Tip #1- Just say “No” to abrasive nylon pads
Abrasive nylon scrub pads… like the ones found in the back of many household dishwashing sponges, will scratch window glass. The fact is, window glass is much softer than glass manufactured for beverage containers.
Specialised nylon, fine grade steel wool, and glass scrapers are the professional window cleaner’s choice to safely remove stickers, decals and other hard to remove debris from window glass.
So, if you’re thinking about using that sponge to clean your window…
Just say “No” to abrasive nylon pads.
Tip #2 – Do not use razor blades on dry glass
A common and costly mistake I see is window glass scratched from
improper razor blade use. To remove
decals, tape and paint…
glass MUST be lubricated BEFORE using a razor.
Typically, most professional window cleaners use soap and water to
lubricate glass which helps minimize the occurrence of scratches. It’s also important to note that razor blades
cannot be used on “Treated Glass Surfaces” such as tinted or mirrored window
glass. Special care must also be taken
when working on “Tempered Glass’ which is strengthened and commonly used in
doors and other high-impact areas.
Here are a few more tips to consider:
- Only use a professional grade glass scraper
- Start each project with a new blade
- Replace blade when marred or dull from use
- Test razor in an inconspicuous place on glass, before scraping the entire surface
#3 – Painting?… Cover Windows in Plastic
Continuing the subject of razor blade procedures… The best answer is always PREVENTION! You can easily prevent the need to remove paint from windows by covering, or having your painting contractor, cover your interior and exterior glass in plastic.
Paints and stains are corrosive to glass… And, if left long enough on window glass, can cause permanent staining.
Also, ‘Hard Water Stains’ can occur immediately after your building’s exterior is painted or stained. Hard water stains are caused by rain water running over a prefabricated surface, leaching hard minerals and acids from that surface and depositing them on windows below. In the case of new paint…
Damaging stains can occur immediately after the first rainfall.
The need for a complete exterior window cleaning is a must to prevent glass degradation. The use of proper window cleaning techniques will neutralize the P.H. of the glass and effectively stop the corrosive property of hard water stains caused by new paint.
#4 – The Importance of Routine Window Cleaning
As mentioned above, window glass can become permanently stained from hard water deposits caused by rain water and new paint.
But did you know that all these factors can cause permanent damage to glass:
- Acid Rain
- Salt water spray
- Airborne pollutants
- Over spray
- Calcium salts
Window glass is porous and if you understand that its surface is filled with ‘peaks and valleys’ then it’s easy to recognize these valleys easily capture and trap airborne debris that will diminish glass integrity.
To protect your glass investment I recommend no less that 2 window cleanings per year.
Clean glass also helps the ‘R-Value’ of thermal paned windows. The R-Value is a measure of resistance to heat gain or loss. Regardless of your glass type, a clean window allows the glass to better regulate the effects of exterior weather…
…Which can produce greater efficiency and REDUCE your monthly heating and cooling costs!
#5- Rearrange Sprinkler Systems
Rearrange your sprinkler systems so ‘tap water’ does not wet windows. Tap water contains calcium and other hard minerals and will, over time, etch exterior window glass.
Although this might make a beautiful counter top finish for your kitchen, it will surely steal the natural beauty of your favourite viewing window!
Can this glass be restored to its original shine?
99.9% of the time the answer is “YES!”
Calcium salts from tap water can be removed through the proper use of restoration chemicals, applicators and techniques. Although, very occasionally, I’ve found these techniques and chemicals are ineffective. In that case, the problem stain has actually changed the molecular structure of the glass and glass refinishing or replacement may be needed.
So, if your sprinklers are wetting your windows … rearrange ‘em!
#6 – Do Not Clean Windows with a Garden Hose
Although this technique can remove some of the dirt and grime from exterior windows, the fact is… This technique can cause more damage to your glass than good.
Because you are allowing tap water to dry and remain on your glass. Remember, tap water contains hard minerals that, over time, will degrade the transparent look of your glass.
When using professional window cleaning techniques, tap water use is O.K. Mixed with soap, the harmful minerals in tap water are completely removed from glass with a squeegee and not left to dry into the glass surface.
If you are planning to use a garden hose to clean your windows, make sure to rinse glass completely with ‘Pure Water’. You can effectively create pure by running it through a reverse osmosis or Di-ionizing resin filtration system. RO and DI systems are available but expensive. These systems also require your household water pressure to fall within a specific range to allow the system to work effectively.
The best solution is to hire a professional window cleaner in your area especially if your window cleaning needs require the use of tall ladders or other high access equipment.
#7 – Replace or Remove Metal Window Screens
As mentioned earlier, ‘Oxidization’ can occur and damage your glass investment. But, if you already have oxidized glass, it will appear hazy and have a white etched look.
Cause: Metal around exterior window has been exposed to rain or humid conditions causing the metal to slowly deteriorate and become oxidized. Most commonly seen on windows with metal frames or metal screens, this condition penetrates exterior glass surfaces and renders regular window cleaning techniques ineffective.
Again, in most cases this glass can be restored. But, prevention is the best solution!
So, if you have exterior metal window screens, replace them with new screens made of fibreglass. Or, simply remove the screen permanently… it’ll improve your view!
#8 – Glass Sealant
If you are planning on having your windows cleaned ONLY ONCE this year, or have glass corrosion issues, I highly recommend having a glass sealant applied to exterior surfaces.
Glass sealants provide a layer of protection to exterior glass by creating an invisible barrier between surface and airborne pollutants, hard water, glass oxidization and more. Basically, glass sealants effectively keep window glass cleaner for longer periods of time and help prevent problem stains from reappearing after glass restoration procedures.
You may already be familiar with ‘Auto Glass Sealants?’
Although auto glass sealants are – NOT recommended – for use on commercial and residential window glass, professional window glass sealants are available. And the best part is these sealants are specifically designed to be squeegeed off. So, they’re an easy, fast and cost effective way to protect your glass from degradation.
Window cleaning just once this year? Add a sealant and keep your glass cleaner – longer!
#9 – Homemade Window Cleaning Recipes Can Damage Glass
I recommend the use of a professional window cleaning soaps over homemade recipes because I want to help you diminish the risk of permanently damaging glass surfaces. With the wrong mix of chemicals, when cleaning a specific type of glass surface, homemade recipes can cloud glass, damage treated glass and harm window surroundings i.e. window frames, caulking and pain.
On the other hand, professional window cleaning soap is just that…
…Soap! Nonabrasive, environmentally friendly, contains no solvents, ammonia or alkali. Many types are biodegradable and designed to clean and naturalize the P.H. of most window glass surfaces.
If you’ve read or heard about a recipe to make your own window cleaning solution… Just say “No”! Without confirming the application of those chemicals with the window glass manufacturer, it just isn’t worth potentially damaging your favourite view window!