Windows are wonderful inventions. Having a view of the outdoors can act as a micro-restorative activity that boosts your focus. However, a dirty window can ruin the effect.
When you live in an apartment, cleaning the outside of your windows can pose a challenge. You can get shiny windows without suspending yourself from the roof.
Keep reading to learn how to clean apartment windows.
Accessing the Window
Before figuring out the best ways to clean them, you need to know how to get to your apartment windows.
Pop Them Out
Not all windows have this option, but many apartments have inward-tilting windows that you can pop out to clean.
You can tell if you can take this step by looking at the window lock.
If the lock has small buttons, latches, or screws, push them. You can remove the window from the frame and fold it towards yourself to clean.
You can remove other windows entirely from the frame and clean them before putting them back in place.
Check if the sides have latches that you can flip.
Pull out the latches, slide the window up, and remove the window.
Get the Cleaning Tools
Look for special cleaning tools designed for apartment dwellers for windows that you cannot tilt or remove.
You can choose a magnetic cleaning tool. These let you put one magnetic cleaner on the outer glass that you control with an interior magnet.
They have safety strings that keep the outer magnet from falling. You can get one with an attached sponge to help with cleaning.
Another option is a sponge mop with a u-shaped base to reach the window and clean the outside glass.
Once you finish cleaning, you can attach a microfiber cloth to either sponge to dry off the water.
You might want to get a 10- to 12-inch squeegee for your windows. If you have a narrow window or muntins, you might need to snip the ends off.
Squeegees help with interior windows and ones you can tilt or remove. Look for a U-shaped attachment to use on the exterior.
Preparing to Clean
Before you can clean your apartment window, you should do a little prep. Start by vacuuming the sill and walls surrounding the window with a brush attachment or handheld vacuum.
Make sure to clean the screens as well to get rid of any sediments around the window. The debris may streak or scratch the glass while you clean.
Take a cotton swab dipped in distilled white vinegar and remove the large specks from the corners if you find any noticeable grime. The grime may spread to other areas while cleaning.
Another tip is to clean your windows on a cloudy day. Applying a cleaning solution to a warm window will dry it quickly and create more streaks.
The ideal temperature for cleaning is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Gather the Ingredients
You could use the standard Windex, but distilled white vinegar and dish soap work as well.
Mixing vinegar in a 1:1 ratio with water can disinfect the glass and give it a sparkling finish.
If you dislike the vinegar smell, you can drop some soap in warm water to use with a squeegee or sponge. Try not to use too much as the soap can build up and create streaks.
Cleaning the Windows
Once you have your items, you can start cleaning.
Begin by using a natural sea sponge, cloth-covered squeegee, or other soft sponge and dip it in warm, soapy water. Squeeze out any suds and start scrubbing the window.
Next, uncover your squeegee and pull it down in a straight stroke. Dry the blade with a microfiber cloth after each stroke and repeat for the length of the window.
After you have finished your vertical strokes, orient the blade horizontally and pull it across the bottom to clean any leftover spots.
Ensure you keep the soapy water away from any wood flooring for the interior windows to avoid damaging the finish.
Take a stroke and wipe strategy. After running the squeegee against the glass, dry the glass with a microfiber towel. Also, leave some towels under the window to keep the floor dry.
Reduce the amount of water used and dry the blade thoroughly after each stroke. Shake it off in the bucket before taking it to the window.
The blades may drip more if they are worn out, so get some rubber replacements when you notice any cracks. You should notice an improvement in its cleaning abilities.
Dry Them Off
Instead of drying off with terry cloth or paper towels, opt for a microfiber towel. These lint-free cloths do not leave behind any residue or particles.
Other options include old (but clean!) T-shirts, chamois, newspaper, cloth diapers, and paper coffee filters. These can buff the glass to give it a shiny finish.
You need to dry the windows to prevent soap from building up and leaving streaks. Try to get the process done quickly for the best results.
Now that your windows are clean, you can add some finishing touches to help them stand out.
If you have any dents, tough stains, or scratches in the window, you may be able to buff them out with baking soda. This abrasive all-purpose cleaner can save you your security deposit.
Make a paste with three parts baking soda to one part water. It should be as thick as toothpaste.
Apply some of the paste to a clean, soft cloth and rub the mark in a circular motion for 30 seconds. Then, use a cloth dipped in plain water to remove the baking soda.
Finish with a dry microfiber cloth.
If you do not have baking soda, you can use a non-gel toothpaste, preferably one with baking soda. Follow the same steps to polish your windows.
If you removed a sticker on your window and want to remove the adhesive residue, use some rubbing alcohol.
Dip a soft cloth in the rubbing alcohol and place it on the sticker. Rub it gently until the sticker starts to peel. Keep going until you do not see any more glue.
If you do not have isopropyl alcohol, you can use an acetone nail polish remover or lemon juice.
Wait a few minutes after the treatment to remove the rest of the sticker. Also, ensure you perform this task on a cloudy day to prevent streaking.
If you still do not feel confident about cleaning your window, you can hire a professional. Your landlord may get one for the building, or you can call one yourself.
However, you can easily clean a window with minimal equipment and some household products.
Just grab your vinegar, dish soap, and baking soda to make your windows look as good as new.
You only need to give your windows a deep cleaning once a season. If you have pets or children who put their fingers on the glass, you may need more upkeep.
You can get away with some dusting of the glass, sill, and blinds between cleaning sessions. You can try these tips on other glass surfaces in your apartment as well.
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