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How to Clean Windows You Can’t Reach

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Cleaning windows you cannot reach is a daunting task. There are things you need to consider such as the equipment required, the height of the windows, and your safety. The following is an option that will help you know how to clean outside windows you can’t reach.

How To Clean Windows You Can’t Reach

The following is a list of cleaning supplies you will need to clean windows you can’t reach. Take note you may not use all of them.

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • Some clean, towels, or rags
  • A bucket

Once you’ve gathered everything you need, you can clean your windows simply creating a lather in a bucket using the soap and water is enough. Dip a clean cloth or rag into the bucket and use it to wash the window in circular motions. Finally, dry your windows with a dry cloth or rag.

Before you Start

For your safety and to make the cleaning process easier, you need to make the necessary preparations. Create a clear path between you and the windows you want to clean. For example, if the windows are close to tree branches, cut them off. Alternatively, find a way to access the windows without compromising your safety. 

Woman trying to clean her windows

Some windows have grills on them. This may prove difficult to clean. You may be required to spend more time cleaning such windows. Always remember each situation has a unique solution. Factors such as the location, height, type of windows, and so forth will determine whether or not you can clean such windows.

Cleaning Windows You Can’t Reach Without a Ladder

Common sense dictates using a ladder or similar device to clean windows you can’t reach. What if you cannot get a ladder? Do you stop the project and move on? Of course not! There are several creative ways to clean such windows including disassembling the windows.

Unfortunately, you can’t disassemble every type of window. The most common type of windows you can easily remove and replace are sliding windows. If you have this type of window, you can use the below guide to clean any windows you can’t reach. 

While sliding windows might be in areas you can reach, sometimes they’re easy to clean. The good news is that you can easily remove such windows from their supports and frames. Knowing how to go about this will ensure you can clean them effectively.

Step 1: Remove the Windows from their Frames

Inspect the window that you want to remove. Look for any special locks used to keep the windows in place. Some are at the bottom or the top of the window track. Once you have located them, remove them using either pliers or a screwdriver. The tool you will use is determined by the type of window securing devices installed.  

In some sliding windows, they install screws at the top or near the top of the frame. These screws prevent outsiders from opening the windows when you have locked them. Use the appropriate screwdriver to remove these screws. Check the entire window frame, panels, and tracks where applicable. 

Once you have found all securing devices and measures, you can remove them. Make sure you have an extra hand to help you if it is a large window. You can remove some windows by lifting while others just slide off their panels. Your type of sliding window will determine how you will remove it.

Bonus: While you’re at it, give your window frame a good cleaning too.

Step 2: Start the Cleaning Process

The hardest part, removing the windows, is over. Now you will need to clean them. Cleaning windows will not require any special materials. Some dishwashing soap, a couple of clean empty buckets, water, and clean rags are enough.

The first step is creating a lather in a bucket using the soap and water. The lather should not be thick. Ideally, you can use one part of soap to about seven parts of water. Use one part of soap to five parts of water if the windows are extremely dirty. 

Person cleaning his outside windows

Place the window on a suspended surface. You can place empty containers of the same size upside down and place the window on them. For instance, you can place empty cardboard boxes of the same size under each corner of the window.

Step 3: Wash the Window

Once the window is suspended, use the lather you prepared earlier to wash the window. Dip a clean cloth or rag into the bucket with lather and use it to wash the window. Use even and gentle circular motions. 

Turn the window and repeat the process on the other side. Make sure both sides have been thoroughly cleaned.

Step 4: Rinse the Window

Now you can start rinsing. Use another rag, yet this time do not use the bucket with soap and water. Instead, fill another bucket with clean water. 

Dip in the rag, let it soak water and remove it. Remember you should only use the water-soaked rag to rinse the window. 

Step 5: Check Your Work

Continue the soaking and rinsing process until you remove all the lather from the window. Turn the window on the other side and repeat the process. When you finish, find another clean and dry rag and use it to dry both sides of the window. The dry rag will remove any dirt or debris left. 

Once you feel satisfied with your work, you can assemble the sliding window. If you have many sliding windows, ask for help from close friends, a family member, or hire someone. When you clean hard to reach windows by yourself, you will save several hundred dollars.

Cleaning Windows You Can’t Reach Using a Pressure Washer

In some cases, you can use a pressure washer to clean windows that are hard to reach or you can’t remove them. You will need to set up everything before you start. Materials you need for this option are:

  • Pressure washer
  • Window cleaning solution

The cleaning process in this case is quite straightforward as long as you know what to do. The following steps will guide on how to effectively clean hard to reach windows using a pressure washer and a cleaning solution.

Step 1: Rinsing the Windows

Start by using the pressure washer to rinse off any excess dirt and debris from the windows. Point the washer’s nozzle to each window and wash for about a minute. This will get rid of any dust and debris that may be stuck on the window. 

Woman trying to clean outside windows she can't reach

Step 2: Setting Up the Washer

After you are done rinsing, pour your window cleaning solution in the washer’s reservoir. It is a container that is on the washer and is usually filled with water. Drain the water before you pour the cleaning solution into the reservoir. Do a test run on your sidewalk to see if the cleaning solution comes out with the desired pressure. If it does not, you can adjust the pressure accordingly. 

Step 3: Apply the Cleaning Solution

Aim the tip of the pressure washer to a window and start spraying. Ideally, you should spray enough cleaning solution to cover the entire window. Use a 45-degree angle instead of spraying directly on the window. 

The angle will ensure the cleaning solution gets rid of any dirt or debris that was still on the window after the first rinse. Make sure you apply the cleaning solution from the top of the window and move towards the bottom. Repeat the same process on all windows you cannot reach. 

Step 4: Leave the Cleaning Solution on the Windows

Let the solution sit on the windows for a few minutes. Make sure you do not wait for the solution to dry. If it dries, the rinsing process may take longer. Additionally, the windows will not be as clean as the solution may leave smudges. 

Step 5: Rinse the Windows

As you wait for the cleaning solution to settle and clean the windows, you can be removing the remainder of the solution from the pressure washer’s reservoir. Make sure you completely drain the reservoir. Connect the washer to your source of water.

Turn the tip to general use, which will settle at a 15 to 20-degree angle. This offers a stronger pressure stream. The stronger pressure will ensure you get rid of all the cleaning solutions. It will also ensure any dirt or debris loosened by the cleaning solution will be completely removed. 

Spray water from the top of the windows as you move downwards. Once you have removed all the cleaning solution from the windows, leave the windows to dry. Ideally, the whole process should take less than an hour depending on the number of windows you are cleaning. 

Cleaning Windows You Can’t Reach with a Professional Service

You may not have the time and tools to clean hard to reach windows. If this is the case or if you still feel insecure about this process, you can always look for professionals who have the tools and expertise to clean your windows. Such companies are available and can do the job for a small fee.

Final Thoughts

You can use the above tips to know how to clean the sliding windows you can’t reach. Be very careful when using a ladder. If you are doing it for the first time, it may be wise to enlist the help of a friend or family member. Otherwise, get a professional window cleaning company to do the job.   

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.