washing 1928 double hung windows

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washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby Ribnitz on Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:12 am

Does anyone have any tips are ideas on how to wash my wood double hung windows? The downstairs is no problem as I can go outside and use a ladder and get them done in an afternoon but the upstairs are another story. Is there any way to wash the outsides of the windows from the inside of the house? Like maybe by opening the window an inch or so at the bottom and inserting some sort of tool or gadget to wash the outside? I'm sure this is a long shot but I really don't feel comfortable getting a huge ladder and doing them outside. It's a very tall two story house and I'm a bit afraid of heights. I find myself disliking sunny days because all I can see if the dirt on the windows! Thanks.
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby Sombreuil_Mongrel on Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:27 am

In my situation, I have the windows restored so they all move easily, and I can lower the upper sash, then lean out and wash it. The outside of the bottom sash is the problem; I solve it by tilting it in. I take off the stop molding and then the sash is loose and hangs by its ropes while I clean it. There are some weatherstripping systems that don't permit this and then the only access is from outside.
There are various wands and poles that supposedly permit cleaning unreachable windows.
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby JamesReed on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:16 pm

I've never found a good way. Like the previous poster, I've restored my sashes so I can lower the top one, but access to the outside of the lower sash is still a problem. Best I can offer is that I've learned to live with a fair amount of grime, at least on infrequently-viewed windows.

BTW, I've always thought this was the one genuine advantage of modern tilt-in windows. Apparently I'm in the minority, since I don't recall ever hearing this said in any of the old-vs-new window discussions. Although, if you were to make the stop easily removable, and not painted in place, and maybe insert some kind of spring-loaded pin and socket arrangement in the sash and frame, brass probably... seems like you could make old windows tilt in, at least within the limits of the cords/chains, enough to reach over and clean the outside. Perhaps some of the window experts here have tried such a thing.
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby RioG on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:36 pm

I've been wondering this very same thing, and wondered if you just took out the inner rim of wood that holds the window in place, it seems like the lower sash would just come right out?

Then of course you have to nail the wood back in, but for a 2x/year job, might do the trick? I've got some really nasty windows that really need cleaning!!
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby KristenS on Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:13 pm

Ribnitz wrote:Like maybe by opening the window an inch or so at the bottom and inserting some sort of tool or gadget to wash the outside?


Yes. I call this tool "my arm". :D

Really, though, I've been able to clean my 1908 double-hung windows all right. Both windows go completely up and completely down on their individual tracks. So I just shuffle them around and reach through and around them until I've got them entirely clean.

I'd guess that one of those long-armed dish scrubbers might help if you've got shorter arms than me:
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Or, if you're feeling really adventurous, you can use magnetic aquarium cleaners:
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They are mostly for scrubbing algae, though, and don't give you a good way to get the cleaning solution on the window. They can also be a bit scratchy. I wouldn't want to risk them on my windows. But maybe the magnetic idea will inspire you to invent a version that works for you!
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby JamesReed on Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:33 pm

Maybe one of those "As Seen on TV" windshield cleaners.
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby jade mortimer on Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:13 pm

if you don't have storm windows, it's pretty easy considering most of us clean our windows but once or twice a year...push the top sash all the way down, hang out the window and wash with a papertowel that you have sprayed with your favorite cleaner*, wipe dry with clean paper towel; push both sash all the way up, hang out the window and wash the bottom sash the same as above...close both and clean the interior...

*in a 16 ounce spray bottle add: 3 drops of dish detergent, 4 oz of alcohol (rubbing/isopropyl), one tablespoon of white vinegar and the rest water....shake, spray and wash...shake, spray and wash...shake, spray and wash...there, now we have the hang of it!

...jade
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby KristenS on Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:34 am

jade mortimer wrote:*in a 16 ounce spray bottle add: 3 drops of dish detergent, 4 oz of alcohol (rubbing/isopropyl), one tablespoon of white vinegar and the rest water....shake, spray and wash...shake, spray and wash...shake, spray and wash...there, now we have the hang of it!



Jade, I think I love you!!!
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby RioG on Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:35 am

But when your top sash is fixed in place, your bottom sash just cant get cleaned that way!
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Re: washing 1928 double hung windows

Postby jade mortimer on Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:30 am

oh, no kristens, that reminds me of the partridge family song that my brother played incessently when we were kids!!!

it's a good idea to install screws rather than nails for your stops and there are two good reasons...#1 ease of removal (for washing or repair)...#2 allows for seasonal adjustment...make the hole in the stop larger than the screw shaft (use ROUND HEAD screws)...when the air is humid and the sash expands and sticks, back off the screws a bit and move the stop away from the sash--presto smootho!...when the air is dry and the sash contracts and is loose, back off the screws a bit and move the stop toward the sash--presto tighto!

...jade
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