question, we’ve got the answers. We collected Google search data to find the top five searched questions on window cleaning and sent it to The Heritage Window Company for their expert insight.

How to clean windows

Unsurprisingly, the most-searched question about window cleaning is about, well, how to clean windows. There are plenty of methods on how to best clean your windows, many of which follow similar techniques but with varying tools and cleaning solutions in line with differing preferences and considerations for glazing and frame material.

If you want to clean your windows yourself and have no set date to clean them by, wait for a cloudy day. That may sound odd, but sunnier weather dries out windows as they are being cleaned, leaving streaks.

If the weather is nicely overcast, prep your windows by removing any curtains, blinds or shutters. Next, get your basic tools ready. You’ll want a sponge, bucket and squeegee for streak-free windows. You will also need your cleaning solution. This is a matter of preference, but when asked, the experts at The Heritage Window Company recommended a simple soap or white vinegar and water solution. For white vinegar, use three tablespoons in a small bucket of water. If you use soap, just be careful not to add too much to the water – lots of suds leave streaks.

Now it’s time to roll your sleeves up and start cleaning. Dunk your sponge in your cleaning solution bucket and wring off the excess water, then start wiping the window from top to bottom, removing any build-up of grime as you go. After your windows are nicely lathered, grab your squeegee and wipe away the soap. To do this efficiently, wipe in an S-shape –starting in the top right corner and moving from side to side.

Apply light pressure while using this technique and be careful not to break the pattern by lifting the squeegee up before you finish the window – this will stop the window from having smudged break marks.

Repeat this process two or three times and your windows should be spotless!

Kevin Brown, Managing Director at The Heritage Window Company, had this to say when it comes to the importance of cleaning windows:

“Windows fill our homes with natural light, letting more of the outside in and enriching our homes with all the benefits of organic lighting. These benefits are instantly lost when we let our windows become dirty and unloved, as built-up grime ultimately blocks light intake.

“If your windows are in dire need of cleaning and you pick up the squeegee yourself, just be careful to make sure your cleaning solution is suitable for your window frame. If your windows have matte paint coating, avoid vinegar-based solution and just use a liquid soap solution instead,” Kevin explains. “Vinegar solutions can make matte paint susceptible to staining, especially when it comes to uPVC windows.

“For curved or unusually shaped windows, make sure you use the fanning method. Moving the squeegee back and forth in one continuous method will help keep the window streak-free, even if the window is shaped in such a way that the traditional S shape isn’t possible.”

How to clean uPVC window frames

uPVC is the most common and budget-friendly window frame material in the UK, so it’s no surprise that Brits are brushing up on their uPVC knowledge.

“uPVC windows are usually kept white, which means stains, grime and dirt become quite noticeable quite quickly,” says Kevin. “As with anything white, harsh solutions will stain easily. Err on the side of caution and use a simple liquid soap and water solution to clean the frames, wiping down with a microfibre cloth afterwards. Remember to also clean the inside hinges while you’re at it. Just open the window as wide as you can and gently wipe down the insides.”

Kevin went on to explain how this differs from other frame materials:

“Aluminium windows come in a range of colours and are more durable than uPVC, requiring less maintenance. That being said, if you want to spruce them up, you can follow the same steps as mentioned earlier, but using mild household detergent suitable for metal surfaces. If it’s timber you want to clean, go back to the basic water and liquid soap method – adding a diluted bleach solution if you have painted your timber frames white. As always with bleach, make sure you wear gloves to save your skin any irritation.”

How to clean windows with vinegar

Whether you’re concerned about the environment and want to use fewer man-made chemicals or just want to clean with what you’re likely to have in your cupboards, vinegar is a great organic cleaning solution.

Kevin had this to say about using a vinegar solution for cleaning windows:

“There’s no need to overthink using vinegar solution, a basic 1:1 solution of equal parts distilled water and white vinegar should do the trick,” he says. “If your windows are smaller, pour it in a spray bottle for better accuracy on the dirty areas. If they are large windows, put the solution in a bucket. Just be careful not to put too much vinegar in and try not to get it on your frames, risking a stain.

“Too much white vinegar is notable too – it definitely has a smell to it. That’s in part why soapy water is chosen by most cleaning the inside of their windows. The odour goes away quickly once dry, but this is less bothersome if you are cleaning the external windows to begin with.”

How to clean windows without streaks

Sunny days, hard water, excessive cleaning solution and poor equipment are the main causes of window streaks. This is why it’s best to choose a cloudy day, a proper squeegee, use soap sparingly and distilled water within the solution.

“Following the technique mentioned earlier, getting streak-free windows becomes natural with a bit of practice – the skill comes in lathering your window lightly. Most would assume the soapier the window, the cleaner the finish. This may be true when it comes to blasting away grime, but it will leave your windows very streaky,” says Kevin.

“Use a light base of solution, get the worst of the muck off, then use good old-fashioned elbow grease to clean down the windows while wiping with your squeegee.”

How to clean windows you can’t reach

There’s no need to complicate this one. For hard-to-reach windows it’s always safest to use an extender, elaborates Kevin:

“Professional window cleaners will often use a ladder to get up to windows above the ground floor. Unless you’re already a confident user of ladders and have someone to hold the ladder steady for you, it is much safer and easier to get yourself an extension poll for your tools,” Kevin continues. “Squeegee extension polls are easily available from most retailers and hoses can also be used for a quick rinse, just make sure you don’t use excessive water pressure.”

Will you be giving your windows a thorough clean this spring? If so, be sure to follow these tips for streak-free windows every time.

Article thanks to The Heritage Window Company

About The Heritage Window Company

The Heritage Window Company is a leading manufacturer of traditional-style replacement double windows. Dedicated to providing high-quality, bespoke products, The Heritage Window Company team has over 30 years of experience within the aluminium windows industry. The team can help restore properties to their former glory and add modern beauty to new builds.

Photo by Jess Zoerb on Unsplash

Author: minervadigi