Simple Cleaning Tips for Double Hung Windows

Woodrow Aames

It's no great mystery how to care for double hung windows. But it is up to you to create a routine schedule to maintain the glass and balance sash to extend energy efficiency and the life of your windows. It's especially important to clean your double hung windows if you live in areas with high winds that blow coastal moisture and salt, industrial particles, or agricultural pollutants your way. If it's been a while since you've had your windows installed, you may want to review our comprehensive guide to the construction features of double hung windows.

Hopefully you've retained the original manufacturer's warrantees and spec sheets from the time of installation. They can provide expert tips for your brand of window. The most common routine for all brands is a regular cleaning of salt residue, dust, industrial soot, or smoke from the exteriors by:

  • Working on a shady day or day with dappled sunlight
  • Wiping off the lose particulates or debris with a soft brush or clean dust rag.
  • Applying a window cleaning solution (preferably one recommended by your manufacturer or installer), mild water with dish soap, or non-abrasive glass cleaner.
  • Clear the moisture with a squeegee or window cloth. (Old fashioned people use old but clean newsprint).

Windows: How to Clean the Balance Sash

Before attending to the upper sash, you need to slide the gaskets into the top of the frame, then tilt them inward. Clean the exterior, then position the upper sash into the frame, then the lower one, and lock the window tight. Insect repelling screens and grilles also need routine cleaning. Use the same kind of water and detergent to clean these, and use very mild abrasive cleaners (avoid touching the glass) if you have to remove built-up grease. This should be a last resort because if you clean screens and grilles regularly, you won't need more than a soft cloth, mild detergent, and water for the job.

In a worst-case scenario, a spring-loaded balance sash can release unexpectedly and launch into the jamb liner. You might have to replace the pair of balance cartridges, repair the locking terminal, and restring the pulley lines. You can remove the vinyl jamb liner unit to get started and, if you're a good Do It Yourselfer, you may not need to call in a contractor to handle the repairs. But, you can spare the entire headache by doing preventative maintenance regularly.


About the Author

Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.

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