Vinyl windows are among the most popular window materials because they are affordable, durable, easy to install, and require little to no maintenance. Though they can become dirty and stained, making them appear worn out and dingy over time.
With proper vinyl window maintenance and cleaning, you can affect how well they function and how long they last. Thankfully, they have a surface that’s easy to clean. So, with a bit of elbow grease and the right cleaning solution, you can have your vinyl windows sparkling like new in no time. Here are cleaning tips and maintenance ideas for your vinyl windows.
How do I Maintain My Vinyl Windows?
Vinyl is a robust material that can resist deterioration and damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Because they don’t fade, rust, or crack, you can keep your vinyl windows looking like new for years with proper maintenance and care.
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Routinely Inspect Your Windows
Inspect your windows every six months or so—spring and fall. During this inspection, you should examine hardware including latches and locks, watch for condensation, and ensure all your seals are intact.
Check your caulk and weather stripping for damage; repair or replace them if you notice worn, ripped, or loose sections. Also, look for peeling paint, spots, discoloration, or warped frames. These could be signs of water damage and should be repaired immediately.
Make Sure You and Your Family Know How to Use Your Windows Properly
Window damage can be caused by new owners using them improperly. Over time, the added stress from misuse can cause them to deteriorate gradually.
To avoid this issue, ask your installer to explain how to operate your windows properly. Or, if they’re already installed, find videos online for your window type. Then, make sure your family also knows how to open and close them correctly.
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Clean the Glass Frequently
Moisture buildup can damage your windows and give them a dirty, cloudy look. Keep your window glass clean to help drain stored moisture.
To clean your glass correctly, avoid abrasive cloths, sponges, or harsh detergents which could scratch or damage your windows. Instead, use a lint-free cloth and a regular store-bought glass cleaner to clean your glass.
You can also mix up a solution using three-parts water to one-part vinegar. Wipe surface dirt from your glass with old newspaper, then spray your solution onto your glass and vary your wiping direction.
You can also use your newspaper or a blackboard eraser to buff your vinyl windows clean once they’re dry.
Clean the Interior of Your Vinyl Frame Regularly
Your window’s vinyl frame can become discolored if it isn’t correctly cleaned. And dusty frames are the last thing you want to have, especially if you have a new window. To clean your windows:
- Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dust particles or spider webs
- Take a clean, dry cloth and dust your frames
- Wash your vinyl frames using water, mild detergent, a soft sponge or cloth, and a clean, dry towel
- Soap up your frames with your detergent solution
- Rinse or wipe your frame with clean water to remove any soapy residue
- Immediately dry the frame with your clean towel
- For tough stains, use a soft bristle brush and scrub gently
- Be sure to work fast to avoid letting excess water saturate your frame
You’ll also want to avoid strong solvents, abrasive materials, or acid-based cleansers, which may damage your vinyl frames.
Periodically Clean the Exterior Surface of Your Vinyl Window Frame
You can clean the exterior of your window frames a few times a year to remove dirt, debris, sap, and bird droppings.
Like your interior frames, stay away from bleach, acid-based cleansers, and abrasive cloths or sponges. These items can scratch the frame and your glass. You should also avoid pressure washing which can discolor or damage the seal on your vinyl window frames.
Instead, use water and mild soap, along with a soft microfiber cloth. Be sure you completely rinse away soap when you’ve finished. When soap residue dries, it can leave an unattractive film coating which is noticeable in bright sunlight.
Once you’ve finished washing your window frames, apply a protectant to safeguard against UV radiation damage.
Maintain Clean Tracks
A fundamental way to ensure your windows continue operating is to keep the tracks clean. Dirt, dead bugs, and pet hair can build up in your tracks, putting additional stress on your window hardware and affecting your windows’ energy efficiency.
Dust and grime can cause your weatherstripping, locks, hinges, and rollers to wear down sooner. Improperly functioning window frame tracks can also let water into your home, causing severe damage over time.
Every time you clean the glass in your windows, you should clean the tracks first. If you drip your cleaning solution into your dirty window tracks, you can create a muddy paste. This can further damage window performance and make the tracks harder to clean.
To properly clean your window tracks:
- Use a vacuum to loosen and remove the dirt and grime from your tracks
- Utilize a plastic putty knife to remove debris that’s lodged in the grooves
- Use your soapy water solution to clean the frames
- Wipe your tracks with a clean cloth to remove soap residue
- Dry them with a clean towel
- Spray a silicone solution into the tracks to maintain a smooth-moving sash
- To avoid overspray on your clean windows, don’t spray the track directly; instead, spray it into your cloth and wipe down the frames
Your Screens Need Cleaning, Too
Your window screens aren’t part of your vinyl frame; however, cleaning them a few times a year is vital to properly maintaining your windows’ overall look and function.
To wash your vinyl window screens:
- Carefully remove them from your frames and lay them on a flat surface or prop them in your bathtub
- Vacuum or wipe away excess dust and debris
- Apply a solution of water and detergent and let it soak for a few minutes
- Thoroughly rinse the soap from your screens
- Let them air dry; or dry them carefully before replacing them to reduce the amount of dust and allergens entering your home
Since most people in the Chicagoland area don’t open their windows during winter, you may want to remove your screens and store them during colder months. This can cut down on wear, helping your screens last longer.
Proper Maintenance and Cleaning Can Help Your Windows Last Longer
Purchasing vinyl windows is an excellent choice for boosting your property value and increasing curb appeal; therefore, maintaining them is crucial to protect your investment. Give your windows a longer life by taking time to maintain and clean them properly.
Contact our installation experts to set up a free consultation if you notice it may be time to update your vinyl windows. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive estimate, go over our products, and answer any questions you may have. Call Opal Exteriors today.