Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
I have tried several cleaners on my glass windows and display cases but end up with smears. I use a cloth, which I found worked better than paper towels, to clean the glass and then come back with clean dry rag to polish out the smears. But i can never get them to go completely and when the light changes throughout the day, they can look really bad at some angles.
I have used the usual, like Windex and such, and one formula from Consumer's Reports which is part vinegar, water, a little surficant (I use Polmolive) and a little lemon. Same problem.
One possible reason is that I heat with propane part of the time and it leaves a brownish film on everything. So I try not to use it much; only when the heat pump is not enough after the temperatures get below 20 deg.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
With the gunk put out by the propane heater, you may have to wash first with ammonia to clean it, then polish with your normal glass cleaner.
I don't know what is in the fumes, but they will cause silver to build up years worth of tarnish in just a month or 2. Nat. gas does it too. The only way to keep it from happening is to get special cloths impregnated with ?something from the jewelers to wrap the items in.
I do feel like they are hard to clean. I often have to wash them twice before polishing them with a clean cloth. But it is the glass that's the problem, not the items within.
I know a lot of window cleaners use ammonia, but I don't think that helps either in this case. I am at a loss. I worked 2 days on my 6 windows, 2 doors with windows in the upper half, 2 storm doors and one attegere and they have streaks.
I think most window cleaners don't really have much in the way of ammonia in them anymore--they may put a pinch in so they can say on the label that they have ammonia but for the most part they've replaced the ammonia with less smelly but also less effective ingredients. You'll know by the smell whether it's got enough ammonia in it to do any good, if it smells nice then you know there's not much ammonia! LOL
Now that I do not have gas heat, I just use a few drops of dish soap in a quart or so of water. I put a stack of torn up towell-rags in it and have another stack (12"X12" squares) of dry ones that if finish with. I use a small squeegee to clear off the most of the water, then polish. I have also put corn starch in the water to get a spectacular shine when company is coming. The glass seems to get cloudy pretty quickly after doing that, so I only do it for VIP family members.
I had to use straight ammonia to get the windows "clean-ish" enough to finish with the regular glass cleaner, when I had gas for heat/water/cooking.
Check your chimneys and vents. You may have a problem. I did. I almost died. I don't trust gas anymore...
Have you tried Murphy's Oil Soap? I have been usinging regular Windex to get the grime off but because I have it in my head that it leaves a residue that attracts dirt . . I follow up with plain vinegar and water. Jury is still out on that one.
I use a product made by Sprayway. It's a glass cleaner in a spray can. It's ammonia free and also said that it is streakless. I got it at Sam's and have been using it for about 6 months and really like it.
I just got this product a couple of weeks ago but have not tried it, it is called, Clean-X invisible Glass Shield and it is supposed to repel soil, dust, fingerprints and minerals. It says it is easily appied and lasts for months, keeps mirrors and glass sparkling, like new..lol
Anyway, I bought it from one of the Stained Glass companies that I order glass from, I thought I could use it on the shower doors, they make me cringe sometimes and I don't shower in those showers either, I use the tub.
I want to try this once these winds die down some and maybe this coming weekend I'll get to try it at least on the inside, but wanted to do the outside windows but I have to thoroughly clean them beforehand.
Try Greased Lightning. It will disolve years of yellow-brown buildup. Doesn't have much odor either. And - if you don't have it on your hands very long, seems to have no harmful effects. Throwaway gloves are always a good idea whenever using any chemicals.
Where can we find Greased Lightining? I'd love to try it in several areas here in this home we moved into 2 years ago, the well water has made all these stains in several areas and I've tried with a couple of other things but it is very slow going and lots of scrubbing.
thanks folks. I may just try that greased lighting. It is a yellow-brown build up, partly from the one propane heater we use if they power goes out and partly cigarette residue. My husband has tried to quit about a dozen times, but no luck so far.
The inside windows take a lot of scrubbing and scrubbing and then polishing with a clean cloth but still, some streaking remains. A squeegee doesn't work at all, nor a little dish liquid in water. We're talking mean scum here.
Your topic caught my eye since I don't buy commercial window cleaners anymore (too expensive for mostly water). I don't use ammonia for my standard spray since it can cause plastics (plexiglass, stereo component covers, etc) to get dull and cloudy. I use 1 cup on rubbing alcohol, 1 drop of dish detergent to 1 qt of water. The original recipe used to include 1/8 c ammonia but I found that the windows got dirty quicker so I dropped it. Most soaps/detergents require rinsing so why not leave out all but one drop for surfactant purposes? If there's a film build up on the glass, you may have to wash twice to get all of the residue (including ammonia) off of the glass. The alcohol also helps the windows dry quicker with less work (unless the window is cold). I'm a clean window fanatic but hate to clean them more often than I have to. I can also clean the window frame with the used damp cloth to keep them clean too.
I'm always looking out for cheaper and safer cleaning products.
Now that is an interesting solution. I wonder how it would do on the brownish build-up from propane and cigs. I use about 2 squirts of surficant in my vinegar solution. But I can see it need rinsing after that.
A potato? That's interesting! I hadn't heard that one before.
We have lots of windows, and I really want them clean so the light can shine in on these short winter days. I bought myself a good quality squeegee just a few weeks ago, and when we had a nice day (nice being relative. Here in MN that meant a high in the 20's above zero) I went out with a scrub bucket and my new squeegee. It worked great! I scrubbed several of the windows with plain warm water and one of my cheap scrub-rag washcloths and then squeegee'd them dry. No streaks at all! I just wish I could use that system indoors without making a mess!
The brownish buildup - on the window frames or on the glass? I've always used alkyd paint on interior woodwork (an unpopular choice but it holds up better and the windows don't stick when trying to open/close them) and I've found that oil-based paint does yellow over time. Anyway, you can try one of those Mr. Clean scrubbing sponges (which conform well to the shapes of various wood trims). In desperation, I've once used a mild bleach solution which also seemed to help remove some of the yellowing on woodwork.
I've also used Rain-x on my exterior storm windows which prevents dirt from sticking. I have noticed though on my car windshield that as it wears off, it can turn a little cloudy but that usually takes months. It does last longer on the storm windows though - a couple of years or more. I haven't tried it indoors.
I've tried using white vinegar too and I was always disappointed because it seemed to leave more streaks and cloud up rather quickly.
I'm going to go look in the garage right now for rain x . My windows get sooo dirty on the outside with the construction in the area and all of the woodstoves and fireplaces. I can clean them and a week later they are kinda' grey.
If you have a lot of dust/dirt in the air, any rain/water drops that do remain on your window (very few) will evaporate, leaving a little of the dust behind. A simple rinse with clear water should take care of that. Just make sure that when you apply the Rain-x that you buff it out really well with a clean dry cloth or it will leave streaks.
Does anybody here remember Glass Wax? ...the Pepto-Bismol-looking stuff that dried on the glass and then dusted off? I wasn't exactly a compulsive cleaner as a kid (!) but I loved cleaning windows with that stuff. I remember it working pretty well. It went off our area's market when I was still a kid, though. I saw it offered again once, years ago, in the Vermont Country Store catalog, but I didn't get it ordered -- tossed the catalog too soon, I guess.
I remeber glass wax. We used it in Hawaii, '92-'95. The salt would etch the glass if ya' didin't. I t would work great here where I have very hard water. I can't rinse the windows off with the hose, since it leaves the lime deposits behind.
I couldn't find rainX, but I found something like it and did the outside of three sliding glass doors. It's below freezing for the rest of the week, so I'll have to get to the rest of the house later. This has got to help.
Ooojen, it seems to me that as a youngster we used to use . . . oh what is that bar soap for dirtydirty hands??? Ummm, oh phooey! What is its name?!?! (You have my permission to fill in my blanks. It's been around for a thousand years.)
Anyway, we would dampen a sponge, sponge that soap mightily, then spread it about the window. Then . . . when the soap dried to a greyish film, towel it off and viola! Sparkling clean and jewel-like shiny! When I "came of age" as a young housewife I tried all the high-end bottled with a sprayer stuff and it never compared to the results I achieved when I finally compared it to the bar soap cleaning.
Today I am much lazier as a single housewife (married to the house?) and use the hose end sprays and a squeegy to clean the outside of all those stupid windows. Not perfect. But appropriate at my age and with the amount of work required to maintain a house all by myself.
There were 2 kinds of Lava: one had sand in it and the other didn't. My brothers loved that stuff as they were always messing with old cars and it cleaned them up perfectly. (My sister used the non-sanded for her pimples)
I found the best way to clean my glass and mirrors is with just a bit of liquid dish washing soap and a good professional squeegee. I picked up a tool in the hardware store that I use to wash the window. I don't know what it's called, but is shaped like a squeegee and has a removable cloth. It made a world of difference. My mirrors shine and seem to stay that way for a much longer time. Easy work and no special products needed!
I once bought a cleaner from a auto parts store that is used for windshields. I need to find some more because it didn't streak. I do have rain-X but my problem is inside so i don't know if it would help. The glass and the munions and the sills all get the same level of stickiness.
Try Dirtex... I washed the patio windows yesterday while the sun was streaming through and had no streaks at all. Normally when I use anything else they look clean... until the sun hits them, then you see streaks. I don't like paper towells for windows, so I have taken an old cotton tablecloth and cut it up in squares and use it solely for windows. When I put them in the washer I don't use any fabric softener.
I first learned about Dirtex when the painter at my daughter's house had gotten latex paint splatters on her natural woodwork. When she showed him, he said " no problem" and took out a can of Dirtex, sprayed some on a rag and wiped it clean. Since then I've been using it when I paint, if ( or should I say when ) I have any drops.
I really had not used it for windows until yesterday but will certainly buy it again.
Do you dilute the alcohol at all with water? I'm currently using alcohol, water and a drop of dish detergent but thinking of dropping the detergent after searching for a solution for toddler's handprints on LCD screens. The Monster screen cleaner doesn't seem to get it off and I've read recommendations of alcohol and water mixed. Some of the sources also say to use distilled water instead of tap water which would eliminate any mineral residue from the tap water. Still checking on this before trying on flat screen tv since I don't want to damage it in my haste to fix the problem.
I have never used it on a screen, so I can't say. I definitely use it on the keyboards. Actually, I usually just throw those into the dishwasher, but when I wash them manually, I use the rubbing alcohol in a bottle.
I'm still checking into that recommendation. DH has to approve before I'm willing to touch the wide screen. The flat screen upstairs is just at the right level for 3 yo hand prints which I can't get off with Monster.
3 flat screen tvs, 4 computer monitors all of varying ages; have used many different methods of cleaning and probably made some mistakes.
Bought products at the computer store that were labeled for use flat screen monitors (and contained alcohol) as well as ones that were labeled for use on flat screen and touted “alcohol & ammonia free”
What I have learned . . . maybe
1. Monitor should be off and cool
2. Never spray ANYTHING directly on monitor
3. Distilled water with a bit of vinegar is not harmful
4. Use microfiber cloths (and when laundering them do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets when drying)
5. Pushing directly on the LCD screen can often cause pixels to burn out-use light pressure
6. DO NOT use paper towels, tissues, toilet paper – any product that is a derivative of wood.
7. Constant use of ammonia can etch the screen and make it go cloudy. 50/50 isopropyl alcohol (IPA) seems acceptable by some but warns it leaves behind a film and eventually can cause yellowing & eventually screen can get brittle) IF USED ON A REGULAR BASIS.
Dryer sheets (the fabric softener sheets that you place in your clothes dryer) can reduce static cling on your TV screen just like they do so for your shirts. It's this static that attracts dust to your screen, so gently wiping the dryer sheet all over your screen will help.
CRT monitors have an antiglare optical coating almost identical to the coating on camera lenses and eyeglasses, the antireflective coating will be degraded over time with paper towels and windex; when asking the eye doctor how to clean eye glasses – he said, “Oh, just a shot of Windex” (he did not remember that they were coated with the antireflective coating).
A careful one time use of stronger products is ok . . . it is just continual weekly use that can cause challenges.
I did see most of the warnings when searching for a cleaning solution and that's how I found out about the alcohol. Some sites even recommend using distilled water with the alcohol so that there are no mineral deposits left behind on the screen. This would be used only for what the Monster cleaner doesn't remove and not as a normal maintenance routine. I do dust the screens regularly and only use the Monster about once a month (if that often). Just can't seem to get rid of one hand print though. I don't use ammonia at all for glass cleaning or framed pictures since I knew that ammonia can do damage to plastics. I'm wondering if using the tv has "set" that hand print onto the screen.
Thanks for your suggestions.
Yes. I put the keyboards in the dishwasher all of the time. You put it into the upper rack, keyside down, and don't use any detergent. Then you let it sit propped up against a wall to dry for a day or two. Saves a keyboard that has had drink spilled in it too.
DH checked owner's manuals and the only thing they recommend is 1 part neutral detergent to 100 parts water. So that's 1/3 oz to a quart of water. I guess I'll have to try that first before getting any more aggressive with it. I still like the idea of alcohol in a spray bottle for glass though.
DH has heard of keyboards in the dishwasher but I don't think he's willing to try it even though he's always spilling on his.
For the keyboard: If he doesn't want to put it in the dishwasher, how about into a sink or bucket filled with that neutral detergent mix that you show above, then a quick rinse and stand in front of a fan? I've thrown them away when DH spilled chili on his...that's $$ in the trash can. Right now his newest wireless one has some messed up keys from hot chocolate, I think I'll take out the batteries and try it. But first; what is a "neutral detergent"?
I wouldn't lead you wrong. Just wait until something happens and you are ready to throw a keyboard out. Then give it a try. I don't use any detergent at all in the dishwasher. I think it's also important that it's in the glass rack so that it's not constantly sitting in water.
The only downside is that sometimes you need a day or two for it to dry out completely. So buy a second keyboard, and do this with the messed up one. It really works. I used to throw out 3 or 4 keyboards a year before I started dishwashing them because I would drink coffee or coke at my desk.
And cook roasts on their car's exhaust manifold...
I'm irked that I didn't try to wash the chili out of the keyboard now. I didn't think that wires & water were a good combination and that it would cause rust. Like I said before: throwing the keyboard away was throwing money in the trash can. I'm glad to know that they can be washed, when necessary.
I took a computer course some years ago and the instructor said if you get food done in your keyboard, to fill your tub part way up and put your keyboard in it, face down and swish it back and forth for awhile. This is a guy who free-lanced repairing computers at people's homes and found a mouse nest in one.
Didn't the original computer have real BUGS in it!? Moths I think, and that is where the name "bug" for weird malfunction- came from. I hate the thought of where the name for "mouse" might have come from!
JuneyBug - You are exactly correct - the tech that found the moth (which shorted out the tube), taped it to the log that was maintained for all activities on and about the computer with the comment, "Debugged the comuuter".
We still use the term today. Each tube represented a single bit - they were about 6" tall. Computer occupied an airplane hanger and had less than 1024 bits (tubes). Grace Hopper was one of the principle designers and advocates. She was also the author of the COBOL computer language. Some think it is an obsolete language, but there are over 5 billion lines of COBOL active today.
I have only seen pictures of that machine, but did meet Captain Grace Hopper when I was in the Air Force in 1964.
Neutral detergent - I had bought a bottle of pH neutral (pH of 7) cleaner for granite. It's no rinse, biodegradable and phosphate-free. It's not supposed to attack the existing finish and leaves no film residue. It can be used on granite, marble, terrazzo, ceramic tile, vinyl, no-wax rubber and linoleum floors. Can also be used as an all-purpose cleaner for walls, woodwork, sinks and venetian blinds. It's a synthetic cleaner with organic surfactants (sounds like a contradiction to me). It's mixed with water.
Just want to let eveyone know "What NOT to get", I bought some glass cleaner for the fireplace shield sold at the hardware store for the stoves/fireplaces and don't know why I thought I'd try it on the mirrors in the bathroom... DO NOT USE it on mirrors, it looked fine when I wiped them with it and cleaned them, then it dried up later into a white film at the end of the day. I had to really wipe them down again with a dry cloth because the more I used a wet one, the more the film appeared. This stuff was supposed to clean and seal the glass on the fireplace, so it would be easier to clean, and maybe it did, it probably is good stuff, but don't use it on your mirrors. I haven't tried it on clear glass yet.
I love Trader Joe's, but have to go to El Paso or Albuquerque to find one..
OH! I bought the recommended glass cleaner for my pellet stove's glass window. Worked well. One day the window was really thickly dirty so I used 2 wet paper towels to "pre clean" it. Yep! You got it! The plain ol' wet paper towels did an excellent job. I don't know how it would work on the fireplace windows, but it's worth a try.
I use Dawn dishwasher detergent, about 1/4 teaspoon in a pint of hot water. Wash the mirror with this solution using a linen rag. Rub hard to remove whatever is on there. Rinse and repeat. Then rinse well with plain cold water, (using a different clean linen rag) then polish with my absolute favorite cloth- double damask linen- I buy them as napkins on ebay to use to clean...
I even bought an old "cutter" tablecloth to make my own rags. They work better than any expensive microcloth- no more streaks and mirrors are easy to keep clean after the first go through...
I actually have discovered dampened microfiber cloths work excellent on mirrors, glass, paneling and painted walls. I don't pay large dollars for them tho. The dollar store has packages of them in the automotive section for a great price. A tip I got from another DG thread.
I keep a few for use on the floor as they will quickly absorb spills as well as mop up spots.
We do have propane heat and a gas range and visits from a friend that smokes. I find using the damp microfiber cloth works excellent to wash the walls, leaving no telltale streaks.
We have bifold mirrored closet doors in our bedroom that DH has trouble keeping his fingers off of... lol. Always fingerprints and the microfiber cloths will quickly swipe them off the mirror. The reflection tells how well.
If an item is heavily sooted, like the glass fireplace doors (two fireplaces), I will wash them first with a detergent and then rinse / dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
I keep one in the car to swipe the foggy inside of the windshield leaving no streaks.
Hmmm... can I brag more? It also swipes cat hair off the upholstered furniture.
Oh yes, I keep some for dishcloths and they wipe the frig down leaving no trace of the human touch. And when done with dishes, a quick swipe of the stainless sink and faucet insures no water spots and stains are left behind. That is wonderful as I fight hard water here.
I keep a stack of the microfiber cloths at home and work and hope to never be without. Wish my Mom had discovered them... would have saved us lots of "elbow grease"!
Yes the formula Consumer's Reports made up has some liquid dish detergent in it. I dropped Dawn (was rated #1) after they came out with all those tutti-fruitti color and scents but weakened their formula. Polmolive is now top rated. But if you use any liquid detergent in your glass-cleaning formula, you are gonna have to rinse.
this IS interesting. Im in Charlotte, NC from NYC and cannot get straight ammonia in either city.
and yes you're right.
the amounts of ammonia used in other product are usually so small they are ineffective.
but yes I too love those microfiber cloths too.
been trying for ages to get Hon to use them rather than those caustic/toxic cleaning products!
LOL, that is so funny and wonderful. Glee was also my Dad's name. It was actually Jesse Glee. The story was that as a circuit preacher, my grandfather finally quit using the horse and buggy and started riding a penny farthing (one of the bicycles with the huge front wheel and the little rear wheel). On the way home from church one afternoon, he ran across a group of black children playing in the road. They were terrified of this huge contrapion and ran. One fell and the others screamed in horrow, "Get up, Glee, get up!" When my grandfather arrived home, his wife was in labor and when the baby, my dad, was born, they named him after an uncle and that child. Would you believe when I heard the story, they referred to black children as pickininnys. It's a shame that is a racist word; because I think it's cute but I don't know precisely what it meant. It sure beats call children yard rats or knee biters.
Yes and I read to clean each side both vertically and horizontally. I finally got the Greased Lightning and it seems to work better than anything I tried before, but rinsing with clear water helps too.
RainX on the inside of shower doors keeps away the water marks. You do have to reapply every few months however.
I use the Grease Lightening for almost everything! Works great in the kitchen and bathroom especially.
Cloth baby diapers for cleaning windows helps with the streaking, but I don't have the yellow/brown stuff you guys are talking about, just hard water.
I saw a post about using fingernail polish remover, but it will eventually etch the glass and remove any paint from the sills.
Thanks for all the great tips though, I will be looking for the dirt X. Now all I need is a cleaning fairy to do all the work!
I am pretty happy with Greasy Lighting too. I have found that rags work much better than paper towels and you can wash for use another day. But in the case of difficult work ( I have a textured door and the dog jumps up on it when he wants to be let in), I use a brush with the Greased Light.
to think I used to clean windows and mirrors - while in high school - SEVERAL decades ago
- using water and newspaper printed sections (no glossy).
. . .and it "worked" - if it didnt: there would be no going out/socializing for me!
- so i DO remember it. left my fingers grimy too! ha ha ha
Have been sticking with DirtX for no streak window cleaning; using Greased Lightning for heavier jobs; haven't tried it on windows; must do that. Actually killed a big fat spider with Greased Lightning today - LOL Thanks, everyone for the input on this thread . . . priceless!
(never did understand using dirty newsprint for cleaning windows; my mother did it but back in her day there wasn't much available and it was inexpensive)
I have to admit, since I started using those microfibre cloths, I've been pretty pleased with them. They seem to shine up glass and other shiny surfaces really well with just water. I don't have to contend with tobacco smoke or gas residues, thankfully, but since I got some of those cloths, I've hardly used any cleaning sprays at all. The bottles of cleaner are just sitting under my sink, gathering dust. You do have to be careful when you wash the cloths, no fabric softener, no dryer sheets, no bleach. I can't say I've noticed any difference between the expensive cloths and cheaper ones either. One other thing I wanted to suggest for any kind of stubborn dirt or grunge, is steam. I was given a steam cleaner machine and it's down right amazing, no matter what the grunge is or how long it's been there. And everything is as sanitized as you could wish for, nice for the kitchen and bath, and NO chemicals. Main drawback with mine is it's a bit heavy & awkward and it's not much fun to use on a hot day unless the AC is on, plus you do have to wait a bit for it to heat up before you use it. But it does a great job. Mine came with a squeegee attachment and it did a fabulous job on the shower tile and bathroom mirrors, and the grout is like new. Dries virtually instantly, no marks or spots at all and the water here is pretty hard. It might be a problem to use on large windows, the machine I have doesn't have a very long hose, but I think newer machines are better that way and lighter too. I was surprised at how very effective simple steam can be.
We had our dining room windows tinted with a plastic tint to cut some of the heat. (We won this product and installation at a home show) When the man came to install the tint he washed the windows very well. He used alcohol and a squeegee. He cleaned up the window sills and wiped his squeegee with paper towels.
We have to be careful with alcohol on the painted surfaces; it can soften and remove paint. When I took tole painting class we clean up mistakes with alcohol; I spilled a cup of brown paint in my garage one day and got the majority up with paper towels. The rest of it came up with alcohol on the paper towels.
The tint installer said not to use a product with ammonia to clean the tinted side. It might go through the tint and dissolve the adhesive.
I want one of those steamer cleaners. Now that I lost my job, along with all the part-time employees at the library, I have been doing a lot of house cleaning. Boy, did it need it. While I was shampooing a carpet runner, I noticed everything I had finished was blue but everything yet to be washed was grey. Also washed all the wood floors today . Wonder why the house smells so much better?
Now there's a tough question to answer, hmmm ? :-))) ! Actually that's one of the nicest things about the steam cleaners.. they leave no scent behind them. Air just smells clean and fresh and no fake fruity pong from a bottle of cleaner. On the subject of tinted windows.. a friend of mine had a condo once with a south west exposure and the heat gain was fierce, even in winter. She's on a pension and wanted some way to cut back on the sun coming in without having to invest in curtains or blinds, as she didn't plan to live there for too long, plus she likes the bare window with hanging plants look. Someone gave her a roll of thin mylar film, similar to what they make those shiny silver balloons out of, or a snack bag, come to think of it. She applied it to the inside of her windows, using a bit of water and a squeegee, just the way you'd put one of those vinyl film decals on a window. It worked quite well and from the inside it was virtually invisible. Outside of course, it looked like she'd covered her windows in aluminum foil, like some kooky character on TV afraid the aliens were reading their thoughts :-). Her neighbours were not thrilled with it, but it solved the problem for the time she lived there and it came off without a great lot of effort. Somehow, I expect that professional tint job looks much, much nicer than the mylar did !
Well, it does look nice from the outside. It's very pricey! They wanted $500 to do the front bedroom windows. In some ways I wish we had not done it in the dining room. We like to use the sun in the winter, and this stuff is almost permanent. We are thankful now that we didn't have it done to the front bedroom. In the winter we get lots of heat coming out of that room and can even warm up the rooms next to it with the solar gain.
While we were in Kingman and Lake Havasu City, AZ we saw that lots of people put up outside window covers made with "solar tech" shade cloth. It's wonderful. We covered the windows on the west side of our house with it - and it really helps cut down on the heat. We can remove them in the fall and make some for the south windows for summer sun, too. It's more expensive to cool here than heat our home. And of course we cannot wash the windows with the solar tech on them. We have to wait for fall. LOL I'm thinking that if we paint the stucco a lighter color we would save the cost of the paint in the first year or two.
I'm new here, but I'd like to throw my two-cents worth in anyway. I have used a homemade cleaner for years and it will just about clean anything, windows included. You just put equal amounts of ammonia, vinegar and alcohol into a clean spray bottle. The vinegar and ammonia cause a chemical reaction that heats it up a bit, but isn't dangerous and won't "boil over" or anything like that. Be careful, though, because the mixture can soften or even strip some kinds of paint. The best wiping cloth to use is a cloth diaper, but an old t-shirt comes in at a close second.
The first house we ever owned, almost 40 years ago, had ancient windows coated with ancient scum which had actually etched the glass. We lived in an area where most people heated their homes with coal and the smoke settled on all surfaces. Those windows were clouded so badly nothing would clean them until a friend told me to use Comet cleanser on them. I was afraid it would scratch the glass, but figured I had nothing to lose by trying because I couldn't see out of them anyway. To my utter amazement, the Comet worked and the glass in those old windows just seemed to disappear. My husband thought I could walk on water after that and I've never bothered to correct him. . .
Good for you, numbercruncher! My husband thought for years that I had a phenomenal memory. When I wanted to put food away I'd go to the tupperware storage cabinet and look for a specific container that I had in mind. If it wasn't in the right place I asked him where it was, because he frequently forgot containers at work. They were usually in his office refrigerator or on his desk. He didn't know that I only asked about it because I had planned to use it. He thought I had an inventory of the entire tupperware stock in my head. I've never told him the truth! LOL
It doesn't work now because I have containers that are all alike and all the lids fit two sizes of containers. Even DH can match the lid and the container.
When I was a kid, we had something called Bon Ami, which was sort of fun to use, which was Mom's way of getting us to help wash windows. It came in a solid white bar the size of a hand soap. You dampened it and wiped it on the glass with a damp cloth and let it dry there. It left a white swirly haze on the glass. Then you rubbed off the dry residue with a dry soft cloth. Used to work like a charm and there were never any streaks.I haven't seen a bar of Bon Ami in decades, I'm afraid. Have no idea who made it or where it came from, though it was very common at the time. Good thing mixing ammonia and vinegar doesn't make a toxic gas like you get if you mix an acid with bleach ! Not surprising it affects paints..full strength ammonia was very popular for stripping paint & varnish in my Dad's day and even used to be used to turn oak a dark brown colour you couldn't get with ordinary wood stains. I think they called it fumed oak, as it was done with the ammonia fumes, not the liquid, though you can get a similar effect with the liquid. You would need to be careful using it on painted or varnished surfaces unless it's well diluted. Never could stand the smell of ammonia ! My Mom used it to clean her oven racks and oven. She put a small dish of it in the oven with the door closed, and put the racks in a plastic garbage bag with a small dish of it and tied the bag shut tightly. Let the fumes work overnight. Next day most, if not all, of the baked on drek is soft brown mush that washes off very easily.
Yep, phfurballs, that's it! That's what we did! And when I next undertake window washing, that's what I'm going to use again [chuckling]. Right now, with temps at 111-112 degrees in the Central Valley of California, it's all I can do to keep up with my baby plants' watering needs.
And, BTW, after a day's worth of garden work, it does wonders to clean up your hands and sandal-covered feet.
Bon-Ami also came in a can like Comet or Ajax. Was much easier to use than Glass Wax which was a pink liquid that dried to a while film, and was almost impossible to get it all off, and the dust was everywhere.
I am so tickled to find out Bon Ami is still around ! I may just order some one of these days. Interesting to find out what it's made out of, never did know what was in it. But it sure did work a treat !
We live near O'Hare Airport and our windows are always dirty with what I believe is airplane oil/fuel residue and highway dirt. I can wash them at least twice a year.
I love Greased Lightening and would recommend that for really greasy/oily residue needing removal. But rinsing is definitely necessary with that.
For the outside, I use water and ammonia first and wipe them down then wipe them with clear water - I let them airdry but I have soft water so they don't water spot. Then I follow up with a canned spray product called Invisible Glass. I used to buy it at Sam's Club but they don't carry it anymore so my neighbor and I split 12 for effective shipping costs. We both think it's pretty remarkable stuff for no streaks. I've tried everything under the sun and love this stuff. I just use Invisible Glass for the inside but we're not smokers or anything.
Oh yeah, and using cloth is the key (I use old bedsheets) - I found paper towels added to the streaking as did newspaper.
Oops sorry... Invisible Glass is a glass cleaner in an aerosol spray can. I've used Hope's Perfect Glass and when you could buy Cinch, I used that but I still got streaks with them. I really do love the Invisible Glass. I saw the posts above about using Rain-X. That's interesting and I'll have to try it. I love how it works on my windshield.
Ha! I just googled it for the website and it looks like they have Invisible Glass with Rain Repellant. I looks like you may be able to get from free samples from their website.
medinac - I've been happy using the Rain-X on the exterior side of my old, scratch windows. They shed dirt and water so much better. I'm a clean window freak so I don't have to clean as often. For cleaning, I've been using rubbing alcohol mixed with water for the past couple of months and have been very happy with it. Way less streaking and clouding than with ammonia or dish detergent.
CindyM - Thanks - I need to do my windows this fall so I think I'll try the water and alcohol too. What ratio do you use? If it works as well as the Invisible Glass, why spend the extra money for it. I'm glad to hear the Rain-X helps. I really like to have clean windows too but I always feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.
Ever since Andidandi mentioned using only alcohol, I cut out all of the other additives (dish soap, ammonia, etc) and have had less clouding and streaking and it dries quicker. Instead of straight alcohol though, I mix mine with some plain tap water. I'm using about one cup of alcohol to a quart of water. I'm guessing that if the glass is really dirty, you could increase the amount of alcohol. Even with smokers in the house, the windows sparkle.
Bubba - You are more diligent than I am. I don't think DH is going to wipe it down every morning. :) These are old shower doors and seem to really collect the soap scum. I do scrub them down every couple of weeks but I was wondering if Rain-X would help in the interim.
We hung a window squegee on the shower rod - made it easy to wipe down - less than 30 seconds -all done.
When I was working in Phoenix, we were in a client-rented apartment (two of us shared an apartment) .
I used to wipe down the complete tiled shower after drying - the hard water made a mess of the tile and doors. We had to launder the towels every day anyway - one of those TINY over/under washer dryer units.
Took a week vacation - almost had to break out a single edge razor-blade to get the scale off. Rain-X ed the next day.
I've never had to deal with hard water deposits but I understand it's a nightmare. I have a squeegee in my shower that I use on the glass door but the door is relatively new (8 years old) compared to the tub shower doors (30+ years old). Way overdue to replace those anyway. Bath soaps these days leave such a residue. I used to swear by Zest leaving the least amount of residue but not anymore. I'm going to try the Rain-X the next time I clean the tub doors. Thanks for that tip.
Hey! Maybe that's the question that should be answered. What is the soap that leaves the least scum? I used to clean houses and Irish Spring bars left horrible scum in all the tubs and showers. My DH uses a liquid soap with lots of moisturizer - I prefer one that's just a clear cleaning soap.
We have pretty hard water, and I hate those glass shower doors. Plastic liners go in the washer, and I can use a pretty fabric curtain. That's half my answer to the shower scum.
gavafriend - I agree with you on the soap scum question. I have more issues with that than with hard water. We get Lake Michigan water which is only a little on the hard side and don't require a water softener. Bar soap is Zest (still) since I have no clue what other soap would leave less scum. I use a liquid soap with moisturizers that leave streaks on the glass door. Using a squeegee (which I do) usually smears it around even more. Hmm, new thread or remain here with the question?