The holidays are just around the corner and holiday decorating has commenced. While some keep their fall decorations up through Thanksgiving, others head straight on to Christmas. In fact, 43% of people decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving hits.
No matter when you decide to decorate for the holidays, you want to make sure both passersby and guests alike can gaze in awe at your hard work and beautiful decorations. In order to do that, you need to make sure your home windows are squeaky clean.
If this is your first year going all-out for holiday decorating and hosting, you may not know how to clean windows, especially those with tough stains. The good news is we’ve put together the perfect guide to teach you so you’re prepared before the holidays. Check it out below!
Cleaning Water Spots
One of the most common window stains you might spot is water stains. You might think this stain is universal everywhere, but it isn’t. Depending on your location, your water may have higher contents of minerals (magnesium and calcium) than others.
Areas with a higher water content will have what’s known as hard water. Hard water stains leave behind lime scales, or calcium deposits, which after a while, will leave buildups on windows and a thick whitish glaze.
If you catch these stains early on, they’re easy to take care of. After a while, though, the sun will bake them onto your window, leaving you with a tougher time of removing them and getting your window clean. Tough, but not impossible.
Soak a towel in a half vinegar, half water mixture. Once soaked through, press the towel onto the calcium deposit stains on the window. Hold it there for a minute or two — this will soften the deposits and make it easier to wipe clean.
Using the same towel, press on the stains and wipe until the spots are gone. This may take more than one pass-through, especially if there are multiple spots on the glass.
Finish up by drying the window with a rag. To make your window shine, use a window spray.
Removing Paint from Windows
Paint may seem like an odd stain to find on a window, but not if you’ve recently painted the room or have young children who love to finger paint. You’ll only need a few supplies to remove paint from your windows:
- A bucket
- Hot water
- Dish soap
- A sponge or clean cloth
- A new safety razor blade (or a mini paint scraper, professional grade window scraper, or fine-grade steel wool)
- Glass cleaner
Before you start, if you want to protect a fresh paint job on your windowsill, make sure to lay down a plastic tarp.
Begin by mixing the hot water with the dish soap. Take your sponge and wet the window with the soap mixture.
Next, place your razor blade on the window by the edge of the paint at a 45-degree angle from the pane. It should be closer to flat than vertical. By holding it at this angle you’ll avoid scratching the window and breaking the razor.
Start scraping the paint off the window by using slow, smooth motions. You’ll notice the paint come off in a single sheet. If it doesn’t, the paint isn’t wet enough so reapply the soapy water with the sponge and try again. After you remove each paint strip, clean off the razor blade and begin again.
Make sure you’re continually scraping in only one direction and to lift the blade from the window after each stroke. If you hear a gritty or coarse sound as you move the blade across the glass, it may be broken or dull. You’ll want to switch to a new razor.
Once all the paint is removed from the window, it’s time to clean. Using the glass cleaner, spray your window. Clean and dry the windows using a clean, dry cloth.
If That Doesn’t Work…
If the soap and warm water mixture aren’t doing the trick, there’s another method you can try. Chemical solvents work to remove paint splatters, drips, and paint stuck on textured glass. Depending on the type of paint on your window will determine the chemical solvent you should use.
If you find acrylic paint on your windows, rubbing alcohol will work best. Enamel paint, on the other hand, will need an acetone-based solvent such as nail polish remover. If you aren’t sure what type of paint is stuck on your window, any paint thinners or specialized paint strippers should do the trick.
To remove the paint using one of the chemical solvents listed above, wet a clean cloth with the liquid and gently rub it on the paint spots until it comes clean.
Avoid Streaky Windows
While you may not find hard-to-clean stains on your windows, you might find streaks from the last time you cleaned them. These are just as stubborn and noticeable as lime scales or paint drips.
Streaks happen when you clean your windows in direct sunlight. The sun dries the windows too quickly, leaving streak marks for all to see.
To avoid them, don’t clean your windows in direct sunlight or on a sunny day. Opt for cloudy days or even in the evening.
To Remove Streaks
To remove window streaks, use a squeegee with a soft rubber edge. Starting with a dry 1-inch strip, begin at the top, and work your way down. Make sure the windows are dry to start with to avoid creating more streaks.
Fun tip: You can also use crumpled-up newspaper as long as it’s the black-and-white section. Try to avoid the color sections at all costs!
How to Clean Windows: 101
Whether you have nosey pets creating stains on your windows or streaks from your previous clean, these tips on how to clean windows should get you through your holiday and make your house shine along with your Christmas decorations.
For more tips on all things windows, renovations, and financing, make sure to check out our blog!