Can You Pressure Wash Windows: A Complete Guide

Can You Pressure Wash Windows

Window washing is an important part of home maintenance that cleans dirt, grime, and debris off your windows to allow more natural sunlight into your home. But washing windows can be a tedious and time-consuming chore. Using a pressure washer is an efficient way to clean your outside windows, saving you time and energy. However, you need to take precautions when using a high-powered pressure washer on glass to avoid damaging windows. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide tips on safely and effectively pressure washing windows.

Can You Pressure Wash Windows?

Yes, you can use a pressure washer to clean outside windows. Pressure washing is an effective method to wash years of accumulated debris from exterior windows and window screens. It’s also useful for second story or hard-to-reach windows. The intense water stream easily blasts away tough stains, dust, cobwebs, bird droppings and other pollutants that cling to outside glass panes and window sills. Just be cautious of using too much pressure which can crack window glass.

Pressure washers should NOT be used on the inside windows because water can leak inside the wall or damage window treatments.

Benefits of Pressure Washing Windows

  • Cleans windows faster and more thoroughly than manual scrubbing
  • Removes stubborn gunk and grime builds up
  • Great for washing exterior windows on the second story or above
  • Useful for cleaning lots of windows like on commercial buildings
  • Can clean window screens, window wells, window sills simultaneously

Is Pressure Washing Windows Safe?

Using a gas-powered or electric pressure washer on glass surfaces can be safe when proper precautions are taken. Safety should always be the number one priority when operating high-powered equipment. Risks include:

  • Cracked Glass – Too much direct pressure can crack glass panes or cause seal failure over time.
  • Damaged Window Frames – The force of the spray can damage window siding and frames.
  • Falling from Height – Using ladders to reach second story windows has obvious injury hazards.
  • Electrical Damage – Water near outlets or improper electrical setups can cause electric shock.

However, adjusting the pressure, using cleaning solutions, and taking proper safety protocols significantly reduce these risks. Additionally, pressure washing is safer than more aggressive window cleaning techniques like scraping off debris.

Overall, pressure washing windows is safe when done properly. Later sections will detail how to pressure wash windows safely.

Equipment Needed to Pressure Wash Windows

Pressure washing windows requires some specialized equipment beyond just a basic pressure washer. Collecting all the proper supplies beforehand makes the process faster and produces better cleaning results.

Here is an overview of the basic equipment needed:

  • Pressure Washer: Gas-powered or electric pressure washers provide the high-powered stream to lift grime off the window glass and frames. Models that reach 2000 PSI with flow rates around 1.5 to 2 gallons per minute are best for window washing.
  • 40 ̊ Fan Tip Nozzle: The nozzle shapes the pressure into a fan pattern at a 40 ̊ angle. This distributes the force over a wider area rather than a single focused stream. Fan nozzles help prevent window damage.
  • Telescoping Wand: A bendable extension wand allows you to comfortably reach second story or hard to access windows from the safety of the ground.
  • Soft Bristle Brushes & Sponges: Use soft brushes and sponges to manually scrub glass and apply cleaning solutions without scratching.
  • Squeegee: A squeegee wipes the glass surface dry and buffs out any left over water spots.
  • Extension Ladders: Properly setup ladders provide safe access to clean exterior windows on the second levels and above on your home. Make sure to carefully follow proper protocols when using extension ladders.
  • Window Cleaning Solutions: Specialized cleaning solutions help lift stubborn deposits like mineral buildup with extra cleaning power. They often contain detergents, algaecides, and other active ingredients.

The right pressure washer accessories and methods make all the difference in safely and effectively pressure washing the outside windows on your home.

How to Pressure Wash Windows

Once you have collected all the proper equipment, follow these steps to properly pressure wash your home’s windows:

Step 1 – Prep the Area

Ensure the area around each window is clear of debris and valuables that could get damaged. Cover any nearby electrical outlets with plastic shields. Rope off garden beds or landscaping that could be impacted by excess water.

Step 2 – Setup Ladders Safely

Use properly sized extension ladders to safely access windows on the second story and above. Carefully follow manufacturer guidance on proper ladder angles, leg spreads, and placement. Have someone support the ladder at all times.

Step 3 – Remove Screens

Window screens can inhibit pressure washing and get damaged by the high pressure stream. Carefully remove all screens ahead of time and clean separately by hand washing gently with soap and water.

Step 4 – Start Washing from the Top Down

Beginning at the highest window first, start pressure washing from top the to bottom. This stops excess water, grime, and cleaning solutions from slowly dripping down and re-soiling already cleaned windows.

Step 5 – Rinse Off Loose Debris

Rinse the window glass and frames with the pressure washer to remove loose dirt, cobwebs, and other large debris. This is just a preliminary rinse to prep for detailed cleaning. Avoid aiming directly at the glass with a zero degree tip at close range during this step.

Step 6 – Apply Cleaning Solutions

Spray specialized cleaning solutions onto the entire outside surface of each window. Apply liberally to give the chemicals time to breakdown mineral deposits and heavy grime buildup. Let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes.

Step 7 – Scrub All Surfaces

Use soft bristle brushes and sponges to gently scrub all outside window surfaces – glass, frames, sills, and screens. The light mechanical action helps lift contaminants. Take care not to aggressively scrub and scratch the glass.

Step 8 – Pressure Wash Clean

Move methodically across each window with steady, overlapping passes of the pressure stream. Position the 40 ̊ fan tip 6-12 inches away from the glass when spraying. Rinse completely to wash away all cleaning solutions and lifted grime.

Step 9 – Squeegee Dry

Finish up each window by using a professional grade squeegee to wipe dry and buff out any last dirt spots or water droplets. Wipe in an “S” pattern without applying too much downward pressure on the glass. Let the remaining moisture air dry instead of over-squeegeeing.

Be extremely methodical and careful during this entire process. Rushing risks missing spots or causing damage. Take your time working on a couple windows at a time.

Precautions When Pressure Washing Windows

While pressure washing can be a handy method for cleaning windows, it’s essential to take precautions to avoid any damage or accidents.

  1. Pressure Setting: Use a low-pressure setting to avoid damaging the window glass or frames.
  2. Distance: Maintain a safe distance from the window to prevent any cracks in the glass.
  3. Angle of Spray: Hold the nozzle at a 40-degree angle to prevent streaks and spots.
  4. Avoid Electrical Outlets: Cover electrical outlets with tape to prevent water damage.

Can You Pressure Wash Double Hung Windows?

Double hung windows have upper and lower glass panes that slide vertically past each other in a frame. The movable joints and old papery seals makes them more prone to leaking when pressure washing. Follow these added measures for double hung windows:

  • Inspect the windows first and don’t pressure wash ones that are already loose or sagging.
  • Use lowest pressure and stand farther back.
  • Start from edges and push debris towards window middle. Avoid focusing stream where panes meet.
  • Dry windows and frames thoroughly checking for moisture between panes or sills afterward. Water trapped will expand and crack glass when temperatures drop.

Pressure Washing Dos & Don’ts

To recap pressure washing window basics:

DO

  • Use fan tip nozzles and keep distance from glass
  • Wash from top down
  • Apply cleaning solution before power washing
  • Gently scrub with soft tools
  • Work in manageable sections

DON’T

  • Use high pressure zero degree tips close to glass
  • Let debris and water cascade down already cleaned windows
  • Over-squeegee and apply too much pressure

The keys are controlling pressure, letting chemicals do the work, gentle scrubbing, and patience.

Professional Window Washing vs DIY

After learning the basic process, you may be wondering – should I DIY pressure wash my home’s windows or hire a professional service?

Professional window cleaners have years of experience properly handling equipment, accessing hard to reach spots, and delivering streak-free results. They also safely manage liability concerns related to working at heights and chemical handling.

DIYers save money but take on more risks and may not achieve the same level of cleanliness. Though with the right guidance and vigilance, homeowners can learn how to pressure wash windows in a safe, effective manner.

Below is an overview of some pros and cons when deciding between these options:

Professional Window Washing Services

Pros

  • Expert results
  • Built-in insurance
  • Equipped to access high windows
  • Crews wash windows quickly
  • No equipment to purchase

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Schedule around their availability

DIY Pressure Washing

Pros

  • Save money after equipment purchase
  • Clean whenever needed
  • Customize cleaning methods

Cons

  • Steeper learning curve
  • Risk damaging windows
  • Might miss spots

Evaluate your specific needs – budget, number of windows, window accessibility, and confidence in your abilities – to decide which route is better to care for your home’s windows.

Many homeowners use a balanced approach – hiring pros to deeply clean windows once a year or so while doing DIY touchup pressure washing in between. This maintains sparkling window clarity all year while avoiding frequent professional costs.

Things to Ask Professional Window Cleaning Companies

When hiring professional window cleaners, inquire about these services:

  • What’s the level of liability insurance carried in case of property damage?
  • What pressure range and spray nozzles will they use?
  • Do they apply protective covering on outdoor landscaping and furnishings while working?
  • Will they use lift equipment for hard-to-reach second story windows?
  • Do they supply their own generator, water hoses/tanks and traffic cones?
  • How soon can exterior window cleaning be scheduled?

DIY Window Cleaning Supplies

If tackling window pressure washing yourself, gather these supplies:

  • Pressure washer (electric or gas engine)
  • Variable spray nozzles & soap dispenser attachment
  • Extension cords & adapters (for electric pressure washers)
  • Mild detergent solution or pressure washer soap
  • Soft brush, sponge & non-abrasive cleaning pads
  • Squeegee & drying towels
  • Water supply – garden hose or portable water tank
  • 16 to 20 ft. extension ladder (for 2 story buildings)

Pressure Washer Rental Places

Many home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s rent pressure washers by the day for reasonable rates. Expect to pay around $50-$150 per day depending on the model. Gas powered pressure washers have more cleaning power than electric ones if tackling bigger homes. Online rental marketplaces such as Rent Pressure Washers and Pressure Washers Direct offer delivery options too.

When renting pressure washers, opt for units with:

  • At least 3000 PSI max pressure (for heavy soiled windows)
  • High flow rate – 3 to 5 gallons per minute (GPM)
  • Large water tank – at least 5 gallons
  • Detergent injection system with soap nozzle
  • Variable pressure control and spray nozzles

Safety Gear

Use protective equipment when operating a pressure washer to safeguard against debris, contaminated water and possible glass shards if windows crack.

  • Rubber grip waterproof gloves
  • Waterproof boots with slip resistant soles
  • Eye goggles / face shield
  • Ear plugs or protective headset
  • Dust masks (if cleaning mold or lead paint)
  • Traffic safety cones to block off the work area if needed

Final Thoughts

The powerful stream from pressure washers can clean the outside glass and frames of windows effectively. But improper use risks damaging window components or forcing water into the home. Follow the appropriate methods we’ve suggested to safely pressure wash outdoor windows and know when it’s better to let a professional handle this challenging task. With the right equipment and technique, you can have gleaming windows that usher sunlight into your rooms without hours of strenuous scrubbing!

If you need help pressure washing your windows around Dawsonville and nearby Georgia areas, contact Sullins Suds Pressure Washing now!

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