What you should know before you clean your windows

Is your home ready for spring? It may just need a good cleaning, starting with the outside.

Matt Swales works wit a window cleaning company:  He says,  "It's important to have your windows cleaned because windows left unclean for long periods windows are porous and mother nature the mineral from things flying around can absorb into the pores of the glass and stain it permanently or it could take costly extensive measures to get that staining out of glass."

Consumer group Angie's List offers this advice on cleaning windows properly and safely:

Frequency of cleaning: Most homes should get a thorough window cleaning twice a year - ideally in the spring and fall. You may find your windows need cleaned more often if you live on a busy street or near saltwater. Letting salt stay on the glass too long will eventually damage the glass.

Which cleaning method is best? The type of cleaning solution and equipment you need varies according to the type of windows you have. With dozens of types of glass, windows often require special cleaning agents and using the wrong one could be ineffective or cause damage. For example, double glass windows are held together with a vacuum that could be compromised if the rubber trim that seals it is damaged by the wrong type of cleaner. If the seal breaks, moisture and dusts can get in the window, making it impossible to get clean. Most glass can be cleaned with soap, water and a squeegee. However, some situations will call for specialized cleaning solutions. For smaller windows where a squeegee is too large, use a lint free towel to wipe them clean.

Ideal weather conditions: If you clean the windows, do it during a cool, cloudier time of day. The hot sun dries windows faster, which can lead to streaking.

Angie's List window cleaning hiring tips:

Check insurance: If you hire a pro, make sure the company is insured. Because a lot of window washing involves ladders, safety harnesses and scaffolding, precautions are essential to ensure everyone's protection. Damage can be done to glass by someone is who not qualified. You need someone who not only knows how to clean glass, but knows glass and how to maintain in properly.

How do they clean windows? It's important to ask what types of chemicals and tools are used during the cleaning process, especially if your windows are tinted. Many companies will clean with eco-friendly materials upon request.

What's the cost? Window cleaning prices vary and are often based on the number and size of windows, the time estimated to do the job and the complexity of the job. Always ask for an in-home estimate. MONEY SAVING TIP: You could save a few bucks by cleaning the first floor windows yourself, and leaving the second floor, more difficult to reach windows, to a pro.

Satisfaction guaranteed? Ask the company if they provide a money-back guarantee if you're not 100% happy. Most companies will offer one and some even offer a rain guarantee - so if it rains within a certain amount of time of the cleaning and your windows are spotted, the company will come back out at no charge to you.

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