How to Clean Double Hung Windows

how to clean double hung windows

“How to clean double-hung windows?” is a question that homeowners and cleaning enthusiasts often raise. Double-hung windows are popular in homes for their aesthetic appeal and functionality. Yet, their unique design can make cleaning them a bit of a challenge.

To clean your double-hung windows: unlock the window and tilt it inwards. Dust the frames and sills. Use a squeegee and glass cleaner on the glass.

Then wipe down the hardware. Ensure the tracks are free from debris and that the window operates smoothly.

Now that you know the basics, you might be wondering if there’s more to this process. What kind of cleaning materials should you use?

Can you make your own cleaning solutions? How often should you clean your windows? Keep reading to find answers to these questions and more.

Understanding Double Hung Windows

Double-hung windows consist of two sashes within a single frame. Both sashes can be slid vertically to allow for airflow. Understanding how they work will make the cleaning process smoother.

  • The Components: Double-hung windows have upper and lower sashes, balances that help in sliding, tilt latches, and locks. Knowing these components will help you identify the areas needing special cleaning attention.
  • Operating the Windows: Before cleaning, familiarize yourself with how to open and tilt the sashes safely. This is crucial for accessing all parts of the window for thorough cleaning.
  • Safety Measures: Ensure that you take appropriate safety measures. If your windows are above ground level, ensure you have stable support or that someone is assisting you.
  • Scheduling: Double-hung windows don’t need to be cleaned too frequently. However, cleaning them at least twice a year is good practice – once in spring and once in fall.

Gathering Cleaning Materials

window cleaning materials

Before diving into cleaning, it’s essential to have all the necessary cleaning materials at hand.

  • Cleaning Solutions: Use a commercially available glass cleaner or make your own using equal parts water and vinegar
  • Cleaning Tools: Equip yourself with a soft brush, a squeegee, microfiber cloths, and a bucket.
  • Protective Gear: Wear gloves and eye protection to avoid contact with cleaning solutions.
  • Access Tools: If cleaning high windows, have a sturdy ladder or an extension pole for your squeegee. 

After you have your cleaning materials, you’re all set. But what are the key steps in the actual cleaning process?

Dusting Frames and Sills

Dusting the frames and sills is the first step in cleaning double-hung windows.

  • Dry Dusting: Use a soft brush or a dry cloth to dust off any loose debris on the frames and sills.
  • Detail Cleaning: Use a toothbrush or a small brush to clean corners and crevices where dirt accumulates.
  • Vacuum Cleaning: If you have a vacuum with a brush attachment, use it to suck up dust and debris.
  • Wiping Down: Once you’ve dusted, use a damp cloth to wipe down the frames and sills to remove any remaining dust.

Cleaning the Glass

Cleaning the glass is the most satisfying part!

  • Applying Cleaner: Apply your glass cleaner generously to the window glass. You can use a sponge or cloth for this purpose.
  • Scrubbing the Glass: Gently scrub the glass with a soft cloth or sponge, paying attention to any spots or stains.
  • Using a Squeegee: A Squeegee is your best friend when it comes to streak-free windows. Start at the top and drag it straight down.
  • Drying the Glass: Use a clean microfiber cloth to dry the glass and remove any remaining streaks or spots.
clean window glass

Tending to the Hardware

Don’t forget to pay some attention to the hardware of your double-hung windows.

  • Inspecting the Hardware: Check the locks, tilt latches, and balances for any signs of damage or wear. Tighten loose screws if necessary.
  • Cleaning the Hardware: Use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the hardware and remove any dirt or grime. Dry it thoroughly afterward.
  • Lubricating Moving Parts: Apply a silicone-based lubricant to the tracks, balances, and pivot points. This will ensure the smooth operation of the windows.
  • Replacing Damaged Hardware: If you notice any hardware that is broken or not functioning properly, consider replacing it for optimal window performance.

Cleaning the Tracks and Channels

dusting window frames and sills

The tracks and channels of double-hung windows can accumulate dirt and debris over time, affecting their functionality. Here’s how to clean them effectively.

  • Removing Debris: Use a small brush or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove loose dirt and debris from the tracks.
  • Scrubbing the Tracks: Mix a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Dip a brush or sponge into the solution and scrub the tracks thoroughly.
  • Rinsing and Drying: After scrubbing, rinse the tracks with clean water and wipe them dry using a cloth or paper towel.
  • Applying Lubricant: Once the tracks are clean and dry, apply a silicone-based lubricant to ensure smooth sliding of the sashes.

Maintaining Window Screens

Window screens help to keep out insects and debris. Regular maintenance will keep them in good condition.

  • Removing Screens: Carefully remove the window screens from the frame by lifting them out or using a screen removal tool.
  • Inspecting and Cleaning: Inspect the screens for any tears or damage. Gently wash them with a mild detergent and water solution, and rinse thoroughly.
  • Drying and Reinstalling: Allow the screens to dry completely before reinstalling them back into the window frame. Ensure they fit snugly.
  • Repairing or Replacing: If you find any significant damage or tears, consider repairing or replacing the screens to maintain their functionality.

Enhancing Window Appearance

Cleaning your double-hung windows presents an opportunity to enhance their appearance and make them shine.

  • Polishing Frames: Depending on the material of your window frames, use an appropriate cleaner or polish to restore their shine and luster.
  • Decorative Elements: Pay attention to any decorative elements such as muntins or grilles. Clean them carefully to maintain their aesthetic appeal.
  • Window Treatments: If you have curtains, blinds, or other window treatments, clean or launder them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Finishing Touches: After completing the cleaning process, step back and admire the sparkling windows. Enjoy the improved view and the natural light that streams through.
window decorations

Safety Measures and Final Tips

Before we conclude, let’s go over some safety measures and additional tips to ensure a successful window cleaning experience.

  • Safety First: Always prioritize your safety while cleaning windows. Use proper equipment, secure ladders, and be cautious of your surroundings.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Stick to mild cleaning solutions to avoid damaging the glass, frames, or hardware of your double-hung windows.
  • Check the Weather: Choose a day with mild weather for window cleaning. Extreme temperatures or direct sunlight can affect the cleaning process.
  • Keep a Cleaning Schedule: Maintain a cleaning schedule to ensure your double-hung windows stay in optimal condition and prolong their lifespan.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you’re not comfortable or unable to clean high or hard-to-reach windows, consider hiring professional window cleaners

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