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How do I clean my windows? (And other glass surfaces)

Alissa Ugolini—homify UK Alissa Ugolini—homify UK
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Cleaning windows is probably one of the most dreaded household related tasks. Ideally completed twice a year, it is time consuming and taxing on your body, and there is always that looming fear that it may rain the next day and ruin all your hard work. Households with pets and small children always suffer the most; marks from wet noses, paw prints and little hands are nearly always found on the lower levels.

On top of this, you may not be able to reach all surfaces. Some high level windows and skylights in architecturally designed homes are at perilous heights and specific tools are needed. In this case, we would recommend that you do not attempt this feat on your own, instead, leave the spine crunching work to a professional.

For the do it yourself individuals out there, the other mind boggling task is choosing your preferred cleaning method and materials. Do you stick with the age old approved method of vinegar and newspaper, soapy water, or specially formulated chemicals? Whatever the option, make sure you wear the appropriate protective gear and take care when standing on ladders and stools! 

Standard height windows

Cafe Style Shutters for Bay Windows:  Windows & doors  by Plantation Shutters Ltd
Plantation Shutters Ltd

Cafe Style Shutters for Bay Windows

Plantation Shutters Ltd

Windows of this height are relatively easy to clean with basic household items like a bucket, sponge and some dish-washing detergent. You might be the type to save old t-shirts and sheets, and use them specifically for outside chores with the intention of throwing them away afterwards. For those who are more environmentally conscious, you can add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 3 litres of water and wipe with newspaper. Alternatively, you can use lemon juice or club soda in the same quantities. Note: do not use paper towels or toilet tissue, it will streak and leave small fibres on the surface! 

Skylights, high level & cathedral windows

Courtyard House  -  East Dulwich:  Dining room by Designcubed

Courtyard House — East Dulwich


Possibly one of the most beautiful elements in your home, a skylight, high level or cathedral window work wonders in allowing for maximum light penetration into a space. This is especially true for more compact homes, or those that are closely connected to the neighbours property. Given the angle, these windows are susceptible to dirt, dust and dried raindrops after a storm. As mentioned earlier, do not attempt to clean these windows on your own, even if you are experienced or have done it before. It should be undertaken by a professional with the correct equipment. A task that should be undertaken fairly regularly, you will amaze yourself with how much additional light you have once the windows are cleaned!

Sliding doors & bi-folds

A feature element in the homes of some, sliding doors, bi-folds and floor to ceiling windows are the ultimate way to connect inside spaces to the outdoors. Given the scale, it is imperative that these surfaces are cleaned regularly. Why? Because the effect of infinity and airiness will be tarnished as you gaze off into the distance only to notice a large smear. You can invest in the assistance of a professional for a glass surface of this size, otherwise, you will need to invest in a medium to large sized squeegee to ensure you have the perfect streak free finish.

To see more on doors ideas, click here.

Shower cubicles

Small Bathroom Redesign:  Bathroom by Studio TO
Studio TO

Small Bathroom Redesign

Studio TO

Prone to soap scum, water droplets and, depending on the type of water where you live, calcium build up, a glass shower cubicle shows stains like nothing else around the home. Given the surface area is small, we would assume a general clean would be completed on a weekly basis to ensure the build up doesn't become caked on and increasingly difficult to remove. For those who love to keep their glass looking at its best everyday, you can keep squeegees or sponge in their shower unit to quickly wipe the glass down after each use. This will make your weekly or monthly shower cleaning task much easier in the long run, and prevent any permanent damage. Be careful with the chemicals used as the space is small and exposed to your skin; refrain from using abrasive products or anything with a pH value lower than 4 or higher than 12.

Staircases & balustrades

Fairways at the Bishops Avenue:  Corridor & hallway by Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors
Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors

Fairways at the Bishops Avenue

Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors

Funnily enough, glass stairs are one of easiest surfaces to clean. Who would have thought? Aesthetically pleasing, durable and little maintenance! It's a miracle! Attracting less dust and dirt than its traditional wooden counterpart, glass stairs can be wiped down with a damp cloth or vacuumed. Do be mindful: the surface will be slippery until dried, so forewarn other family members and guests and let them know to take extra care.

Table tops

Megalith Table:  Dining room by Duffy London
Duffy London

Megalith Table

Duffy London

Do you remember in your youth, your mother screaming at you Get a plate! or Put a coaster down! as you wandered in the living room with a snack or cup of tea. As adults, when we own a thing of beauty, such as the pictured table with glass top, we understand the reasoning behind her nagging. There is nothing worse than the circular stain left behind from a mug, oily smears or crumbs on a glass surface. It is both obvious and ugly. Prevention in this case is the key; put measures in place to avoid the aforementioned stains, and you can very easily wipe the table down with a damp cloth or a quick spray of some glass cleaner. 

What are you thoughts on window and glass cleaning? Do you have any personal tips you can share for the best result?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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