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Fall Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Vinyl Windows

One reason we love vinyl windows is that they require very little maintenance. But they do need some attention once or twice a year to keep them in tip-top shape.

After summer’s heat and occasional stormy weather, fall is a great time to perform your annual inspection and cleaning. This will get your vinyl windows ready for another winter and ensure they’re functioning at their best, keeping your home comfortable and energy efficient.

Before you start, you’ll need a few things:

  • Mild soap and water or vinegar and water
  • Several clean, soft, non-abrasive, absorbent, lint-free dry cloths
  • Soft bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Appropriate solvent (for hardware only)
  • Commercial glass cleaning products or solvents (for stubborn stains)
  • Spray silicone

Repair and Clean the Screens

Now that you’ve assembled your tools, start by inspecting the screens. Check for scratches, cuts or holes. Tighten loose screws, then vacuum the tracks and lubricate them with silicone. Remove the screen, spray it with water and clean it with the brush and soapy water. Reinstall screen when dry.

Inspect Panels and Sashes

If your windows have removable sashes, this is a good time to take them out. It will make inspecting them easier.

Start by inspecting the handles that open the sash. Make sure they work properly, and if not contact the manufacturer.

Inspect stiles, rails and glass. If glass is cracked, call a local glass supplier for a replacement. If your windows are insulated, look for signs of fogging; if you spot any, call the manufacturer for help.

Pay Special Attention to the Weather Strip

Inspecting and maintaining weather stripping helps prevent air and water leaks, which can lead to costly structural damage.

If you find any that is damaged or doesn’t bounce back when touched, replace it. To preserve its integrity, use denatured alcohol to clean it and don’t use any sharp objects on it.

Cleaning Tips

Before you begin cleaning the glass, mix a cleaning solution of one teaspoon of mild soap to one gallon of water or 1 ½ cups vinegar to one gallon of water. Clean with the sponge and soft brush, first with vertical pressure and then with horizontal.

Rinse with clean water and wipe dry immediately, keeping any cleaning solution or water from pooling on the vinyl or glass, or in crevices. Dry the window frame and sill.

Taking just a little time this fall to inspect, maintain and clean your vinyl windows will keep them functioning for many years to come.

For more in-depth care and maintenance tips for vinyl windows, including additional tips on cleaning and lubricating hardware, visit our Resources page.

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