Keeping the outside of your home’s windows clean will not only make them look their best, but regular cleaning can even protect window glass from long-term damage. This cleaning can also improve your home’s overall insulation, so you pay less for heating and cooling throughout the year!
While many homeowners choose to have windows cleaned just once per year, how often you should have your windows cleaned depends on your area’s standard weather conditions. Rain and overly dry conditions can make windows dirty, while nearby production facilities or constructions sites will also mean more airborne dust and dirt, and the need for more consistent window cleaning.
To help you determine the best schedule for having your outside windows cleaned, note how everyday dirt, dust, grime, and other debris can damage your home’s windows, along with some surprising benefits of regular window washing. It’s also helpful to note how often you should have other areas of a house cleaned, so you know your home is in excellent condition and is comfortable for you and your family!
Benefits of regular outside window cleaning
If your home’s outside windows are outright caked with dirt and grime, then the benefits of having those windows cleaned are apparent. That dirt is very unsightly, from both inside and outside the home, and dirty windows detract from your home’s overall curb appeal.
There are other benefits to having windows cleaned regularly, however, even if they don’t necessarily look dirty. Built-up dirt and grime that is left untouched can cause scratches in the window glass, and while these scratches are damaging enough, they also allow more dust and debris to settle onto the windows. This damage then continues to get worse over time!
This continuous cycle of damage may not seem like a significant problem, but many of these damaging elements that settle on windows can be corrosive. Acid rain, chemicals used in construction, and minerals in hard water weaken window glass, compromising its insulating qualities. In turn, you may be letting out more heating and air conditioning, or letting in more hot or cold air, through the windows, increasing your utility bills.
Dirt and grime also act as natural filters for sunlight, so when windows are dirty, your home may feel draftier and colder in wintertime. Without enough sunlight, houseplants may even start to wither and wilt!
Having your home’s outside windows cleaned regularly also means getting rid of dirt, grime, cobwebs, and other debris that could be collecting around window frames, shutters, flower boxes, and a home’s exterior accessories. This cleaning also protects those accessories from damage due to a buildup of dirt and grime and ensures that they always look their best.
What makes outside windows dirty
A home’s outside windows need washing after heavy rainfall, as rain carries dust, dirt, and other such debris that then settles onto a home’s windows. Windows can also get very dirty in dry environments, as dust and sand are more likely to be airborne in a desert area. High winds can also mean dirtier outside windows, as those winds often bring dirt, dust, and sand that then settles onto window glass.
Nearby production facilities, construction sites, and dirt or gravel roads also mean more airborne soil, concrete dust, road dust, sand, powders used in a production process, and other such pollutants becoming airborne and then settling on your home’s windows. Large trucks with diesel engines dump more soot into the air than standard passenger vehicles; if you live near a busy highway, this soot can also find its way to your home windows, making them appear dusty and dirty.
It might sound like an oxymoron, but cleaning your windows rather than relying on a trained window cleaning professional can also make exterior glass dirtier over time! How so?
When a homeowner washes their windows, they may use too much detergent or may fail to rinse all that detergent off properly after washing. The residue that is left behind from window cleaning chemicals is often sticky so that it then attracts and holds more dust and dirt.
Not using proper cleaning methods can also make exterior windows dirtier. If you wash the home’s siding from bottom to top, for example, this can spread dirty water and residue over window glass, or you might use a power washer to clean your home’s siding or deck, and wind up splashing water onto the windows, making the glass dirty, muddy, and grimy.
How often should you book a window cleaning service?
If you live in an area with average amounts of rainfall and aren’t close to a production facility or construction site that kicks up dust and dirt, you might book a window cleaning service once every year. If you’re very particular about your home’s overall appearance, you might schedule this cleaning twice per year, to ensure the windows are always as clean as possible.
However, note what might indicate that your home’s outside windows need cleaning more often, or at specific times throughout the year:
• If you live in an area with an unusually rainy season, you might have the windows washed before that season begins, to remove built-up dirt or dust that is already causing damage to the glass. Have them cleaned again after the season is over, to remove dust, pollution from acid rain, and the like.
• Many factories have a busy season for a few months every year. If you live near such a facility, having your home’s outside windows cleaned after that season is over will remove any residue that winds up on the glass from their increased production schedule.
• You might consider booking a window cleaning service for specific windows of the home if they tend to get especially dirty. For instance, windows that face a nearby dirt road or a construction site will get more soiled, so having just these windows cleaned more often may be needed, to protect that glass.
• It’s good to consider booking a window cleaning service if you’re thinking of putting your home on the real estate market. You may not believe that clean windows would impress potential homebuyers, but if outside windows are dirty, muddy, or otherwise in poor repair, this can make for an awful first impression for those potential buyers!
• In the same way, you might want to have your residential windows professionally cleaned if you’re going to have a property evaluation done. Those clean windows might mean enhanced curb appeal, which might, in turn, increase your property values!
Why homeowners should avoid cleaning their outside windows
Cleaning a home’s outside windows may seem like a relatively simple job, but it’s more challenging than you might realize! As said, using too much detergent, or not rinsing that detergent properly, can mean allowing more dust and grime to stick to windows over time, so the glass gets dirtier than before.
Cleaning window glass during a hot summer day can also be a mistake, as harsh, direct sunlight can cause the water and detergent used for exterior glass cleaning to dry on the window’s surface quickly. This dried detergent can make the windows look streaky and cloudy.
You also might not realize how easy it is to shatter window glass with a pressure washer! This risk is especially true for thin types of glass, and for homeowners who aren’t accustomed to using a power washer and don’t know how to adjust that pressure. A power washer nozzle that creates a high-concentrate stream of water can also cause a window to break, even when used with a lower amount of pressure.
Using the wrong detergents on exterior glass can also cause that glass to get streaky and cloudy. You never want to use dish detergent, hand soap, or other such cleansers on windows, as these may not rinse away very easily. Many such cleansers also contain oils that don’t rinse away at all! To avoid all these risks to your home’s windows, leave outside window washing to professionals.
How often should you wash your walls?
Since outside windows might need professional cleaning more often than you realize, you might wonder how often you should clean the walls inside and outside your home as well! While this answer will also vary according to the area in which you live, remember that keeping all your home’s surfaces clean will mean avoiding damage from dust, dirt, and other such debris.
As with cleaning the outside of a home’s windows, washing down a home’s exterior walls is best done annually, or twice per year if you live in an area with lots of airborne dust and dirt. Aluminum siding may especially need more washing than brick, as dirt and mud may be more visible on siding than on brick surfaces.
It’s also good to spray down a home’s roof and ensure that you wash under its eaves when you clean a home’s exterior walls. Cleaning debris from the roof can protect the shingles from damage caused by twigs and other sharp debris, and will also help to avoid the growth of algae, which might form between those tiles. Cleaning under a home’s eaves will remove nests, hives, and cobwebs, protecting your house from a potential pest infestation.
Inside the home, it’s good to wash interior walls at least once per year, but even more so if someone in the family smokes, or if you cook with lots of grease or oils. Cigarette smoke and airborne oils settle onto walls, eating away at the paint and causing discoloration and other damage to those walls.
How often should you clean everything else outside the home?
• A wood deck should be cleaned more often than most surfaces outside the home, as wood holds moisture that can lead to mold, especially in tiny cracks and crevices in the decking. Cleaning muddy footprints and washing away damp leaves, twigs, and other such debris will also protect that wood from suffering water damage, and from discoloration.
• Motor oil breaks down asphalt and causes cracks and potholes to form, so wash your property’s asphalt driveway whenever you notice oil stains or spots.
• Wash down concrete surfaces right after winter is over, to remove traces of salt and other chemicals that can cause concrete to spall and crack.
Keeping home windows clean tips and suggestions
Once you’ve booked a home window cleaning service, how do you keep those windows clean? Awnings are an excellent choice for keeping rain, dirt, and other debris off a home’s windows, and these can also help to direct rainwater away from the home’s exterior walls, so they also stay as clean as possible.
It’s good to be mindful of how you tend to your landscaping outside the home, to keep exterior windows and other surfaces clean. Invest in a bagged mower so that grass clippings don’t wind up on those surfaces, and avoid aiming your leaf blower at the home when you clear your freshly cut lawn! Be sure your home’s sprinklers are also far enough away from the house that water doesn’t hit those newly washed windows.
If you do notice that your home’s exterior windows are often streaky, it might be good to consult with a roof plumber, so he or she can check your home’s gutters for need repair or replacing. If a home’s gutters are undersized, clogged, cracked, or have pulled away from the house itself, this can allow water to spill over them and onto the home’s windows, causing streaks and dirty marks.
If you’re very concerned about your home’s windows and their overall condition, you might invest in roller or hurricane shutters. These shutters roll from top to bottom, completely covering a home’s outside windows.
Roller shutters are often used in climates where hurricanes and other such storms are frequent, but they can be installed outside any home, to protect exterior windows. These shutters can be closed during intense storms, during rush hour traffic, or even when you’re not home, to ensure your home’s exterior windows are always clean and looking their best!