We live in a “Do it yourself” world! People have learned that we are usually able to get professional results with a little knowledge and we like saving money. Cleaning window tracks falls into this category.
It is not necessary to know what kind of window tracks you have. If they are dirty, you can clean them. Some are very small with little room to work with. But that is not a problem, if you use the right tools for the job.
Before you get started, you need to understand; there are certain contributing factors that will determine the end results. For instance, if your windows are many years old and the frames and tracks are made from aluminum; corrosion will factor into the look of the cleaned tracks. If the tracks have been uncleaned and neglected, soil will have made its way into the corroded areas. Though your tracks can still be cleaned, they will not look like new tracks unless the corroded areas are sanded down. However, they will still be clean and look much better than before they were cleaned.
Here is a list of items you will need to clean your window tracks. Professionals use the same tools.
- Vacuum cleaner that has a hose and attachments for tight spaces
- Toothbrush (or wire brush of the same design)
- Butter knife, (putty knife will do)
- Clean (thin) rags
- Dawn dish washing liquid and a tiny amount of Tide washing powders (pinch)
- Bath towel
- Empty spray bottle
* Note: these do not have to be new items. An old toothbrush and scraps of material will do.
Place your vacuum cleaner beside the window you are going to clean. Fill a bucket with two gallons of water. Add a squirt of Dawn dish washing detergent (squeeze for only one second, you do not need a lot). Add a pinch of Tide Washing powders (about ¼ teaspoon). Gently stir the water with your hand until the Tide dissolves.
Place your bucket with cleaning mixture near the window you are going to clean as well as your rags and butter knife/putty knife, and toothbrush. Spread your bath towel out of the way. When you remove the window, you will place it on the towel, so place the towel on a safe place.
You now want to remove the movable part of the window from the frame. Look at the inside of the top track. There is usually a plastic tab (used to hold the glass in). Raise the window past that tab (towards the wall) and lift the window up and out. Place the glass on the bath towel and lean it against a wall where it will not get bumped.
Cleaning the track
Turn on your vacuum and begin vacuuming the tracks. While you are vacuuming them, use your toothbrush to brush the tracks to dislodge any packed or caked in soils.
Fill your spray bottle with your cleaning solution. Spray the tracks well. Now wrap your butter knife / putty knife with your rag (once) and scrub the tracks with the rag wrapped knife. This gets those hard to reach places or places where the soils are packed deeply. Repeat this process until the tracks are clean to your satisfaction.
Once the tracks are clean, you are going to wrap a clean and dry rag around the butter knife and remove the water from the track. You may need to do this twice to make sure the tracks are dry.
Before you replace the glass
Turn the glass upside down and clean the part of the glass that slides down into the frame. Use the same solution and a clean rag and then dry the glass.
If you omit this step, you will be re-soiling the track when you push the glass back in.
Make sure your glass is clean and dry and replace it the same way you took it out. That is it. That window and track is clean!
Go to the next window and do it again. It is easy, fast and inexpensive.
How This Saves You Money
The professional window cleaners normally charge about $5.00 per window to clean the tracks. If you have 20 – 30 windows in your house, that can add up quickly. As you can see cleaning tracks is not difficult and most anyone can do it.
However, if you already have a window cleaner that you use to clean your windows; speak with him about the tracks. He may charge you $100 or so the first time he cleans the tracks and then may continue to clean the tracks as part of your contract for a very nominal fee. In a case like that, it is smart to let him clean them. This will insure that your tracks are cleaned well and the problem of soil build-up does not come back.