Looking out your windows, you will see the view relatively easily. After all, it’s glass and easy to see through. But you may also start to notice other things: dead bugs, cobwebs, bird droppings, white hard water stains, and an assortment of other gunk stuck to the glass.
Most dirty windows won’t prevent you from seeing through them, but their buildup can distort your view or even damage windows over the long term. Dirt and residue can scratch, etch, or even crack windows, leading you to have to prematurely replace your windows. But beyond that, grimy windows simply don’t look good.
Of course, washing windows from the inside is pretty straightforward. But when it comes to the exterior side, how are you expected to navigate around the bushes in your yard or reach second (or even third-) story windows? One solution is to tackle them one by one using an extension pole equipped with a squeegee. However, this could be time-consuming and straining on the body. Thankfully, there’s a much faster way that only requires much less effort: pressure washing your windows.
You’re probably wondering, “Is it safe to pressure wash windows?” The answer is yes—so long as you do it correctly. This guide will show you the best way to pressure wash windows and give you tips to remember in case you’d rather call in professionals to handle the job.
How to Pressure Wash Windows
Since you’ll be using a strong stream of pressurized water to handle most of the cleaning, it’s important you take precautions to avoid potential injury and damage to your property. Here is the process for cleaning your windows using a pressure washer.
Step 1: Prep Yourself and the Area
Start by putting on eye protection, gloves, and closed-toe shoes. Cover up any outdoor electrical outlets with tape if they are exposed. Remove screens, if necessary (you can rinse these separately using the garden hose). Also, move outdoor furniture, decorations, or potted plants out of the area where you’ll be working. If something isn’t movable and you’re concerned about it getting damaged, cover it with a tarp.
Step 2: Check All Windows
Before washing any windows, go through the entire house and make sure all windows are closed shut. If you’re concerned about water seeping through the windows, use tape on the part of the window where the sill and the window meet.
If there are any cracks in the window frame, seal those with window caulking before you begin. If the frames look old or worn down, particularly if they’re made of wood, it may be best to avoid the risk of pressure washing them. On the other hand, if your windows are fairly new and still under warranty, you may want to confirm first if pressure washing them will void the warranty.
Step 3: Add Cleaning Solution
Always follow the pressure washer instructions and fill the tank with the appropriate water levels and a cleaning agent. For a nontoxic solution that won’t harm the lawn or any plants, try a mixture of water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid (check that this is compatible with the manufacturer’s instructions first).
Step 4: Choose the Safest Nozzle and Setting
When using a pressure washer, you can run the risk of cracking your windows or loosening window putty. So it’s crucial to pick the widest spray pattern using a 40-degree nozzle (white) or a 65-degree nozzle (black).. Next, select the lowest pressure setting—around 1300 to 1700 PSI—to avoid causing damage.
Step 5: Start from the Top
You want to clean the windows on your highest story first and work your way down to each level. That way, you can rinse away any streaks of dirty water that drop below. Because the area will get slippery when wet and pressure washers can cause a kickback, it’s unsafe to use one while standing on a ladder.
Instead, add an extension wand designed for a pressure washer in order to access the upper floors safely. The same rule applies to each individual window: Start at the top of the window frame and move down to the windowsill.
Step 6: Get the Position Right
To minimize the force of the sprayer, make sure to stay 3 to 5 feet away from the window at all times. You also want to stand at about a 30-degree angle to the window—in other words, don’t want to direct the pressure washer straight onto the window.
Step 7: Spray on Soap
Apply the cleaning solution to the window. , Move lightly and quickly over wooden window frames or caulking so as not to damage them. Ideally, try to clean your windows early in the morning on cooler days to avoid soap drying quickly on the windows, which can leave spots and streaks. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to only soap up a window or two at a time.
Step 8: Rinse with Clear Water
Finally, rinse the soapy residue off the window. You can do this with your regular garden water hose or use the rinse setting on the pressure washer. If there isn’t a rinse setting, you’ll have to empty the soapy water from the tank and refill the pressure washer with clean water. You can then use a squeegee or microfiber mop to minimize streaks and help get rid of excess water on windowsills to avoid mold growth or rot. Once the windows are completely dry, put the screens back in place.
Window cleaning is a relatively easy home maintenance task. But it can become daunting if you have plenty of windows or several stories in your home. You could even break your windows if you use a pressure washer with a pressure that is over 2000 PSI. To avoid injury or damage, calling in the pros is a good idea. Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring experts.
Before picking up the phone and making calls to local window cleaners, it would be ideal to put some work into finding the top companies in your area and narrow down the list to the top three based on criteria that closely match your needs.
As you perform research, one of the most important tasks you will perform is checking references. These references can be neighbors, co-workers, friends, or family. Also, read online reviews on sites such as Google, Yelp, Facebook, Angi, or Thumbtack.
The Better Business Bureau website is a good site to check up on a company. However, if the BBB doesn’t accredit the company, you won’t be able to learn more about its rating. Local sites such as TrustDale and the like provide consumers with insight into local business – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Is the company insured, bonded, or licensed? Does the local government require these credentials (and if they’re not required, has the business done its due diligence and done them anyway)?
These protections should be at the top of your list when you’re looking to hire a home maintenance specialist such as a window cleaner. This can be a very dangerous job, and if the workers aren’t insured, you run the risk of taking full responsibility for their injuries or any other legal obligations. Additionally, if they do terrible work and don’t have proper credentials, you may not have any course of action to take against the company legally.
Sure, you want a window cleaning company to clean your windows. But it can be helpful if they clean other parts of the window, such as your shutters, screens, and sills. It may also be helpful if the window company pressure washes other surfaces of your home in case you want a full-house cleaning. These things may not be dealbreakers, but hiring someone who could be a one-stop shop for all your window cleaning needs could be ideal.
Who doesn’t want great service for a bargain? But don’t let the low price of window cleaning be the only factor you consider. If you have narrowed your choices to your final three candidates and one of them has an exceptionally low offer, compare quotes and ask questions. You may assume they perform window cleaning tasks that they don’t.
Also, try to find out why some companies charge higher rates. Do they use better-quality cleaning products? Is the labor what’s driving up costs? Are there hidden fees?
You don’t want to choose your final candidate based only on price. But do try to see if there are some ways that can help you reduce costs. For instance, be sure to look at the website or social media of the business you are considering; you might discover media that they are offering a coupon code. Don’t forget to take advantage of discounts on other sites, such as Groupon or the like.
One of the most important things you should do when hiring a professional window-washing company is to get a written quote from each company you have contacted. If the business doesn’t provide one, that’s your sign that you should choose a different company that can minimize significant discrepancies between the quoted price and the final price.