New windows look lovely. The clear glass has no buildup of grime, scratches, streaks, or other remnants of your last attempt to clean. So now comes the harder part: keeping the new glass clean without once again leaving streaks, lint, and missed dirt.
Fortunately, this task is actually not that difficult. The secret is in the tools you use. Most people have been brought up to use either a commercial glass cleaner and paper towel or a vinegar-water mixture and newspaper. While these are better than nothing, they aren't necessarily the best.
What you really need won't cost much and won't take up much more of your time.
Do Vinegar and Newspaper Really Work?
First, let's address the vinegar and newspaper because these two items are usually what people switch to when looking for tips to get streak-free glass.
Newspaper can be problematic because different printing companies use different types of ink. While newspaper itself won't leave lint, if it has the wrong type of ink on it, you could end up with streaks when you wipe the glass with the paper. Some papers don't leave streaks, but you'll have to try different ones.
One other problem with newspaper that is shared with paper towels is that, if you use them to wipe the dirty window clean, you're not really lifting the dirt off the glass. You're getting some of it, of course, but a lot of just gets shoved into the margins of the window.
As for the vinegar, it's very good when you have really grimy spots. You can soak the grime with vinegar to cut through the gunk, making it easier to remove. For general cleaning, though, your best choice is, of all things, a drop of dishwashing soap in water.
What Should You Really Use?
Skip the newspaper -- when you want to remove the cleaner you've used, you're better off using a squeegee that has a rubber edge on one side and a netted sponge on the other, known as a strip applicator.
You can get a long squeegee for big windows; if you have smaller panes, like in multipane windows, cut the squeegee down to size. You may need a small saw for this, so if you don't have one, see if your neighbors do or if a local hardware store would be willing to cut the squeegee down.
Dip the strip applicator in your cleaning solution, and use that side to spread the solution on the glass. For small areas like corners, you can use a handheld sponge to scrub in there.
Cut it so that the rubber edge extends past the holder by a small bit on both sides. That way, the holder won't scratch the glass. Don't leave too much on either side, though, lest the rubber ends bend when you try to run the squeegee along the glass. This Old House recommends leaving 1/8 of an inch on either side.
You can take additional steps like adding anti-stain coatings. But the soap, water, squeegee, and final drying with something like chamois is all you really need for a basic clean.
How Often Do You Need to Do This?
The more you clean, the less dirt you'll have to deal with each time. However, you don't have to do a deep clean -- the type where you're taking a sponge and scrubbing at a tiny corner -- that often. You can do deep cleaning each month or twice a year, if you prefer.
Proper care helps glass stay clean and look good for years, but if something happens in the meantime to mar the surface, contact Blue Ridge Glass Inc. to see about repairs or replacement. Clear, clean windows have a major positive impact on how your home looks. Keep those windows in great shape so you get the best look possible.