A Word On Window Washing
Ian's baptism is this Sunday and we're having people over to the house for a cookout after the festivities. Our house really is in no shape inside or out for visitors, so this week has been a scramble to make it presentable. And believe me, it will be down to the wire as usual.
One thing I definitely wanted to do was wash the exterior windows along our driveway, particularly those belonging to the dining room as a pterodactyl must have taken a dump on one of them that has been drying in the sun for weeks.
As I do before tackling most new cleaning projects, I consulted my handy dandy book Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean. Believe me, this book still looks practically new after 5 years of ownership. But I did want to share what I learned, even if I didn't follow her instructions exactly.
According to the Queen, in order to clean your windows like a pro, you have to arm yourself like one. She suggests:
• good squeegee, 12-14 inches
• good scrubber - it's like a squeegee but with a 'fluffy coat' (I picked up a cute little squeegee/scrubber combo at Lowe's made by Ettore; I think it was about $13. You can watch a video on proper window cleaning on their web site)
• rag or chamois
• scraper (which i didn't use)
• extension pole (didn't need this, either, but I didn't attempt any second story windows so a ladder was sufficient)
• TSP (trisodium phosphate) or dishwashing liquid (I happened to have some TSP I purchased at a specialty paint store to clean our kitchen cabinets prior to painting them - a project that has yet to be started)
Once you assemble all the tools, fill your bucket with water, then add the TSP or detergent. Wet your scrubber and wash the window. Try to avoid direct sunlight which can cause streaking and spotting.
The Queen then says to tilt the squeegee at an angle so that only 2 inches of the blade is on the glass. I wasn't sure what that meant, but it is clearly illustrated in the Ettore video. Starting at the top corner, draw the squeegee along the top edge of the window, then wipe the blade on your rag. Then start on the the now dry surface at the top, drawing the squeegee vertically down the window to about 3 inches from the bottom.
Repeat until you've gotten all the glass, taking care to overlap each stroke and wipe the blade after each one. Then finish by tilting the squeegee at an angle at the bottom and finishing the final 3 inches.
Voila! You should have a nice, clean window. Unless, like me, you have old windows and you learned, after the fact, that the window wasn't properly closed so now you have streaks down the inside.
Note: The Queen frowns upon using newspaper to clean windows, a tip I've suggested before. And as much as I respect and admire the Queen, I have to disagree with her. I've seen it work not only in my own home, but it's a practice employed on commercial shoots I've attended, so it's endorsed by professionals as well. Though I do agree it could wind up being messy on your sills if you're not careful, so – be careful.