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The Dos and Don’ts of Window Care

The Dos and Don’ts of Window Care

Your home’s windows are the windows to your world. To get a clear picture of what is in your world and to ensure your windows are working efficiently, it is crucial that cleaning, checking for, and repairing damage are a part of your home’s regular maintenance plan. In addition, certain things could affect your windows that you should and should not do.

Annual Check-Up


It’s important to have an annual physical or check-up to make sure you are working properly. The same goes for your windows.

DO | Pella, a Rosie-Certified Partner, suggests checking your windows for leaks, cracks in the paint or material, chipped paint, sealant cracks or breaks, and problems with sliding sashes or turning window cranks.

DO | Look out for leaks and improper drainage above or around vents and sprinkler systems that may subject your windows to prolonged water exposure.

DO | Inspect double-pane or insulated glass for signs of moisture forming between the panes. If moisture is present, call a window expert.

DO | Inspect the weather-stripping around the window frames. Replace stripping that is cracked, brittle, or has signs of other damage.

DO | Check the hardware. If you have trouble latching your windows or if any other hardware is worn out or sticks when you try to open or close the window, get those latches repaired. Otherwise, in a heavy storm, driving rain can pour through even the slightest opening into your house.

DO | DunRite Windows & Doors, a Rosie-Certified Partner, suggests cleaning out the weep holes just before winter. During Arizona’s summer monsoon season, dust storms cause your window tracks and weep holes to become full of debris. This will cause your windows to not be able to expel water at the speed intended. In turn, water will overflow the window track and run onto your windowsill and floor.

DO | Speaking of weather, look for leaks and other damage after a windstorm, rainstorm, or hailstorm.

Repair Damaged Caulking

The sealant or caulking around your windows helps ensure that they are watertight. If any part of the window sealant is cracked, broken, or completely missing, it needs to be fixed immediately. A cracked window sealant can let in water. Even minor leaks cause permanent damage.

DO | Inspect the window caulking, especially in the places where sealant problems are common: the bottom corners of windows and in between windows.

DO | Rosie recommends polyurethane caulk, also called butyl rubber, for caulking windows. This type of caulking stays flexible and does not dry out or crack. It’s also long-lasting.

DON’T | Use a razor blade, putty, knife, or abrasive pad when making repairs or applying caulk.

Clean & Lubricate Window Tracks, Frame & Rollers

Dirty window tracks prevent the window from sliding as designed. Dirt and debris build-up in the window tracks can cause the window to stick. Keep things rolling along smoothly.

DO | Regularly clean the tracks with a dry brush to keep your windows opening and closing smoothly. If there is extra gunk in the track use a vacuum with a narrow attachment first. Any grime that can’t be cleared away with a brush can be removed with soap and water.

DO | Use non-abrasive cleaners or water mixed with mild soap to clean frames, track, and rollers.

DO | Remove water and cleaner from the hinges, sealant, glass, and frame with a dry, soft cloth.

DO | Apply oil-free lubricant to the weatherstripping. Pella suggests Teflon® Dry Lubricant or Gulf Wax®.

DON’T | Use an oil-based lubricant. They attract dust and grime, which can clog up the window tracks and make it more difficult to open and close.

DON’T | Use abrasive pads, scrubbing or brushes, to clean window frames.

DON’T | Use petroleum-based cleaners or solvents.

DON’T | Leave traces of cleaners behind. The remnants could cause oxidation and staining on the frame.

Clean the Glass

One of the reasons for windows is to see what is happening outside and to let light in. See clearly with clean windows.

DO | To clean the glass, we suggest JAWS Glass Cleaner or mild soap mixed with water and a soft cloth or sponge.

DO | Hose down the sunscreens before you put them back on.

DON’T | Josh Lawlor, owner, Clearco Window & Carpet Cleaning, Rosie-Certified Partner, cautions “NEVER, EVER rinse your windows with a hose. The water in Arizona is very hard. Using a hose to clean windows pushes the hard water particles into the glass (which is full of microscopic pores) and bonds with the glass. This will ruin the clarity of the glass and it can never be fully restored!”

DON’T | Never power wash windows. The high pressure can crack or break the glass.

Check the Window’s Fit

Exposure to the elements, changing temperatures, general wear and tear, and settling can cause subtle changes to the size and shape of your windows and window frames. Make sure the window fits as it did upon initial installation. A bad fit leads to poor performance. Your windows will be less energy efficient and may allow air and water to get in.

DO | Examine every part of the window to check that they still fit properly. If your windows don’t open or close all the way, won’t lock completely, or have moisture somewhere, there may be a problem with window fit.

Fix Broken Glass

Broken glass is a safety hazard and looks bad.

DO | Have a professional fix/replace broken window glass and frames as soon as possible.

DON’T | Dennis Rusk, owner, ABC Glass & Screen Company, a Rosie-Certified Partner, does not recommend fixing broken glass yourself for two reasons, “It’s dangerous and it won’t look very good.”

Broken glass can further break, crack, or shatter. The edges are very sharp. You will get cut if you perform any parallel or sliding motion across them.

Miscellaneous Don’ts

DON’T | Install outdoor sprinklers near windows. Point them in the opposite direction.

DON’T | Place an outdoor heater close to a window. The heat could shatter the glass. Check with the manufacturer for the appropriate distance.

DON’T | Add attachments to the glass or frame, without approval from your window installer. People wrongly attach sunscreen frames to the window frame that keep the sliding window from sliding and/or penetrates the frame and causes leaks during rainstorms.

DON’T | Don’t allow sun rays to reflect off your windows and onto your artificial glass. The refractive UV rays and heat will eventually destroy it.

Doing the “dos” right and don’t do the “don’ts” will allow your windows to operate as designed, thus saving you money and headaches.



Broadcasting From Tucson Festival Of Books! Your windows are the weakest link inside your home’s envelope. To ensure they are working efficiently, inspecting and repairing any damage from caulking to cleaning the tracks and outside glass. We discuss the do’s and don’ts. We reveal the winner of our new home Mystery Sound and explain what it is. What’s the best way to remove an inground pool? And a product we recommend for cleaning vinyl surfaces.


Photo Credit

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