The addition of new vinyl windows offer enormous benefits such as an increase in your home's value, improved energy efficiency, and added appeal, so it is easy to see why they are smart updates for your home. However, periodic cleaning and maintenance are essential to ensure that your vinyl windows bring in an estimated 80% return on your investment. Unfortunately, many of the cleaning solutions sold in stores contain toxic ingredients that can affect your health while harming the environment. To clean your vinyl windows in a safer manner, consider using this guide on natural, non-toxic window-cleaning solutions.

Glass Cleaner

Purchasing a traditional bottle of glass cleaner from your local discount retailer or grocery store may seem like the best option for cleaning your windows. However, the majority of glass cleaners sold in stores contain a large percent of ammonia, which can be hazardous to your health and the environment.

Ammonia contains strong gasses, which release striking fumes. These fumes irritate your nose, eyes, and respiratory system. In addition, ammonia reacts to the environment, releasing nitrates that linger in and around your home. While effective for cleaning your glass, ammonia-based glass cleaners can cause more harm than good.

For a safer glass-cleaning solution, combine the following ingredients into an outdoor sprayer container:

  • 2 gallons of water
  • 2 gallons of white vinegar

Use a broom to sweep away cobwebs, leaves, and other debris from your windows. Then, spray a generous amount of the vinegar solution onto the exterior glass of your windows, allowing it to soak for a few minutes.

Run the rubber blade of a squeegee tool vertically and horizontally over the glass. Be sure to wipe the blade off on a clean towel after each swipe. Use a handful of paper towels to dry the glass after washing. If you notice any streaks on the glass, repeat the washing process, but use balled-up newspapers to dry off the excess solution. Do not wash the frames with the newspapers, since the ink may stain the vinyl material.

Vinyl Cleaner

After cleaning your windows, you will need to spend some time on the actual vinyl frames. Dirt, dead insects, bird droppings, and various weather conditions may discolor or stain the vinyl frames. This not only decreases the appeal of your new windows but also can increase your risk of deterioration due to mold and mildew.

Bleach is a great option for removing stubborn stains and the growth of mold and mildew, but like ammonia, it is also harmful to your health and the environment. In many cases, using bleach on your home's exterior will kill surrounding grass, trees, and shrubs while irritating your physical health.

Fortunately, baking soda is a safer option to use around your home, children, pets, and landscape. To use, combine 2 cups of baking soda with 3 gallons of warm water. Mix and soak up a few microfiber cloths in the solution.

Wring out the excess solution before washing your vinyl frames. Use a damp rag to wipe away the excess before drying with a clean towel. For stubborn areas, scrub the solution onto the frame using a soft-bristled brush or scouring sponge.

The baking soda solution will dissolve away tough dirt, dust, and other debris without harming your health or the landscaping surrounding your home.

Water Spots

After washing your windows and frames, you may notice a few water spots on the window glass. These hard water spots decrease the physical appeal of your windows, but they do not alter their function. However, removal is still smart to protect your home's curb appeal.

To remove the hard water spots from the window glass, combine the following in a spray bottle:

  • 3 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of corn starch

Mix before spraying onto a clean microfiber cloth. Use this cloth to wash the spotty areas of your glass before drying with paper towels.

Your new vinyl windows were most likely a large expense, but with proper cleaning, they will be a worthwhile investment over time. With these simple, eco-friendly solutions, you can clean and enhance your new vinyl windows. For more information about how to care for your vinyl windows, consider contacting a professional like those at Beissel Window & Siding.