How to Clean Your Windows Like a Pro

In a thorough search of the web, I have come across a lot of articles advising people to clean their windows with vinegar and crumpled up newspaper, or Windex and a rag, or other ineffective methods. Many of these techniques will give you poor results and are quite laborious and frustrating as well. Even though I am a professional window cleaner, I freely share how to clean windows because I know that there are still plenty of people who don’t have the time and energy to do it themselves. But if you want to do it yourself (whether it is a monetary consideration or you like to do things yourself) here are a few pointers.

Firstly, you need the right equipment. This will entail a squeegee, a strip washer (also called a scrubber), window cleaning solution, a 5 gallon bucket, a couple of lint free cloths i.e. microfibers, and possibly an extension pole. Your squeegee is one of your most important tools, so it is important that you purchase a high quality one with replaceable rubber- avoid the automotive squeegees with the wooden handles (found at gas stations). For your squeegee, you will probably want a 12 to 18 inch one for most windows. You can usually find a decent squeegee (ettore or unger) and a scrubber at most home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowes. For you window washing solution you can use a professional detergent made by ettore, unger etc. or you can use liquid dish soap. There is really no need for ammonia, which is unhealthy for humans and can damage a window’s tint.

Once you have all of you equipment, fill up your bucket with water and add a couple of squirts of dish soap; next dip your scrubber in the soapy solution and then squeeze off the excess water back into the bucket. Scrub the entire window with your scrubber; next take your cloth and wipe away the left and top edge of your window. Then, pull your squeegee horizontally across the window – left to right, top to bottom. After each pull wipe the excess moisture from your squeegee rubber (called the blade) For most inside windows horizontal pulling is the easiest.

Then to finish off the window, wipe the right and bottom edges of the window (reverse of the initial wiping).

Something to consider is that cleaning the interior windows will be much easier than the exterior windows for reasons of accessibility and level of debris. Many times the exterior windows will have baked-on bugs and other crusty hard-to-clean-off debris on it’s surface. Professional window cleaners use special razor blades (scrapers) and white scouring pads to get this stuff off. For the home do-it-your-self person, I would recommend that you only use the white scouring pads (available online at windows 101, or at janitorial supply stores) to avoid damaging your windows. Do not under any circumstances use green or brown scouring pads as they will damage your windows.

To use the white scouring pads on a pole, you will need a “doodle-bug” which is a swiveling holder foe these pads. Cleaning second-story outside windows can be somewhat challenging because of accessibility. Some window cleaners use a pole, some cleaners use ladders and some, like myself, use both. If you are using a pole, it is crucial that you get the right angle. For second story windows, you need to stand the right distance away from the window in order to get the right angle. A common mistake is to stand too close to the house.

Also getting a zero-degree squeegee such as Unger’s zero degree swivel lock (a standard squeegee has a forty degree angle) is very helpful because it allows you to stand far enough back from the window without having too much angle on the glass. It should be noted that second story windows, being cleaned with a pole, need to be cleaned top to bottom not horizontally. The Unger zero degree squeegee will be your best friend if you are using a pole. Alternately, you could use a ladder to clean the exterior windows. If you choose this method you may want to duct tape rags to your ladder ends if they are going to rest on glass or maybe ladder a ladder wingspan.

Now what if you have cleaned an exterior window yet it is still cloudy and possibly spotty like a water glass can get after washing it in the dishwasher? Then, you may have hard water deposits. These can form slowly over time if you have hard water (from sprinklers or hosing off your windows). In this case you need to get hard water remover. Winsol makes a product Crystal Clear 550 which will, in most cases, completely remove these deposits. You can get Crystal Clear online and at many janitorial supply stores.

One final word of advice, if you must clean your windows with a spray, use “sprayaway” glass cleaner (It is rubbing alcohol- based not ammonia-based) and a waffle weave microfiber cloth or a leather chamois. Not all microfiber is created equal, many of them shed tiny particles. But whatever you do, do not use crumpled newspaper. If wet newsprint will leave black ink on your hands, what do you think it will do to your windows? I hope this article has helped you, and at the least has given you some starting points.

How to Clean Upholstery in Your Vehicle

When you look at your older car’s interior, it more than likely does not look as good as it did the day you bought it. It is not at all uncommon for the interior to get soiled over the years with normal use. Learning how to clean upholstery yourself is not all that difficult and can save you some money.

These upholstery cleaning tips are for cloth interiors only and not leather. We use shampoo to clean cloth interior. We have options when it comes to the cleaning solution we use. You can buy super clean or purple power degreaser at any local auto parts house. This works really well on carpet and cloth seats for removing stains. You can also use dawn dish washing liquid which we all know is great at fighting grease. Find a five gallon bucket or anything that will hold two or three gallons of water. Fill the bucket with water and add just a little of the cleaner, if using purple cleaner just add a few capfuls until the water slightly changes color. With dish soap maybe a tablespoon or so. We do not want a lot of foam and soap we have to get out of the cloth. It is always a good idea to test a little spot in an inconspicuous area before we start. Just use a white cloth and wet with cleaner and rub a little in to see if the color is rubbing off on your towel. If so stop now and call a professional for advice on cleaning this type of material.

Items needed to shampoo your cars interior yourself are a wet/dry vac, a scrub brush, and a few towels. Just do small areas at a time to get the best results, except for the seats, wet the entire seat to ensure there is no streaking. Then you can work smaller areas of the seat after it is all wet with shampoo. Use a hand towel to wet it down with shampoo, then scrub gently with a brush and vacuum it really well to remove as much water as possible. You can repeat wetting bad areas and vacuuming it out until you see no more dirt coming up. When you have it vacuumed as good as possible use a dry towel to rub the entire seat down which removes more dirt and more water to help dry times. We do the same process with each seat and the carpet.

Drying the interior as quickly as possible is essential when you are all done shampooing. If not dried in a reasonable time it will get musty, similar to leaving wet clothes in the washer too long. If it is sunny out leave the windows down and make sure the car is in the sun. Place a fan blowing in a window of the car to keep the air moving and speed dry time. If it isn’t sunny out, you can roll the windows up to about 2 inches down and turn the heater on high. If you have a small fan that oscillates, put it in the car wherever you can get it to stay safely and turn it on high. Do not leave it unattended for very long and keep checking the carpet and seats to see if their dry. If you have a garage where you can leave the windows down all night and a fan blowing, this would be the ideal thing to do.

During the drying stage, you may notice some dirt resurfacing. When being shown how to clean car upholstery that has had cola spills in it, you will see exactly what I am talking about. You can just take a dry towel and rub these areas as they dry and it will pick it up. There is no doubt this is a long tiring process when learning how to clean upholstery. There is a lot of bending and scrubbing involved. This is why a lot of people choose to take their cars to a local detail shop and have the interior steam cleaned. Although, if you want to save money and learn how to do it yourself, this is one way to do it and get great results.