Storm windows are very important for keeping our homes safe from the weather and saving energy. But over time, they can get dirty, dusty, and grimy, which not only blocks your view but also makes them less useful. Cleaning storm windows is an important part of keeping them in good shape and making sure they continue to work. Whether you’ve been a homeowner for years or have never cleaned before, learning how to clean storm windows can make a big difference in how your home looks and how well it works. This guide will take you through a step-by-step process and give you useful tips and tricks to help you get storm windows that are clean and in good shape.
What are Storm Windows, And Why Do Houses Need Them?
Storm windows are extra windows that are added to the outside or inside of a home’s current windows. This extra layer of insulation and safety from the weather is provided by these extra windows. They are usually made of glass, plastic, or polycarbonate and are meant to leave a space between the main windows and themselves. This air gap works as a buffer zone that helps to reduce heat loss, stop drafts, and make a home’s energy use more efficient.
The main purpose of storm windows is to add an extra layer of protection from bad weather like strong winds, rain, snow, and cold temps. By making an air area that acts as insulation, storm windows help keep heat in during the winter and keep heat out during the summer. This means that you’ll be more comfortable inside and use less energy, which could save you money on your heating and cooling bills.
Also, storm windows can help cut down on noise because the extra layer helps to muffle sounds from the outside. This is especially helpful for homes in busy cities or near busy, noisy streets.
In older houses with historical or architectural value, it might be important to keep the original windows. Storm windows are an option to replacing all of your windows because they make your current windows work better without changing their look.
What Are Some Common Materials Used for Making Storm Windows?
Storm windows are made from a variety of materials, each picked for its unique properties and benefits. Glass is one of the most popular things used to make storm windows. Because it is strong and clear, tempered or layered glass is often used. Tempered glass is made to break into small, less dangerous pieces when hit, while laminated glass is made of layers held together by an interlayer, making it stronger and safer.
Acrylic and polycarbonate are often used instead of glass to make storm windows. Acrylic, which is also called Plexiglas, is clear, lightweight, and doesn’t break easily. It works well as both insulation and defense from the weather. Polycarbonate, on the other hand, is even stronger than acrylic and better at keeping heat in than acrylic.
Most storm windows have frames made of metal, like aluminum or steel. Aluminum frames are light, don’t rust, and are easy to take care of. They can be powder-coated to make them last longer and look better. Steel frames are strong and durable, but they may need more maintenance to keep them from rusting.
Wood is another traditional material for storm window frames, especially in older or historic homes where keeping the look of the house is important. Wood can be painted or stained to match the rest of the decor, but it may need more care to keep it from getting damaged by the weather.
Storm window frames made of vinyl are trendy and easy to take care of. It doesn’t rot, rust, or fade, which makes it a good choice for many different conditions.
How to Clean Storm Windows: Step-By-Step Guide
Cleaning storm windows is an important part of home care. It not only makes your home look better, but it also makes sure that your windows work as well as they can. Storm windows add an extra layer of protection against bad weather, and keeping them clean can make them last longer and keep your view clear. Follow these thorough steps to clean your storm windows well:
Step 1: Get your stuff together
Start by getting all the cleaning materials you’ll need before you start cleaning. This makes sure you have everything you need at your fingers, which speeds up the process and keeps you from getting sidetracked. To hold your cleaning product, you must have a bucket.
Mild dish soap is better because it gets rid of dirt and grime well without being too rough on the glass. For harder stains, you can add white vinegar, which is optional but very useful. The main ingredient in your cleaning solution is, of course, water. To get a clean finish on the glass, you’ll need a squeegee. Soft cloths or microfiber towels won’t scratch the glass and will soak up any extra water.
A soft-bristled brush is a must-have for getting dirt and waste out of corners and small spaces. You can clean the tracks and frames by using a vacuum cleaner with a brush tool. If you need to clean windows that are higher up, a stable ladder will keep you safe.
Step 2: Take care of safety
The most important thing should always be safety. If you’re going to use a ladder, make sure it’s on a flat, stable area. When you use a ladder, it’s a good idea to have someone close by in case you need help. If the windows are in hard-to-reach places or are up high, it might be best to hire a professional window cleaning service. They have the training, tools, and safety steps to handle these kinds of situations.
Step 3: Take out the trash
You can get to the tracks, sills, and frames of your storm windows if you open them. Before you start to clean, you should get rid of any loose dirt, dust, and other things. Using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment is a good way to pick up these bits without scratching or damaging the surfaces. Pay special attention to the tracks, because dirt can build up there and make it hard for the windows to move smoothly.
Step 4: Get ready to clean
To get dirt and grime off your storm windows, you need to make the right cleaning solution. Put warm water in your bucket. Mix the water well after adding a few drops of light dish soap. Dish soap is a gentle cleaner that works well and won’t hurt the window. If you have spots or dirt that won’t come out, you can use white vinegar instead of some of the water. Vinegar is naturally acidic, which helps break down and dissolve hard leftovers.
Step 5: Clean the Glass
Dip a soft cloth or microfiber towel into the cleaning solution and make sure it is damp but not dripping. Wipe down the glass parts of the storm windows to get started. To avoid drips and lines, start at the top and work your way down.
For dirt that doesn’t want to come off, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub and remove the dirt. Be careful not to use too much force, because that could scratch the glass. Most dirt should come off with the help of the cleaning solution and the brushes on the brush.
Step 6: Wash and dry
After you clean the glass, it’s important to rinse it to get rid of any soap. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the cleaning fluid off the glass. This step makes sure that you don’t leave any residue behind, which could leave lines and spots on the windows once they dry. Rinse carefully by taking your time.
Step 7: Deal with the frames and tracks
Your storm window frames and tracks also need to be taken care of. Dip a cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and squeeze out the extra liquid. Wipe the frames and tracks gently with a damp cloth, making sure to get into corners and cracks where dirt tends to gather. Use the soft-bristle brush to get rid of dirt that is stuck in places. After you’re done cleaning, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe away any extra water. This step makes it less likely that mold will grow in the future.
Step 8: The Squeegee Method
Use a squeegee to clean and shine the glass without leaving streaks. Start at the top corner of the window and pull the squeegee down in a straight line while keeping the pressure even. After each pass, wipe the blade of the squeegee with a clean cloth to avoid spreading dirt or streaks. Repeat this step until the whole surface of the glass is covered. With the squeegee process, you can be sure that your windows will be clear.
Step 9: Look for any damage
Keep an eye out for any signs of damage as you clean. Look for broken seals, cracks in the glass, or broken bolts. If you find and fix these problems quickly, you can stop them from getting worse and make sure your storm windows continue to work well.
Step 10: Let it dry and shine
There might still be some water on the glass or frames after using the squeegee. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe off any water drops that are still there. To make the glass look shiny, use a dry cloth to rub it until it shines. This last step not only makes your windows look better, but it also makes sure no lines or watermarks are left behind.
Step 11: Clean the screens
If your storm windows have screens, it’s best to take them out and clean them on their own. Put the screens in the solution of gentle soapy water and scrub them gently to get rid of dirt and grime. Rinse the screens well to get rid of any soap or cleaning solution left on them. Let the screens dry fully in the air before you put them back on the windows.
Step 12: Put back together and test
Now that everything is clean and dry, carefully put the storm windows back together. Close and lock them to make sure they fit right and work well. Test the windows to make sure they work well by opening and closing them. This step makes sure that the cleaning process didn’t change how your windows work.
In conclusion, cleaning storm windows is a multi-step process, and each step is important for getting windows that look good and work well. Paying attention to detail and following these steps carefully will not only help your storm windows last longer, but will also improve the look and feel of your home as a whole.
Are There Any Natural or Eco-friendly Ways to Clean Storm Windows?
Yes, there are many natural and eco-friendly ways to clean storm windows that can be effective at getting rid of dirt and dust while using less harsh chemicals. These methods not only make the environment healthier, but they also help keep the air quality inside good and lower the risks that come with using chemical cleaners. Here are some things that are good for the environment:
Baking Soda Paste
Use baking soda to clean up dirt and spots that are hard to get rid of. First, make a paste out of baking soda and a little bit of water. This paste is a soft abrasive cleaner that can remove dirt from windows without hurting them. Use a wet cloth or sponge to spread the paste on the window frames and glass, then rub it on gently.
Pay attention to places where there is more building. Let the paste sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with a separate damp cloth. The natural features of baking soda will help clean and clear your windows.
Take advantage of lemon juice’s natural cleaning power to add a new scent and a good cleaning agent to your routine. Make a blend of lemon juice and water with the right amount of each. The acidic acid in lemons helps break up dirt and grime, and it also makes your windows smell nice.
You can put the lemon juice solution on your storm windows with a clean cloth or mop. Scrub the problem areas gently and let the solution work for a few minutes. Then, use another cloth wet with clean water to wipe the windows clean. The result is windows that are naturally clean and fresh.
You could use cornstarch to get rid of fingerprints, smudges, and grease spots on your storm windows. Make a paste by mixing cornstarch with a little bit of water until the mixture is smooth. This paste can be used to clean windows in a gentle but effective way. It can be spread right on the glass.
Spread the paste evenly with a cloth or sponge, paying special attention to spots with obvious stains. Let the paste sit for a few minutes, then use a clean, damp cloth to wipe it away. The natural qualities of cornstarch help to remove residues, leaving windows cleaner and more shiny.
Use microfiber cloths as part of an eco-friendly way to clean your windows. These cloths are made to catch and hold dust and dirt without having to use harsh chemicals. Start by putting some water on a microfiber cloth. Wipe the window surfaces gently, making sure to get rid of any loose dirt and dust.
For tougher spots, try using the microfiber cloth with a natural cleaning solution like the vinegar solution or the lemon juice and water blend. After cleaning, rinse and wash the microfiber cloth well so that it can be used again.
Steam cleaning is an eco-friendly way to clean your storm windows. It uses the power of high-temperature steam to get rid of dirt, grime, and spots. Chemical cleaners are no longer needed because steam washers only need water. Start by setting up your steam cleaner as the maker tells you to.
Move the steam gun slowly across the surface of the window, spreading the steam out as you go. The heat from the steam successfully breaks up dirt and cleans surfaces. Use a clean cloth to wipe away any loose remains after steaming. The result is not only clean windows, but also surfaces that have been cleaned naturally.
Add essential oils to your natural cleaning products to make them better. Essential oils like tea tree, lavender, and eucalyptus have antibacterial and fragrant traits that make cleaning easier. To add essential oils to your natural cleaning solution, add a few drops of the oil you want to use.
You can also mix a few drops of essential oil into a small amount of water and use that as the last rinse after cleaning. These oils not only help clean, but they also leave a nice and refreshing scent behind.
Reusable Cleaning Pads
Choose reusable cleaning pads or cloths instead of throwaway ones to lessen your impact on the environment. These pads can be used over and over again to clean your storm windows without creating a lot of waste. Start by wetting the reusable pad with water or one of the natural cleaning solutions listed earlier.
Scrub the window areas with a soft cloth to get rid of dirt and grime. When you’re done, give the pad a good rinse and let it dry on its own. These pads can be used more than once, so you don’t have to use disposable cleaning tools to keep your storm windows in good shape.
By following these detailed steps and using eco-friendly or natural cleaning methods, you can effectively clean your storm windows while making the environment healthy and reducing your carbon footprint.
Tips for Keeping Storm Windows in Great Shape
Cleaning your storm windows thoroughly isn’t enough to keep them clean and working well. They need to be taken care of regularly to make sure they continue to do their job. Here are some good tips on how to keep your storm windows in good shape:
Set up a schedule for cleaning
Cleaning your storm windows regularly is important if you want them to look good and work well. Set up a cleaning plan that works with the changing seasons. Aim for at least two thorough cleanings a year, usually in the spring and fall. This regular maintenance stops dirt, dust, and grime from building up over time, which can make cleaning harder over time. By sticking to a plan, you’ll also be able to find and fix any problems before they get worse.
Frames and tracks should be cleaned
Even though it’s important to clean the glass, don’t forget about the frames and tracks of your storm windows. Wiping these areas down with a damp cloth on a regular basis keeps dirt and other things from building up and making it hard for the window to work. Pay extra attention to corners and cracks, which are places where dirt likes to gather. By keeping the frames and tracks of your windows clean, you can make sure they open and close easily and that they continue to work well.
Cut Back Nearby Plants
The state of your windows can be affected by the plants near them. When there is wind or a storm, twigs and bushes that hang over windows can scratch the glass or damage the frames. Trim any plants that are close to your windows on a regular basis. This preventative step not only keeps your storm windows from getting broken, but also keeps your property looking nice.
Check for Broken Things
It’s important to do regular checks to catch any signs of damage as soon as possible. Check your storm windows once in a while for cracks in the glass, broken seals, or broken hardware. If you take care of these problems right away, they won’t get worse and might not need as many fixes. Checking your windows often also gives you peace of mind that they are in good shape.
Look at the seals and caulk
Seals and caulking around your storm windows help keep your home’s energy economy high by keeping out drafts and water. Check these seals often for cracks, gaps, or other signs of wear. If you see any problems, you might need to reseal or re-caulk. This care step keeps your storm windows’ ability to keep heat in and stops any water damage that could happen.
Grease the parts
Some of the moving parts of your storm windows, like the locks and springs, could use a little oil now and then. Use a lube made of silicone to make sure everything works well. Lubricating your windows on a regular basis stops wear from friction, keeps hinges from getting stiff or rusty, and keeps your windows working smoothly.
If your storm windows have screens, you should also clean them on a regular basis. Take off the screens and wash them gently with a mix of mild soap and water. Rinse the screens well to get rid of any soap buildup, which could make it hard to see. Let the screens dry fully in the air before you put them back on the windows. Clear views and good airflow are made possible by clean screens.
Talk about cutting
If there is condensation between the storm windows and the main windows, it could mean that the seals are broken or that there isn’t enough insulation. Check for too much dampness often, especially when the temperature changes. If you see condensation on your windows often, find out what’s causing it and fix it to avoid damage to your windows and the area around them.
Test the procedure
Test how your storm windows open and close every once in a while. If you run into problems or pushback, you should find out why. Frames that aren’t lined up right, hardware that is broken, or dirt in the tracks can all make it hard to move. If you take care of these problems right away, your storm windows will continue to work as they should.
Think about hiring an inspector
Even though it’s good to do your own care, sometimes it’s better to get a professional opinion. You might want to hire a professional window cleaning and upkeep service to do a thorough check. Professionals can spot problems that you might miss and give your storm windows the care they need to last longer.
Guard against bad weather
If bad weather is coming, you should take extra steps to protect your storm windows. You can protect them from wind-blown garbage, heavy rain, or snow by covering them with plastic film or sheets. This step helps avoid damage and reduces the amount of cleaning that needs to be done after a storm.
Keep up the areas around
Keep the area around your storm windows clean and free of trash. Leaves, trash, and other things that could pile up near the windows should be swept away regularly. This keeps dirt from getting on the windows and helps keep your property clean generally.
By doing these things on a daily basis as part of your home maintenance routine, you can make sure that your storm windows stay in good shape. This preventative action not only makes them last longer, but it also improves how they look and how well they work.
How Often Do You Have to Clean Storm Windows to Keep Them Working?
Storm windows need to be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis to keep doing their job of protecting, insulating, and saving energy for your house. How often you clean depends a lot on things like the weather, the state of the environment, and your own tastes.
In general, storm windows should be cleaned at least twice a year, in the spring and the fall. These times are when windows are most likely to get dirty, dusty, pollen-covered, and other kinds of gunk because of the changing seasons. When you clean your storm windows in the spring, you get them ready for the better weather. When you clean them in the fall, you get them ready for the colder weather.
But if you live in a place where the weather is rough or there are a lot of storms, you might want to clean more often. Storm windows that face busy streets, building sites, or places with a lot of air pollution might also need more care.
Most of the time, cleaning windows means taking off dust and dirt from the glass, frames, and tracks. During the cleaning process, you should also look for any damage or signs of wear. If you see any cracks, gaps, or problems with the seal, you should fix them right away to keep the windows’ ability to keep heat in.
Some people also choose to clean their storm windows before and after winter, when they are most open to the elements and most likely to get dirty or get water on them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of hard water spots on my storm windows?
Stains from hard water can be hard to get out of. Try mixing white vinegar and water together to get rid of the mineral buildup. Apply the solution, wait a few minutes, and then use a soft brush to gently scrub the area. For tougher spots, you might need to use a glass cleaner with a mild abrasive or a special stain remover for hard water.
Can I clean my storm windows when it’s sunny outside?
A dark or overcast day is the best time to clean your storm windows. When cleaning products are in direct sunlight, they can dry quickly, leaving streaks on the glass. When it’s dark and cooler outside, you can clean more quickly without worrying about streaks.
How do I clean my storm windows without leaving streaks?
Use a scraper to wipe the cleaning solution off the glass to avoid streaks. Start at the top and work your way down. After each pass, wipe the squeegee blade with a clean cloth. Also, make sure to polish the glass with a dry, lint-free cloth after cleaning it to get rid of any leftover water.
Should I take off my storm window screens when I clean them?
For full cleaning, you should take the screens off. Use a mild soapy water solution to gently clean the screens, then rinse them well and let them dry fully before putting them back on the windows. Clean screens make it easier to see through and let in more air.
Can I use a power washer to clean my storm windows?
Power washing can be too rough for storm windows because it can damage the seals, frames, and even the glass. Use softer ways to clean, like a hose with a gentle spray or a handheld steam cleaner. This will get the job done well and safely.
How do I know if the seals on my storm windows are broken?
Look for cracks, holes, or other signs of wear on the seals. If you see dampness between the storm window and the main window, it could mean that there is a problem with the seal. Damaged seals can cause energy waste and less efficiency, so they need to be fixed as soon as possible.
Can I paint my storm windows to match the outside of my house?
Most of the time, it’s not a good idea to paint storm windows because the paint could make them less useful. If you want to change how they look, you could buy storm windows in the color or finish you want.
How important is it to take care of storm windows?
Taking care of storm windows on a regular basis has many benefits. It makes them last longer, saves you money on energy costs, makes sure they work well, and keeps your home looking nice. Also, well-maintained storm windows protect your main windows from weather and debris, making your home more comfortable and increasing its value.
Can I clean storm windows in the winter?
You can clean storm windows in the winter, but it’s best to do so when the temperature is above freezing and the weather is nice. When it’s cold outside, cleaning products can freeze and leave streaks. This makes cleaning less effective.
How can I keep my storm windows from getting fogged up?
The best way to stop dampness is to make sure there is enough airflow. Make sure your home has enough airflow to lower humidity. Also, keeping storm windows in good shape and fixing any gaps or leaks can help keep fog from building up.
Is there anything I should avoid using to clean my storm windows?
Don’t clean your storm windows with harsh cleaners, bleach, or things that have ammonia in them. These can hurt the seals, frames, and glass. Use light solutions like dish soap, vinegar, or commercial window cleaners that say they are safe for different types of windows.
Can I only clean the inside of my storm windows?
Even though it’s easier to clean the inside of storm windows, it’s better to clean both the inside and the outside. Even though the surfaces are outside, they can still be affected by the elements. Cleaning both sides provides a complete and thorough result.
How can I keep mold from growing around my storm windows?
To stop mold from growing, you need to clean regularly and make sure there is enough airflow. Make sure that the frames, tracks, and seals don’t get wet. Mold won’t grow if you keep the area around your windows clean and dry.
Can I clean storm windows with a power washer?
Most of the time, you shouldn’t use a power washer on storm windows because the high pressure could damage the seals and frames. Choose softer ways to clean, like a hose with a gentle spray or cleaning by hand with the right tools.
What should I do if it’s hard to open or close my storm windows?
If your storm windows are hard to open and close, look for dirt or debris in the tracks. For smooth action, clean the tracks and frames well and think about using a silicone-based lubricant.
Can I clean my storm windows with a vinegar solution I made at home?
You can clean storm windows with a mixture of white vinegar and water that you make yourself. In a spray bottle, mix equal amounts of vinegar and water. Spray this solution on the glass, and then use a soft cloth or scraper to remove it.
What’s the best way to clean storm windows on the upper floors?
Answer: Storm windows on high floors need to be cleaned with extra care. Make sure you have a sturdy ladder and someone who can help you if you need it. You could also hire a professional window cleaning service that knows how to handle bigger windows safely and has the right tools.
Can I put a covering on my storm windows to protect them?
There are protective coats for storm windows that are made to keep dirt and water away. But before adding any coatings, you should check with the manufacturer’s instructions because some coatings can change how clear the glass is or how well the windows work.
Cleaning your storm windows regularly is an investment in both the way your home looks and how well it works. By following the detailed steps in this guide, you can effectively get rid of dirt, grime, and other waste. This will let natural light into your living spaces and keep your storm windows in good shape.
Make sure you have all the products you need, choose the right cleaning solution, and use the right tools to get the best results. With a little time and work, you can turn your old, cloudy storm windows into clear, sparkling panes that add to the beauty of your home and help it save energy. By doing these things as part of your normal home maintenance, you can keep your storm windows in good shape for many years.