Washing outdoor windows is never fun, but it is especially miserable when it is cold outside. Unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to clean off the winter grime so you can let the sunshine in, see through your windows and keep up on the household chores. With a few tips and a cost-effective homemade cleaning solution, you can effectively clean your outdoor windows in the winter and have them stay clean just a bit longer.
Assemble Your Supplies
First, assemble the necessary supplies to remove snow and ice from around the window. You can use a garden spade to shovel snow off the sill, and warm (not hot!) water to melt any ice from the window pain.
A sea sponge is an excellent choice for cleaning windows. It holds plenty of cleaning solution and is porous enough to remove stubborn spots on the glass. A squeegee to wipe away excess water is nice to have but dry towels or newspaper will do.
You will also need a cleaning solution. You can find our recommended homemade solution here or you can use another solution that you like.
If you need a ladder to wash your outside windows, make sure that it is secure and free from ice. You should ask someone to hold the ladder for you while you are on it, since the movement of washing windows can make it very unsteady.
Use Cold Water
It sounds backwards, but if it is cold weather when you wash your windows this winter you need to use cold or room temperature water in your cleaning solution. A sudden and severe temperature change can cause the glass to crack so never put a hot water solution onto the window.
Alcohol-Based Cleaning Solution
It is important to use a window cleaning solution that includes rubbing alcohol and/or vinegar. The vinegar and alcohol not only breaks up dirt, but it prevents water spots as the water dries and keeps the water from freezing. You can find our favorite homemade and cost effective solution here. Some people use a solution that includes antifreeze, like what you would put in your car, but we advise against that as it is harmful to the environment, can kill your plants below the windows and is not safe to breathe the fumes. Making your own solution is much safer and much, much cheaper.
Dress warmly in boots with good grips to help you stand securely on the latter, and wear a hat, and thick coat to stay warm.
Wear waterproof rubber gloves to protect your hands from the cold and the chemicals. Tuck your coat sleeves into the openings of the gloves so that your coat does not get wet.
If you encounter tough spots, let them soak for a few moments while you work on other parts of the window. Do not wait too long to clean the soaking spots, or the water might freeze. You can also use a razor blade to scrape off globs and gunk that is stuck on.
Braving the winter cold to wash your windows is a very noble endeavor indeed, and we wish you the best of luck!