Tips

Window cleaning: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Here comes the sun! With spring in full bloom, it’s time to get your home ready for warmer weather with our easy window cleaning tips.
Woman demonstrates window cleaning
Winter weather may be gone, but its dust, dirt and road salt is probably still lingering on your windows. Clear away the last of winter’s grime with these easy cleaning steps that’ll keep your windows looking great and operating properly over time.

1. Clean your windows

Effective window washing isn’t complicated. You can clean both the inside and outside of your windows by following our easy directions.

Gather your materials:

  • Either a cleaning solution of mild soap (like dish soap) and water or a spray bottle of liquid glass cleaner (ammonia-and-water based) will do the trick.
  • Lots of clean, soft cloths — microfiber cleaning cloths work perfectly. A soft sponge with no abrasive coating can also be used for cleaning, but you’ll still need soft cloths for wiping away dirt before washing and for drying.
  • A squeegee can be useful for wiping away the water. It will also help you avoid using too many cloths.
  • If you aren’t using a store-bought spray glass cleaner, you’ll need a bucket for your soap-and-water solution.
  • A small brush or whisk broom is helpful for sweeping away the debris that often collects at the bottom of your window, in between the glass and the screen.

How to clean windows:

  1.  Wipe away loose dirt, dust and grime on and around your window using a soft, clean cloth. Open the window and sweep away any debris that might have collected on the sill outside the glass.
  2. Starting at the top of the window’s glass and working down, spray or wipe glass with your cleaning solution using a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Rub in a circular motion using light to moderate pressure. It might require a few passes, depending on how stubborn the grime.
  3. If using a mild soap-and-water solution, rinse it away with a generous amount of water. Then, dry with a lint-free cloth or squeegee. Move your squeegee in a “z-shaped” motion for maximum efficiency and remember to put a cloth underneath the window to catch water.

Did you know? Tilt-wash double-hung windows tilt inward making it easy to clean the outside of your windows while inside your home. This style of window is especially handy on a second floor, because you don’t need to climb a ladder to clean the windows. Find them available in the 200 Series, 400 Series, A-Series and E-Series.

2. Wash and repair insect screens

For the clearest views and bug-free breezes, now is the time to give your insect screens some attention.

How to clean and maintain your insect screens:

  1. Inspect your insect screens for any torn or damaged mesh, this will help keep bugs and rodents out of your home. If it’s time to replace, consider upgrading to a TruScene® insect screen, which lets in 25% more light than our conventional aluminum insect screens.
  2. To clean insect screens, remove them from the window. Wash with a soft bristle brush and mild soapy water. Rinse with fresh water and allow them to dry.
  3. Reinstall your screens and forget about this task until fall when we recommend removing screens for the winter to protect them from ice and other damage. Doing this can help extend the life of your screens. Get all our tips for winterizing your windows.

Don't forget about your patio door insect screens. These should be checked once a year for operation and condition. If you've stored your insect screens for winter, it’s time to reinstall them. We’ll show you how in the video below.


Window cleaning mistakes to avoid

  • To avoid streaks, don’t wash your windows in direct sunlight. The sun will cause your cleaning solution to dry more quickly than you can wipe it away.
  • Avoid using razor blades and abrasive cleaners or solvents as these can scratch or damage window glass.
  • Don’t use newspaper to dry windows as the ink can bleed and discolor the surrounding frame material.
  • Washing windows and doors with pressurized tools may cause damage and is not recommended.

Did you know? For extra stubborn spots, either toothpaste or mineral spirits can help. Get the details on cleaning with these products in our help center. Note: Neither toothpaste nor mineral spirits should be used on windows with special glass coatings that are more sensitive to abrasives, like HeatLock® coating. It’s easy to find out if your window has a special glass coating, find instructions here.

3. Cleaning other parts of the window

Wondering about how to clean the other parts of your window? Here are some answers to some window washing questions you might have:

  • How do I clean my interior window frames? 100 Series windows are made of Fibrex® composite material, which can be washed with a solution of mild soap and water and then dried with a clean, soft cloth. Tackle the frames at the same time you clean the glass for a one-and-done approach. Note: It’s not recommended to use alcohol-based glass cleaner on Fibrex® composite material window frames, find more details here. Wood-framed windows can be dusted with a microfiber cloth, in much the same way you dust your woodwork.
  • How do I clean my exterior window frames? The exterior of our windows are made of weather-resistant material that can be cleaned with a solution of mild soap and water. Clean them the same way you would the glass: dust off dirt or grime with a dry cloth, wash with a mild soap-and-water solution, and finally, rinse off the soap and water and dry or squeegee.
  • How do I clean my window hardware? Most hardware can be cleaned by using a soft cloth with a mild soap-and-water solution. Note: Chrome and bronze (both oil-rubbed and distressed) hardware finishes require different cleaning approaches — find the details in our help center.
  • How do I clean my window grilles? Grilles can be cleaned with a brush and a solution of mild soap and water at the same time you clean window glass. If you have interior-only grilles, they may be removable for easy cleaning. To find out, gently try to lift them away from the glass. Removable grilles can be laid on a clean, flat surface for easy cleaning. Be sure to let them dry before reinstalling.
  • What else needs maintaining? For smooth operation, window and door hardware or other moving components can be lubricated. Dry lubricant spray is recommended and available through our parts store. You can find instructions on using it here.

Once your windows are clean, throw open the sash and enjoy the sweet spring breeze.

Get healthy home tips