Properly Cleaning Your Custom Wood Windows
Custom wood windows are like fine furniture; they’re beautiful and will retain that beauty for generations, but both wood and glass require care on a regular basis.
We’ll start with the glass. You might have the outside cleaning done by professionals, depending on the locations of the windows, but interior work is simple. Your cleaning solution can be pre-mixed, but many feel these are overpriced and contain unnecessary toxins (like ammonia) and additives. If you’re inclined to mix your own, experiment to see what works best for you. Variations typically include water and an ammonia free cleaning formula, while adding a small amount of alcohol (to speed evaporation), dishwashing soap, and cornstarch. The mix you end up with may vary depending upon how dirty the glass is, and what type of dirt or stain is present.
Once you apply the cleaner, you’ll lightly clean the glass, then remove the solution. Newspaper has its supporters but many recommend lint-free cloth such as old T-shirts that can be made into rags or old linen napkins, while others favor a damp microfiber cloth that can potentially pick up the dirt with just water. Whatever you’re using, start wiping at the top of the pane and work your way down.
If you are tackling the exterior glass, either try the same formula you developed for inside, or often professionals use a small amount of dishwashing soap in a bucket of water with as few suds as possible. For the cleaning, try a natural sponge followed with a squeegee. If you have smaller panes, you can make it easier by custom cutting a squeegee to fit the width of the glass (keep the metal part a little narrower to prevent scratching the sash). Once again, work the squeegee from top to bottom, ideally in an S-pattern, wiping the blade clean after each stroke. Then, using a damp chamois cloth that’s been wrung dry, remove any water that was caught along the edges, finally drying off any wet wood with a towel or rag.
For really heavy glass stains, try something a little tougher, but exercise caution. Professionals will use 000 steel wool or a non-abrasive scouring powder like Barkeeper’s Friend which contains oxalic acid as its main cleaning agent. Mix a small amount of the powder with water into a paste, gently rub it onto the stain, then rinse and clean the area several times, removing any residue.
For the natural wood on the interior of your windows, clean it as you would a piece of valuable wood furniture, starting with the gentlest formula and moving to tougher solutions only if dirt or stains are resistant. The best approach is always frequent dusting, followed – if you wish – by a very light coat of mild furniture oil (like Pledge), making sure to immediately wipe off any excess.
If the window is being uncooperative, try a small amount of dishwashing soap or mild furniture soap (like Murphy’s Oil) in some warm water. Always test your solution with a cotton swab on the least visible place on the window to make sure it doesn’t affect the finish. If in doubt –soap can stain some finishes – begin with just plain warm water. Remember though, that water and wood don’t get along, so if you’re trying this, thoroughly dry the wood immediately after cleaning it. The wood is sealed so any dirt should be sitting on the surface and is easily removed, but it’s best not to take any chances where wood and water are together.
With minimal effort and cost, regular cleaning and maintenance of custom wood windows will keep them functional and beautiful throughout the lifetime of your house. Contact Revival Sash with your window related questions today and how you can keep your high-end windows in great condition.