Admittedly, I open my windows every day to air the house out, but surely I don’t touch the glass that often. Yet there are enough fingerprints on my windows that it is almost becoming a modern impressionist artwork.
We all know that our fingers secret oils. Clean windows show up these oil marks when we touch them. But any DIYer would agree that it can be an absolute nightmare when you have put in as much effort as we have to ensure that our homes look and feel awesome, to then have our windows covered in grime and fingerprints.
What Is Your Biggest Window Nemesis?
- Bird droppings (Honestly what sort of berries do some of these birds munch on? Purple beans anyone?)
- Salty buildups
- Random marks
So in this DIY guide we are going to look at the very best window cleaning technique, specifically for houses in the Eastern Suburbs and Northern Beaches of Sydney. In order to master what can be a mindbogglingly frustrating task, we are going to lean upon the experience and expertise of some professional window cleaners from Window Cleaning Sydney that tackle fingerprints for a living.
We have all seen those professional window cleaners magically flinging their squeegees over the window panes ending up with a perfectly reflecting piece of glass. We are going to examine the techniques that will enable you to be able to do that same process on your windows at home.
Are Sydney Windows Dirtier?
You may be surprised to know that Sydney windows are far dirtier than most other cities in Australia. Window panes in the Eastern Suburbs and Northern Beaches cause more window cleaning headaches for the aspirant window cleaner than any other area in Australia.
As you know if you have lived in Sydney for long enough, there is generally a strong Easterly breeze that fires up in the afternoon. The result is that windows on the Eastern side of your property will have a buildup of dust and dirt with high salinity. This creates a tacky and sticky surface that causes more gunk to buildup on the face of the window.
There is also the large population of magpies, Indian mynas, crested pigeons and rosellas that have an innately accurate aim for freshly cleaned windows. Combined with the sappy Eucalypts and Banksias and the manmade smog and haze in the air, and there is not much hope for our windows in our glorious city.
Oh, the challenge of being an amateur window cleaner in Sydney.
But here are the tips and tricks to guarantee a streak free finish.
Choose Your Time
Direct sunshine is anathema to professional window cleaners. The heat of the windows increases the evaporation rate which results in a hazy glaze being left on your windows. Choose a time of the day to clean your windows when direct sunlight is not on the windows.
Depending on the positioning of your property it may be best to choose the early morning or late afternoon. Apartments in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney are generally best to clean at midday when the sun is at its zenith. Overcast days are ok, but they generally do not allow enough natural light to inspect the windows from different angles to ensure that you have a mirror finish.
What Equipment Do You Need To Clean Windows?
- Cold Water (Warm water dries too quickly, but in winter it is far more friendly on the hands).
- Dishwashing liquid
- Window mop (Applicator)
- Microfibre towel
Don’t fall for the average neophyte mistake and add too much detergent. More detergent does not mean cleaner windows. It just means that you are wasting detergent. It will also cause your hands to dry out rapidly.
Rub the wet applicator over the face of the window. Ensure that you thoroughly cover all the surface including the corners. Rub up and down, side to side and in circles. Avoid using exuberant force. If spots are not coming off straight away, keep going over the spot repetitively as opposed to pressing harder.
Starting in a top corner (top left if you are right-handed, top right if you are left-handed), use light pressure to slide the squeegee horizontally across the window. Use this stroke as a test. If small water droplets are left on the glass, then you will need to apply more pressure with the squeegee.
The goal of using the squeegee is to start at the top corner and then snake down the window in an S pattern. It will take a bit of practice to get a smooth and flowing stroke, but practice makes perfect. Reapply water using the applicator and do the window again if you are not happy with the results.
With enough practice and persistence, you will be able to clean the entire window without leaving any water on the pane.
Wipe the water off the edges of the window with the microfibre towel using one smooth long stroke per edge.
Step back and inspect the window from a few different angles. Look from inside and outside to identify which side of the window any marks are on.
With enough practice following this method you will have perfected the streak free window cleaning technique.
Diyhowto.com.au Tip: If you do not have safe access to the windows do not even try and attempt to clean the windows. There are some horror stories in the window cleaning industry of cleaners that have perilously leant their ladder on the gutters so as to reach that final corner of the window with disastrous results. Professional window cleaners have ingenious height safety equipment that allows them to reach even the most seemingly inaccessible windows.
Statistics from Safe Work Australia show that half of the falls that resulted in a fatality to an Australian worker in 2013 were from distances less than three metres. If you can not safely reach the top corners of your windows, call a professional window cleaner to complete the job for you.
Here are some common window cleaning problems and the solutions that professional window cleaners in Sydney use.
Problem: Squeegee Leaving Water Trails
Solution: If the tips of the rubber are not straight it can cause excess water to be left as trails across the window face. If your squeegee has clips that can be adjusted, move the clips as close to the outside as you can. This will make the rubber blade straight and flat and allow the water to naturally flow out of the way, providing the illustrious streak free finish that we are all desiring.
Problem: Squeegee Lines
Solution: If you are left with squeegee lines, this is a sure sign that either you do not have a smooth stroke or you are not using enough cleaning solution. Squeegee lines are left when the blade is stopped and started in the middle of the glass.
Problem: Squeegee Chatter Marks
Solution: If there is not enough water on the glass or if your strokes are too shallow the blade will start to chatter and leave pattern marks. Ensure there is enough water on the glass and make sure that your squeegee is not covering too much of the already squeegeed portion of the window to ensure smooth strokes.
Problem: Mildew On Your Frames
Solution: Mildew is a live organism and so if you intend to just wash it off with water you are going to be scratching your head in a weeks time when it has reappeared. You need to kill it and the spores that are growing in the microscopic crevices in the window frames.
Household bleach is the best solution for removing mildew spores from your window frames, but there are some other natural cleaning options like tea tree oil if you have an animosity with harsh bleaches. Clean the surface until all visible mildew is removed. Allow the bleach/tea tree oil to rest on the surface for at least 5 minutes. Ensure the surface is well rinsed and dried before you reapply the frames back to your windows.
Diyhowto.com.au Tip: There is no shortage of “How To Clean Windows” articles online, but caution is needed! A lot of articles have been prepared by writers who have only used their suggested methods on their family home. Suggestions such as using vinegar, baking soda and other household items can actually ruin the protective film of modern windows. If your windows have a protective UV or heat-reflective coating you are best off employing the services of a professional window cleaner. Not only will they know the best technique for cleaning a particular type of coating, but they are also insured in case anything unexpected happens (ie: torn coatings, scratches, cracks or broken pot plants).
Don’t forget to stand back and appreciate your improved view out of your clean windows after you have finished the no streak window cleaning method.
Clean My Windows – Window Cleaning Sydney
Phone: 0416 622 134
Address: Lane Cove NSW, Australia
If you need a professional window cleaner, we recommend Clean My Windows.