Avoiding Common Mistakes: Pitfalls to Steer Clear of When Cleaning Wooden Windows

Cleaning wooden windows seems like a straightforward task, but there are some common mistakes many homeowners make that can damage the wood over time. 

By being aware of these pitfalls, you can clean your wooden windows properly and help preserve their beauty. In this article, we’ll go over the top mistakes to avoid when tackling wooden window cleaning.

Using the Wrong Cleaning Products

One of the biggest mistakes people make is using harsh cleaners not designed for wood. LondonBoxSash noted that products with acids, bleach, ammonia, or other harsh ingredients can strip away protective finishes on the wood or discolor it. Instead, stick to mild, wood-friendly cleaners specifically made for cleaning wood surfaces without damaging them. Check the label to make sure it says, “safe for wood.”

Another product to avoid is vinegar. While great for cleaning glass, vinegar is too acidic for cleaning wood window frames and sashes and can cause deterioration over time. So, skip the white vinegar and reach for a wood cleaning solution instead.

Letting Dirt and Grime Build Up

It’s tempting to let those windows go longer between cleanings, but allowing lots of built-up dirt, pollen, pollution, and grime to cake on can make them much harder to clean later. Getting ahead of the buildup by washing wooden windows at least a few times per year helps prevent stubborn staining issues down the road. always easier to wipe away fresh dirt than baked-on gunk!

Neglecting to Clean Underneath Window Sashes

When cleaning wooden windows, it’s important not to neglect the underside of movable sashes. This surface collects just as much dirt as the rest of the frame but often gets ignored. Make sure to lift the sashes and clean both the top and bottom of each one to prevent extra grime buildup in hard-to-reach crevices.

Skipping the Weatherstripping

The weatherstripping along your windows’ edges not only helps prevent drafts but also collects plenty of dust and dirt. However, many people forget to clean this component when tackling their window washing. Make sure to run a damp cloth or soft brush along all weatherstripping during cleaning to keep it dirt-free and functioning properly.

Using Abrasive Tools and Materials

Never use abrasive scrub brushes or scouring pads on wooden windows! Scouring pads and brushes made for tough jobs on pots and sinks are too rough for finished wood. Using them can slowly scrape off protective coatings or scratch the surface. Make sure to use a soft microfiber cloth, sponges, or a gentle brush instead.

For hard water stains or paint splatters that need a bit of elbow grease, try a “non-abrasive” cleaner and soft brush or cloth specifically made for delicate wood surfaces. Avoid going at stuck-on grime with just any stiff scrub brush.

Leaving Excess Moisture Behind

While wood windows need a good wipe down to get them clean, leaving too much wetness behind can damage the wood over time. Always dry wooden window sashes, frames, sills, and trim thoroughly with a clean, soft cloth after cleaning to prevent issues like warping, cracking, or peeling.

Make sure no drips or standing water remain in corners, crevices, or seals too. Trapped moisture allows mold and mildew growth. A few quick passes with a dry rag ensure every nook and cranny gets properly dried.

Neglecting Minor Repairs

When washing windows, it’s a smart idea to inspect them closely for any signs of wear or minor damage. Peeling paint, cracks in seals, loose corner joints, dried out weatherstripping, and other small flaws are often easiest to remedy when caught early.

Make notes on any areas that need a little TLC, so you don’t overlook them next time. Tiny problems become bigger headaches if left unaddressed. Take care of little repairs promptly to avoid extensive window restoration work later on.

Skipping the Windowsills

In the rush to wash the glass and frame, it’s easy to hop right over cleaning wooden windowsills. But don’t neglect these! Windowsills collect dust, dirt, dead insects, plant pollen, and all manner of gunk. For health’s sake, wipe sills down while cleaning the rest of the window. Use a wood-safe cleaner and cloth to remove built-up crud and prevent permanent staining over time.

Using Too Much Water

It’s definitely possible to overdo it with water when cleaning windows – especially wooden ones. Excess moisture can leak into the wall, warp wood, or linger to create mold. Instead of spraying or dumping water directly onto the window with a bucket, put your wood cleaner onto a cloth first. Then wipe down the window in sections using the damp (not saturated) cloth. Spot clean stubborn areas as needed. The key is to use enough moisture to lift dirt but not so much that it’ll drip all over the place or soak into the wood.

Skipping the Top Edges

The top exterior edges of windows collect dust, spider webs, pollution, and all types of gunk. Don’t forget to wipe down this area when cleaning, especially for any windows that open. Built-up grime can prevent proper window function, harbor bugs, or eventually cake on so heavily it leads to decay. A good wipe down and periodic maintenance cleans keeps these upper edges crud-free.

Electricity + Water = Danger

This warning might seem obvious, but it’s still worth emphasizing do NOT get any electrical window components wet when washing wood windows. Anytime water meets electricity, danger follows.

If your windows have electronic opening mechanisms, controls, or security sensors – avoid spraying them directly. Instead, turn them off, then gently wipe them down with just a slightly damp (not wet) cloth. The last thing you want is to damage window electronics or short something out!

Final Words 

Now you are aware of the common mistakes that can happen when you are cleaning wooden windows. With that in mind, go ahead and make sure that you use the correct methods for window cleaning at all times. Then you will be able to take good care of windows, without having to worry about anything.