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How to Clean Windows: 5 Tips for glass and window frames

10 April 2024

Cleaning windows is one of the most tiring and unpleasant chores around the house, but you can make this process easier if you choose aluminium windows, which are extremely functional and easy to clean. In this article we offer some practical tips for cleaning windows in an easy and practical way.

Beyond the normal need for domestic hygiene, cleaning windows means keeping them well-transparent at all times. This allows natural light to enter the rooms more easily, with positive consequences on psychophysical well-being and energy savings.

However, there is more to a window than just the glass: proper cleaning and maintenance of the frame helps maximise its effectiveness and durability. Opting for aluminium frames helps a lot, as aluminium is an extremely easy material to clean and does not require special maintenance.

How to clean window panes

Window panes are easily soiled: on the inside by dust and fingerprints, on the outside by weathering and smog. Window cleaning must therefore be carried out frequently; therefore, one must learn to do it well so that this activity is not stressful, tiring and also ineffective.

There are some small and simple but very useful tricks that can be implemented to make window cleaning easier and more effective.

The right time to clean window panes

Before anything else, it is essential to choose the most suitable time to dedicate to window cleaning.

In particular, you should never clean glass on which direct sunlight shines. This is because the sun would dry out the detergent used for cleaning too quickly, creating streaks that would be very difficult to remove. It is better, therefore, to choose a time when there is no direct sunlight on the window: early in the morning or towards evening, on a cloudy day or, in any case, at different times of the day depending on the orientation of the window.

Three steps for impeccably clean glass

Cleaning window panes is much easier than you think if you use the right products and accessories. The three recommended steps are:

  • Wipe the glass surface with a soft, dry anti-static cloth to easily remove the first layer of dust;
  • Spray the entire surface with a special glass cleaner. Instead of wiping with a cloth (which easily leaves residue), use old newspaper sheets;
  • When the glass is thoroughly dry, remove any haloes with a cotton cloth or chamois leather, which will make the glass surfaces shiny and sparkling.

Home solutions for glass cleaning

If you do not have specific cleaners for glass, or if you want to use natural products, the old remedies always come to the rescue. A widely used cleaning agent is ammonia, which is diluted in lukewarm water and then wiped on the glass from top to bottom with a special cloth, then dried with newspaper sheets.

One of the most commonly used natural cleaners for cleaning glass is a solution of water and vinegar (one part vinegar to five parts water). Two drops of an essential oil scented to your liking can also be added to the solution. Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner: it prevents the formation of streaks, makes the glass shiny and does not need rinsing. For an even better result, it would be important to use distilled water or water with a very low limescale content.

The most useful tools for cleaning window panes

Especially if you are about to wash large glass surfaces, such as those made of aluminium frames, a squeegee can be a good idea. This tool, in fact, is not as precise as when washing by hand, but it can help speed up operations and still achieve excellent results. There are also extendable squeegees on the market, which help to reach high and awkward corners.

How to clean windows: window frames

While window panes should always be kept clean as a matter of aesthetics and room brightness, a certain amount of attention should also be paid to window frames. Keeping window frames clean helps not only to increase living comfort, but also to prevent possible problems with the thermal insulation and soundproofing of the house. Furthermore, the cleaner and better maintained the windows are, the longer they will last.

As with glass, it is also good to clean windows when the sun’s rays are not shining directly on them and, in general, during the hottest hours of the day. The rapid drying of water and cleaning agents could, even in this case, lead to the formation of unsightly marks that are difficult to remove.

As a first step, it is also useful to wipe all the profiles with a dry cloth in order to remove an initial layer of dust and facilitate subsequent cleaning. In addition to or as an alternative to the cloth, you can also use a hoover with a fine nozzle, which can reach all corners and also vacuum the inside of the seals well. For hard-to-reach places, an old toothbrush or a paintbrush are also perfect for removing dust.

How to clean aluminium windows

Of all the materials from which window frames are generally made, aluminium is certainly the one that guarantees the easiest and quickest cleaning. It is a very resistant material that does not retain dirt or dust. Moreover, the strength of this material allows aluminium windows to last much longer than their wooden or PVC counterparts.

Among the many advantages of aluminium, we therefore also find extreme ease of cleaning. All you need is a soft cloth to be soaked in lukewarm water, wrung out well and wiped over all surfaces from top to bottom. If the dirt is particularly stubborn, you can also wipe with a mild detergent. Once this quick operation has been completed, the window frames should be wiped with a dry cloth to prevent the formation of halos.

The most important thing is to avoid using abrasive sponges or other particularly aggressive products, such as acids, solvents, thinners and acetone. Acid-, alkaline- or alcohol-based products are corrosive and risk ruining aluminium, especially if it is anodised or painted.

In case of doubt, it is always good:

  • read product labels to understand their composition;
  • opt for natural products, which are also friendlier to the environment (some examples are Marseille soap, vinegar or bicarbonate, to be dissolved in all cases in plenty of hot water);
  • rely on your trusted window and door fitter, such as METRA Building, who will be able to advise you on the best products to clean aluminium frames easily and safely.

How to clean PVC windows

PVC is also a material that can be cleaned quite easily. A damp cloth and a detergent are sufficient to remove surface dirt. There are numerous chemical cleaners on the market, in the form of creams or sprays, specifically for cleaning PVC. Those who do not wish to use chemicals can still rely on the usual natural remedies such as vinegar or dish soap. As in the case of aluminium, PVC also does not tolerate well the use of abrasive materials or very aggressive cleaning products, which would cause micropores to form on the frame.

In contrast to aluminium, which resists steam very well, for PVC it is best not to use any cleaning tools that make use of hot steam to dissolve stubborn stains and impurities.

Finally, we must consider the customisation of the frame in the two different materials analysed so far. Aluminium can be customised in a very wide range of colours and finishes3 according to painting and oxidation processes that, as we have seen, resist very well any product or treatment that is not excessively abrasive or aggressive. PVC colours and finishes, on the other hand, are obtained through the application of thin films that may peel off or yellow over time. In such cases, PVC windows and doors should be cleaned very gently on a regular basis to avoid permanent damage.

How to clean wooden windows

Much of what has been said about aluminium and PVC can also be said about wood. The main thing that the cleaning of these materials has in common is to absolutely avoid the use of abrasive or aggressive products, based on alcohol and solvents, which could damage the frames irreparably.

The difference with wood lies in its natural characteristic, which makes it a more delicate and sensitive material than PVC and, above all, aluminium. Today, the wood used to make window frames is treated with very resistant paints and finishes; but wooden frames are still the most in need of care, both ordinary and extra-ordinary.

When cleaning wood, therefore, neutral detergents will not suffice, but specific products will be needed to clean this delicate material. At the end of normal cleaning operations, it will also be necessary to evenly distribute other specific products, such as waxes and oils, which are useful for revitalising the wood and keeping it shiny and healthy over time.

Choosing aluminium frames for maximum convenience

When it comes to choosing windows and doors for one’s home, there are many elements that must be taken into consideration. The most effective choice is one that considers not only the immediate pros and cons, but also those that will be felt in the long run, in terms of both economics and practicality and living comfort.

From this point of view, aluminium is always the best option. It is a material with a high mechanical resistance, able to cope effectively with any disturbance: atmospheric agents, strong sunlight, the action of saltiness, burglary attempts, wear and tear over time. In addition, its high resistance allows aluminium to be used to make frames of even large dimensions, without ever losing strength and security. Aluminium frames therefore become the best choice to meet any type of need, guaranteeing a truly remarkable durability over time, especially when compared to PVC or wood.

Not only that: aluminium is an environmentally friendly material and infinitely recyclable; it provides excellent sound insulation and equally impeccable thermal insulation, thanks to the use of thermal break. As if that were not enough, it does not need any extraordinary maintenance over time and requires very simple and quick routine cleaning.

This last element therefore makes it possible to live in a home that is not only beautiful and comfortable, but also extremely practical and functional4 .