Impact windows are important safety fixtures in homes that are located in regions vulnerable to frequent storms and strong winds. These windows are also knowns as hurricane windows or storm-resistant windows and are much thicker than ordinary home windows, which provides occupants with a safety shield. However, just like ordinary home windows, they still require regular cleaning.
It’s not uncommon to see dirt and debris frequently blown onto the surfaces of impact windows. But without frequent cleaning, this can cause the surface to appear dull and even increase the likelihood of it getting scratched. Thankfully, cleaning them is fairly simple.
The best way to clean impact windows is by first rinsing the glass to get rid of dust before applying a cleaning solution using a cloth or sponge. You then want to give it another rinse and remove any excess liquid with a squeegee. It’s that simple!
In this article, we’ll guide you through the entire process of cleaning your impact windows safely. We’ll also go over some dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning them to prevent irreversible damage and ensure that they last for years to come.
1. Identify All of the Areas to Clean
Every cleaning task starts with identifying the areas that require cleaning. So, before you start cleaning your impact windows, take some time to identify the areas that need to be cleaned. Typically, the glass pane and frame of impact windows are the areas requiring cleaning.
Once you’ve identified these areas, it’s time to prepare the tools you’ll need for the process. You’ll want to have the following before starting the cleaning process:
- Cleaning Solution
2. Remove the Dust
The first thing you’ll want to do is to remove dust from the impact windows. Note that there are two sides to your windows, so wiping it down with a wet cloth on the inside would suffice. On the outer side of the window is where you will notice more dust and debris.
For this side, we recommend using a hose to wet the surface and rinse off the dust. This is because it’s easier and helps to remove dust quicker.
3. Apply the Appropriate Solution
Once all the dust has been cleaned off, it’s time to select and apply an appropriate cleaning solution to the glass surface. Depending on your preference, there are various types of cleaning solutions you can use to clean the glass panes.
You can opt for dedicated store-bought window cleaners or a more natural solution using ingredients easily available in your home. Below, we’ve listed three options for you to choose from and how you can use each type of cleaning solution to clean your impact windows.
Dedicated Window Cleaner
The first option is a store-bought dedicated window cleaner, which is an effective and convenient option for cleaning impact windows. While there are many different types of window cleaners to choose from, we highly recommend the Windex Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner.
This is because the solution is formulated to get rid of smudges and dirt while leaving a streak-free shine. Best of all, it’s ammonia-free and is suitable for all types of glass, including impact windows.
Here’s how to use a store-bought cleaner on your impact windows:
- First, rotate the nozzle on the window cleaner bottle until it is in the “on” position.
- Then, squeeze the bottle’s handle and spray the solution onto the window’s glass surface.
- After that, use a microfiber cloth and rub the solution in using a circular motion.
- Repeat until the window is clean and free from stubborn dirt and debris.
White Vinegar & Distilled Water
If you prefer a more natural cleaning solution, then an effective homemade option is to use white vinegar and distilled water. White vinegar is an ingredient easily available in grocery stores or in your home. Many also opt for white vinegar due to its acidic properties, which have been proven effective in removing dirt and grime from window panes.
Follow this step-by-step guide on how to clean your impact windows using white vinegar and distilled water:
- Add 1 part white vinegar to 1 part distilled water and mix well.
- Then, submerge a cloth or sponge in the solution and apply it to the glass panes using a windshield wipe motion.
- If you encounter stubborn dirt or grime, apply a slight pressure to wipe it away.
- Repeat until the entire window has been cleaned.
Liquid Dish Soap & Water
Lastly, you can also use liquid dish soap and water to clean your impact windows. However, it’s important to note that you should use mild soap instead of tough degreasers. This is because tough or harsh liquid dish soaps can break down your impact window’s protective coating.
Here’s how you can clean your impact windows using a homemade liquid dish soap and water solution:
- Fill a bucket with some lukewarm water and add about 7-8 drops of mild liquid dish soap.
- Use your hands to stir the solution until it’s evenly mixed (if you have sensitive skin, you may want to use gloves for this).
- Then, submerge a cloth or sponge in the solution and apply it evenly to your impact window’s glass panes.
- Use a circular motion to rub it onto the surface to get rid of dirt and grime.
- Repeat until the entire window is cleaned.
4. Rinse & Squeegee Any Excess Water & Solution
Once you’re done applying your selected cleaning solution to the glass panes, it’s time to rinse it off using clean water. We recommend using a hose for the outer side of your impact windows and a damp microfiber cloth for the inner side.
After you’ve rinsed it, use a squeegee to wipe away excess water. Do this in long strokes to avoid streaks from forming on the window’s surface. Squeegees are also recommended after using a cloth, as the latter doesn’t get rid of the water quickly enough which causes water stains to form.
5. Clean the Window Frames
Once the window glass has been cleaned, you can focus on cleaning the window frame. For the frames, you may notice dirt and grime stuck in the nooks and crevices, which will leave a visible layer. To clean this off, you’ll want to use a cleaning solution consisting of mild soap and water.
To create this solution, combine 5 – 6 drops of mild soap with 1 part of water and stir the mixture. Next, apply it to the frame using a cloth or sponge, focusing on removing the layer of dirt. Lastly, rinse the frame with water and wipe them dry using a microfiber cloth.
When cleaning your window frames, you’ll need to be cautious and avoid getting any cleaning solutions or dirt onto the glass panel of your impact window. Cleaning agents or debris on the glass can leave streaks and smudges, undoing all of your previous work.
6. Let Them Air Dry
The final step of the cleaning process is to allow your impact windows to air dry. You can opt to allow your windows to air dry naturally or even set up a stand fan on the cool setting to speed up the drying process.
Your impact windows should dry relatively quickly and have a pristine and shiny appearance once you’re done cleaning them. The frames should also look close to new with no visible dirt spots or layers of grime.
Dos & Don’ts When Cleaning Impact Windows
Cleaning your impact windows should be a straightforward process. However, there are certain dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind to ensure the cleaning process goes smoothly. Doing this will also ensure that your impact windows don’t get damaged in the cleaning process and that they will last for years to come.
We have listed and explained some of the most important dos and don’ts below:
- Use Light Pressure: It is vital to use light pressure when scrubbing the windows as pressing too hard or scrubbing for too long can remove the protective layer or scratch the window glass. It’s very easy to scratch a window surface if you’re unknowingly dragging tiny bits of rock debris across the glass surface, so be sure to use light pressure.
- Clean Each Window One at a Time: Cleaning your windows one at a time will ensure the cleaning solution is cleaned off quickly. Leaving such solutions on the window surface while you’re busy cleaning other surfaces is bad because the chemicals can permeate the surface and they will be more difficult to rinse off later.
- Be Careful With Tools Used: Ensure the metal parts of your tools don’t come in contact with the glass panel, as they may leave scratches. Once scratched, it’s difficult to remove them from your impact windows.
- Don’t Use Abrasive Tools: Abrasive tools such as steel wool may be efficient at removing dirt and debris, but they will also scratch the glass surface, resulting in permanent damage. Therefore, it’s recommended to avoid using them.
- Don’t Clean Under Direct Sunlight: Cleaning your window under direct sunlight may cause water spots to form on the glass as it dries. Instead, clean your windows during the evening when the sun is about to set or on a cooling day.
- Don’t Use Bleach: Bleach is a harsh chemical that can break down your impact window’s coating. For this reason, it is best to avoid using it and go with a milder cleaning chemical instead.
Sirinan is a self-proclaimed cleanaholic and the editor-in-chief of Cleaney. Apart from coming with up creative ways to keep her living spaces clean and tidy, she loves to read on rainy days.