What’s the best way to clean outside windows? Cleaning tips for hard-to-reach areas

Cleaning upstairs windows can be tricky! Here’s some advice on how to clean outside windows.

Updated

dirty window ready to be cleaned

Over time, dirt builds up on a window, and it begins to filter the sunlight coming into your home. Having sparkling clean windows and sun-filled rooms can make a real difference to your mood, but cleaning upstairs windows can be daunting. Here’s how to clean hard-to-reach windows.

Keep a lint-free cloth with you to wipe the wet windows once you've cleaned them to avoid getting water streaks on your windows.

How to clean outside windows from outside

Remember that your safety is the most important thing. If a window is only accessible by ladder, it’s best to call in a professional. Never climb onto a windowsill when cleaning upstairs windows – there are better and safer ways to access and clean them.

Cleaning upstairs windows from a sturdy, well-fenced balcony is fine, although you should still be cautious.

One option is using a telescopic squeegee. Some squeegee handles are designed to extend to several metres, allowing you to clean upper windows from ground level. Of course, this will only be appropriate for some homes. You’ll need to stand at a point where you can look up at the window and reach it comfortably, but that’s no use if it puts you in the middle of the road!

How to clean Velux windows from inside

If you have slanted roof windows, they’re probably Velux. Fortunately, these are designed with how to clean outside windows in mind! The entire window can rotate until the outside is on the inside, so cleaning Velux windows is a simple matter; there’s no need to go climbing around on the rooftops.

Open the window by pulling down on the horizontal bar at the top. As you continue to draw the bar down, the window will rotate almost fully, until the outside is on the inside and the horizontal bar is at the bottom.

The ‘top’ of the window, now at the bottom, should have a horizontal bolt on one side. Once you’ve rotated the window as far as it can go, slide this bolt into the corresponding hole in the window frame. This will lock the window in place with the outside pane facing you, and you can now clean the window normally.

Never put more than your arm out of an upstairs window. If you’re not sure how to clean outside windows safely, call in a professional.

How to clean outside windows from inside using equipment

Bringing the outside to you may be the best way to clean outside windows, but unfortunately it’s not always possible. What do you do if a window can’t rotate?

If you’re prepared to invest in specialist equipment, magnetic window cleaners are essentially two-part squeegees that clean both sides of a window simultaneously. As you move one half across the inside of the window, it magnetically draws the other half across the outside.

There are a few things to bear in mind if you’re using a magnetic window cleaner:

  • Get the right cleaner for your window. If a magnetic window cleaner is designed for double glazing, the magnets may break a single pane of glass.
  • Spray cleaning solution on both sides of the window, not just the outside, so you can pull the cleaner across smoothly.
  • If you can’t apply cleaning solution to the entire window, just spray plenty on the part you can reach and then draw it across the window with the magnetic cleaner itself. Never lean out of the window when cleaning upstairs windows.

With these tips, you’ll be set for cleaning Velux windows, and you should have some ideas for how to clean outside windows of other types as well. Good luck!

Key steps

Here are the main things to remember when cleaning upstairs windows:

  • When cleaning Velux windows, rotate the window and lock it into place to access the outside.
  • Tools exist to help: telescopic squeegees can clean upper windows from ground level, and magnetic window cleaners can clean the outside of a window while you clean the inside.
  • Always take care to prevent a fall.

Originally published