For the more obsessive-compulsive, neatness and cleanliness advocates out there, perhaps nothing can be as twitch-inducing as a streaky window, and with good reason. Windows are a very important part of a building’s structure, giving people a way to glimpse into what happens inside an abode. Splotches and streaks on the outside wall can often be ignored but a streak on the windows, for some reason, is immediately noticed by everyone. Maybe it’s the nature of windows to be the default portal of viewing, being utilized more by people and as a reason, any aberration on its cleanliness is easily noticed; whatever the case, a clean, smear-free window is always a requisite for a building’s facade.
The problem is that these streaks are very common. Whether it’s the result of the placement of the windows or simply just the laziness or lack of ability of the window cleaner, windows with streaks can be found in almost any establishment or building. They make for a very bad external impression especially if the building that you own has a full glass exterior. What’s worse, if you’re the one who’s cleaning the windows yourselves, the streaks are usually not as apparent at first. You put away all your window cleaning equipment, get down, and then admire your handiwork, only to discover that when the sun comes on, they’re still streaked. It’s like the windows are a transparent proof of your inability to do what should be a simple household maintenance task.
What Causes the Streaks?
Before you can go about getting rid of those annoying window streaks, you can benefit to know just what causes them. Streaks are caused by a number of things. Some of them are very well under your control, some not so. Here are some of the most common causes of window streaks.
- The window cleaner being used. Not all window cleaner solutions are equal. You may not be aware of this but there are actually some window cleaners whose ingredients will clean, but may also cause streaks. The factor lies in the rate these ingredients evaporate and how concentrated they are found in the cleaner. The residue from the ingredients may sometimes dry and evaporate before you can remove them with your towel. These cause streaks.
- Type of towel used. The type of towel are also a factor in the formation of window streaks. Towels that are not fully absorbent tend to spread the dirt and moisture instead of cleaning them so when they evaporate, they leave behind ugly streaks.
- Contamination. Another source of streak is contamination. No, not the disease kind; you may have contaminated towels from other sources. The usual culprit for contamination is a towel that you also use for other cleaning purposes. They may be contaminated with other products you are using. The residue are what cause the streaks.
- Not using enough cleaner. If you just put too little cleaner thinking that too much liquid will take too long to clean up, then you increase the chance of streaking your windows. If you just let the towel do the cleaning and not the cleaner, then the cleaner will be wiped up and dried too quickly, resulting in the dirt not being picked up and just pushed around. Streaking will result.
- Being in a hurry. Rushing the entire cleaning process is a sure-fire way of causing streaks on your windows. Aside from not getting in all the dirt and residue properly, hurrying through the cleaning job also leads to poor cleaning technique that will increase the chances of streaking in your windows.
Ways to Get Rid of Window Streaks
The way to remove those window streak marks once you see them is, of course, to do another cleaning run on them. However, it is always better to just preempt the whole problem and make sure that you get the window streak-free the first time through. To do that, here are some tips to help you out.
- Use the correct window or glass cleaner. Some window cleaning chemicals will not leave streaks right away, but after a good drying period, you will see a dull film starting to appear. Such things usually happen when the window cleaning solution has chemicals that won’t evaporate and are left in the glass as a residue.
When you buy a good window cleaner solution, make sure that the product is ammonia based. Ammonia based products evaporate quickly, rarely leaving behind residue, if at all. If you’re in a place where the temperature changes changes, concentrated glass cleaners are great choices. Just dilute the concentrated glass cleaner with the correct amount of water for the amount of moisture in the air and the ambient temperature-more water for hot and dry climates and less for cooler and moist ones.
- Use the proper equipment. You don’t need to get the most expensive ones; just make sure that the ones you do get are the right ones.
For towels, you need the type that is fully absorbent and is lint-free. Most people swear on a suede microfiber towel as well as a dry waffle weave towel as a follow through.
You may also need a good window squeegee. A window squeegee does not leave lint and it can quickly remove any leaning solution from your glass. If you’re in a residential building, disposable squeegees do a great job and are very economical.
Lastly, get a decent window washer. Window washers are great for cleaning stains such as bird droppings, bugs, or tars. They are basically a semi-abrasive towel attached to a handle and shaped like a window squeegee. The towel part is usually made from cotton that is enclosed in a nylon net. The nylon netting is what makes it possible to remove tough stains.
- Know when the right time to clean the window is. Yes, there is a right time to clean the window if you don’t want streaks. If the weather is windy or the sun is shining directly on the window, then you will almost always get a window streak on. The reason for this is that during those times, evaporation happens faster, allowing the solution to dry on the glass before you can wash them off.
- Use proper washing and wiping technique. It doesn’t matter whether you pull the squeegee or the cloth horizontally or vertically, just make sure that you do so with an even pressure. After one whole run of the squeegee, wipe it dry; if your squeegee is not dry, you’ll leave stripes. Then, do another run on the window, overlapping the squeegee by about an inch on the already clean surface. Use a dry cloth to wipe the outside perimeter of your window.
It will take practice but once you get the proper technique down, it’ll be easier for you. Coupled with the correct equipment, a thorough cleaning and time of washing, you will ensure that your window will be streak-free and clean.
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