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Our Top 12 Summer Cleaning Tips For Your Windows, Screens and Doors

posted by Sara Mausser on August 19, 2021 in Minnesota

Kitchen with double-hung windows over sink

Summer in Minnesota means letting the sunlight and warm breeze into our homes and maximizing our indoor-outdoor living spaces. Our windows and doors work a lot harder for us during the summer months, so keeping them grime-free can be a challenge.

To ensure your windows are sparkling clean and streak-free, follow our top cleaning tips below. These summer cleaning tips for your windows, screens and doors will help keep them looking and functioning at their best.

Cleaning Window and Door Glass Without Streaks

Use an Ammonia-Free Cleaner

Ammonia- or alcohol-based cleaners often leave streaks or even a film that can attract moisture and dust. We recommend using either a commercial cleaner that is both ammonia- and alcohol-free or making your own vinegar-based solution. If you choose to make your own, simply mix one cup of white (distilled) vinegar with 10 cups of water. Fill your spray bottle, storing any leftover mixture in an airtight container for future use.

Use a Soft, Lint-Free Towel

A lint-free microfiber cloth is the best cleaning tool to use for a streak-free shine. Old kitchen towels, linen napkins or, in a pinch, a soft paper towel will do the trick as well. 

Work Quickly, Cleaning One Window at a Time

To avoid streaking, clean each window fully before moving on to the next one. For awning and casement windows, simply spray the interior of the window with your cleaning solution and wipe clean. Then unlock and open the window fully, using the gap to clean the outside glass and frame. For double-hung windows, spray and wipe the interior clean, then unlock and open them slightly, tilting the bottom sash toward you. Spray and wipe clean, then with the bottom sash resting on the window trim, lower the top sash, tilting it in. Spray and wipe clean.

Dry Thoroughly

Always dry window glass thoroughly. Using a fresh microfiber cloth or paper towel, wipe in multiple directions to help avoid streaking, and make sure to remove all remaining cleaning solution. 

Avoid Cleaning in Direct Sunlight

Streaks and water spots are especially difficult to avoid when the sun is shining directly onto your windows, as the warmth of the sun dries the cleaning solution too quickly. Choose a time of day when the sunlight is indirect for best streak-free results.

Dealing With Tough Spots on Windows and Doors

Never Use a Razor Blade

No matter how stubborn or sticky those tough spots may be, never use a razor blade to remove them. Razor blades, or even squeegee edges, can leave permanent marks or scratches on the glass, and even leave your windows more vulnerable to breakage.

Gently Scrub With Mineral Spirits or Acetone

Apply a solvent like acetone or mineral spirits to a clean, dry, lint-free microfiber cloth. Carefully rub the areas that need spot-cleaning, applying more solvent as needed, until the spot is gone. Wipe dry with another clean cloth, then clean the window with your usual ammonia-free cleaner.

Cleaning Window Frames

Avoid Power Washing

Instead of harsh power washing, first vacuum out the window frame, sill and track with a brush attachment on your vacuum. Then wash gently with warm soapy water and a soft rag.

Be Careful With Cleansers and Solvents

Abrasive chemicals in some cleansers and solvents can discolor the window frame finish. If you have stubborn stains or deposits on your frames, use mineral spirits or a mild cleaning solution like Pine-Sol® to gently remove them.

Clean Out Weep Holes

Weep holes allow water that accumulates in your window tracks during rainstorms to drain. When the weep holes are obstructed, water can pool, potentially leading to damage. Clean out the interior and exterior weep holes using a small, soft-bristle brush. 

Cleaning Screens

Vacuum With an Upholstery Brush Attachment

Using an upholstery brush attachment, gently vacuum your screens to remove accumulated dust and dirt. 

Wash With Hot Soapy Water

For flat screens (such as on windows, doors and patio doors), remove the screen. Then, wash your screens using a sponge, hot water and mild detergent. Be gentle, as aluminum screens can bend easily. Rinse well, and repeat if necessary. Replace the screen once it is completely dry.

Regular cleaning is an important part of routine window and door maintenance, and will help keep them in optimal condition. Repeat this cleaning process at least twice per year (though you can do it as often as once a month if you like). Pella’s double-hung windows, with their tilt-wash feature, make this task much easier. Our casement windows offer easy clean features as well. 

If you have many windows or hard-to-reach windows, don’t hesitate to call in a professional to take care of it for you.

Taking good care of your windows and doors with regular cleaning and maintenance will keep them looking and working great for years to come. But when it comes time to replace them, we’ll be here to help you find the best choice for your home. Visit your local Pella showroom to view your options and talk with a Pella Windows & Doors expert.

Sara Mausser

About The Author

Sara has been part of Pella Marketing teams for over 20 years, promoting the Pella brand and message to homeowners, builders, and contractors. She is passionate about finding new ways to connect our homeowners and industry partners to Pella's fantastic people, products, and services.

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*Based on a 2020 survey of leading window brands among homeowners.