By: Nationally Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Tim Carter, www.askthebuilder.com
Accckkkk! Many people put off cleaning windows or struggle through it because they make the same mistakes I have made for 47 years. I had it all wrong! Do you want crystal clear windows – just like you see at businesses and commercial buildings? Here is how to achieve it!
Use the Right Tools – You must use the professional squeegees, soap and applicators I have already spoken of. If you don’t, your windows will look like they do now!
A Clean Scrubber – Always start the job with a clean scrubber or lambs wool applicator, sponge and/or porcupine cleaner. A dirty applicator can leave dirt behind. Rinse the scrubber frequently if you are cleaning many windows, especially dirty windows.
Watch the Sun – NEVER wash windows in direct sunlight. The sun can superheat the glass and cause all sorts of streaking problems.
Holding the Squeegee – Hold the squeegee at an angle so the water runs down the glass. In other words, mimic the motion or setting of a snow plow. The blade on a plow aims towards where the snow ends up. If a plow simply aims straight ahead, snow flows out of the plow at both ends. You don’t want water flowing from both ends of the squeegee.
Wipe the Blade – After each squeegee stroke, you must wipe the rubber blade with your lint free cloth. Placing a wet squeegee on the glass will leave a blade mark. You will get good at quickly wiping the blade.
Don’t Cut it Close – Overlap squeegee strokes by about one and one half inches. Remember to angle the squeegee so water flows towards the wet window surface, NOT the area that is clean and dry.
Lots of Water – When first washing the window with the scrubber, use a liberal amount of cleaning water. You want the dirt to come off the window with this solution. Use a decent amount on interior glass surfaces, but not so much as to cause a flood or standing water on woodwork.
Go Sideways – Horizontal squeegee strokes are recommended when at all possible. If you are right handed, the left side of the window pane will have triangles of water left behind with each stroke. You will wipe these at the end with a final vertical stroke going from the top of the pane to the bottom of the pane.
Wipe the Edges – There will always be water marks or spots at the edge of the window pane. After all squeegee action is complete, wipe the entire window edge with the lint free cloth.
Practice First – Practice with the squeegee when you first get it. It may be hard to control. Professionals often use an 18 inch model. You might want to start with a 12 inch squeegee and work your way up to a larger model once you develop good hand/eye coordination.
Summary: Window cleaning like a pro requires proper window cleaning supplies and technique. Getting the dirt off and your windows crystal clear depends on professional squeegees, soap and water, and the right applicators.