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How to Properly Clean Casement Windows

Interior view of four large casement windows with wood trim

Casement windows are the preferred choice for homeowners seeking windows that provide good ventilation, energy efficiency, and ease of cleaning. They are hinged on one side and designed to swing open with use of a crank, making it possible to clean both surfaces of most casement windows without needing special tools or a ladder. With regular cleaning and maintenance, a casement window can look and operate just like new decades after installation.

How to Clean Casement Windows: Step by Step Guide

It doesn’t take a residential window cleaning professional to keep casement windows clean. In a few simple steps you can take your windows from grimy to gleaming.

Step 1

If you have a screen installed, rotate the screen clips up and lift out the screen. If you have a removable grill, take this out as well.

Step 2

Lift the lock handle and wind the crank until the window is in the open position. There should be a slot on the hinged side where you can reach both sides of the glass when it is open to a 90-degree angle.

Step 3

Clean any dust and debris from the edges of the window and track of the sash with a dry rag or brush.

Step 4

For a very dirty window, mix a few drops of dishwashing soap into a bucket of warm water.

Step 5

With a sponge or mop, use the water to scrub the outside and inside of the glass to remove the first layer of grime. Reach around the outside edge of the window to wash the outside of the glass.

Step 6

Clean both sides of the glass with your preferred window cleaner and paper towels or newspaper.

Step 7

Once it is thoroughly cleaned, dry the window frame and sill with a clean, dry rag.

Step 8

Close the window and reinstall grill and/or screen.

Considerations When Cleaning Casement Windows

Pay special attention to the edges.

When cleaning casement windows it is very important to clean the edges of the window all the way around. When a casement window is opened it extends outside the building and is exposed to the elements, allowing dirt and pollen to settle on the edges. This compromises the strength of its seal, decreasing the energy efficiency of the window.

Make sure you have the tools that you need.

Cleaning casement windows does not require any special window cleaning tools or solvents. Any commercial household glass cleaner wiped down with paper towels will be effective. An important but easy to miss step is to first remove all loose dust from the glass and frame with a dry paintbrush or lint-free cloth before beginning to clean with a liquid solution. For extremely grimy glass, prewash with water with a few drops of dishwashing soap, then use a spray.

Some homeowners prefer to use natural cleaners and avoid chemicals. If this is your preference, it is very easy to make your own glass cleaner at home by mixing 50% white vinegar and 50% tap water in a spray bottle.

Newspaper can also be substituted for paper towels in window cleaning for a more spotless shine. The dense fibers they are comprised are more rigid and therefore less likely to separate and cause lint. Additionally, some “fancier” paper towels have a coating that is nice to the touch yet can leave slight streaking when used on certain types of coated glass. Whatever method you prefer, be sure to dry the window glass thoroughly to avoid unattractive streaking.

Consider purchasing in-swing casement windows if installing on an upper floor.

Casement windows can be installed either to swing into the home (in-swing casement windows) or outwards into your yard (out-swing casement windows). If the window is placed at a height where it can be easily reached, cleaning will be simple regardless of direction.

However, for harder to reach windows, swinging inwards will help simplify the cleaning process.

How to deal with a difficult crank.

If you have any difficulty operating the crank mechanism when you begin window cleaning, it may need to be lubricated. Any spray lubricant like WD-40 will do the trick, just so long as it has a long narrow nozzle for precise application to the base of the crank handle. From there it will seep into the gears, hopefully solving the problem.

If the window is still hard to open and close, check the control arm track for debris. Once you scrape it out with a flat head screwdriver and clean the track, it should operate smoothly again.

How frequently should you clean casement windows?

Professionals recommend cleaning windows inside and out twice a year. Luckily for homeowners who have casement windows, it is easy to learn and a snap to complete with the cleaning supplies you already have around. Cleaning your windows regularly is all that a quality casement window needs to keep supplying you with a beautiful view for years to come.

As you clean your casement windows, inspect them for condensation and cracks.  If you notice a problem, your nearest Soft-Lite dealer can help.  Soft-Lite casement windows are some of the most energy-efficient windows on the market. Our wide range of style and color options make it easy to find a casement window that matches the aesthetic of your dream home. If you are interested in learning more, contact a Soft-Lite dealer near you!