Friday, June 8, 2012

How to clean windows

I don't consider myself an expert on household tasks . I'm always on the lookout for ways to clean and organise the house more efficiently and effectively.
One thing I do know, however, is cleaning windows. This is an example of the windows I have at my place: cedar frames with each window divided into 4 smaller panes. I reckon I have over two hundred of these panes to clean, 400 panes when you consider you have to clean inside too. Believe me, it's a fiddly job. You can see where my motivation is to get this job sorted out.
We've been here for nearly nine years now - our anniversary is on Monday - and over this time I've trialled lots of different methods/recipes etc. for cleaning windows.
The best method to clean windows, in my opinion, based on exhaustive research is 1/2 cup methylated spirit in half a bucket of warm water. Use a rag to clean the window down, then use cheap paper towel to wipe dry.
The one drawback of this method is the use of paper towel .I try to limit disposables where possible, but for this job I have to say that the traditional alternative, newspaper, just doesn't cut it I feel. It might have once upon a time, before the newspaper publishers changed their presses in the last 10-15 years.
I've been cleaning my kitchen windows today, as it's the window I look out of most of the time and they were looking a bit grimy. Now I've cracked the window cleaning code, I hive this job to the high schoolers during their school holidays. It keeps them busy and out of my hair for a good few hours:)
Now what I would like to figure out is how to discourage the spiders around the window frames, and through the house in general. Keeping their cobwebs at bay is a constant battle.  My family is pretty house trained but these interlopers just don't have any manners, and they just don't want to learn!


cleaninup said...

I'm not sure how I stumbled upon your blog but I did enjoy your post about the windows.

Gee that's a LOT of windows. All the better to see your beautiful property with! I'm on the other side of the planet, in Canada, in a 140 year old stone home. We don't have an abundance of windows, but we do have the original ones with blown glass (and the bubbles and warps to prove it) which are lovely. The windows we do have are massive and split into 8 panes. And for each window, we also have a storm window split into 12 panes.

I used to hate cleaning these windows - particularly in all those corners - because the paper towel would catch on the wood and rip. Also, only after we would get the storms on would I realized that they were still hazy.

A couple of years ago I started using microfiber to clean the windows and have been amazed by the results. You use it with just water so no sprays, it picks up the dirt and grime and leaves the windows virtually streak-free. The only problem I have now is the one storm window that was painted to the house by the previous owner. I can't get at the spots and it irks me to no end!

Anyway I'm sure I'm going to sound biased (because I sell e-cloth) but I can't say enough about the window cleaning e-cloths. I don't think they're available in Australia (yet?) but I have had several orders from down your way and shipping is reasonable.

I didn't mean this to be a sales pitch (although reading it, it does come across that way), more to let you know I feel your pain!

Libby said...

Sounds like you've got it all worked out. We have a 2 storey house and some windows that are almost impossible to reach so I clean windows by paying a proffesional twice a year :-). And just touching up the back doors for dog nose prints as needed :-).

africanaussie said...

I agree that newspaper doesn't seem to do such a great job. I do like the microfiber cloths though and they are washable and re-usable. I really like to clean corners where spiders congregate with eucalyptus oil. It smells nice and does seem to keep the spiders away.

Tania @ Out Back said...

I how I dread this job! I have eleven windows in my house and they are the ones with the little squares. We live out in the boonies and they get extremely dirty from the dust etc. It takes me forever to clean them. I tend to try out a different method each time I clean them hoping to find an easier way. The enjo glove works best so far...

I have the same problem with spiders, damn little intruders they are!!

Cafe Blinds said...

You can hire someone to clean your window.

Paola said...

Hi Cafe Blinds - I would love to know what you would charge to clean 200 windows...I have a feeling the answer will tell me why I choose to do them myself.