How to Clean Windows With a Pressure Washer

By thewriteDuffy •  Updated: 04/08/24 •  7 min read

Windows collect dirt, dust, and debris over time. It’s important to clean this debris, not only to keep your windows looking good but to keep them working properly.

Casement windows and hung windows especially need to be cleaned to maintain the function of their opening and closing mechanisms.

Pressure washing your windows with a good window cleaner is an effective way to clean your windows, especially those that aren’t easily accessible by hand.

In this post, I’ll take you through the process of cleaning your windows with a pressure washer in such a way that there should not be any damage and provide tips for ensuring the safety and efficacy of the cleaning process.

Best Way to Clean Windows with Pressure Washer

Step 1: Assess the Condition

Before using the pressure washer, take a close-up look at your windows. Check to make sure all caulking is in good condition and that the glazing around the panes is intact. If you plan on re-caulking or re-glazing, avoid pressure washing until the repair has been made.

Be aware of any spots on your trim that may need repainting. The pressure washer can help to loosen chipping paint, but it can also damage exposed wood if the stream of water is too forceful.

Step 2: Water Soil Beneath Windows

if you’re washing a window above soil (as opposed to above concrete or another hard surface) soaking the dirt under the window is a good idea.

Soaking the soil beneath each window helps to dilute any chemicals that are in the soap that you will use to wash the windows. It also helps to prevent any soil or debris from being blasted onto the windows during the cleaning process.

Use a garden hose to water the soil thoroughly before you begin.

Step 3: Add Soap Concentrate to Pressure Washer Reservoir

Pour multi-use soap that is formulated for pressure washers into your washer’s reservoir. Most formulas will show on the packaging that the soap is safe for siding, windows, and sidewalks.

Install the soap tip to the end of your pressure washing wand. When activated, the wand with the soap tip will provide a powerful stream of soapy water, but at a lower pressure (a ~60-degree angle spray) than other tips (stronger pressure tips range from narrower 40-degree to a pin-point 0-degree stream).

Step 4: Use Your Pressure Washer to Apply Soap

Turn on the pressure washer and initiate the wand. Use the soapy spray to target the trim, keeping the tip of the wand at a 45-degree angle to the window and trim. Aiming the wand at an angle to its target will help to lift and remove dirt from the trim, windowsill, and glass from beneath more effectively than blasting it straight on. It will also help to loosen any flaking paint, which helps with preparing your window trim for a new coat of paint.

Step 5: Rinse Windows

Turn off the pressure washer and switch the tip on the wand to a “general use” tip. A tip that delivers a 15- to 20-degree angle will provide a stronger pressure stream that will effectively remove soap that is on the surface and any dirt that has been loosened by the soap. Spray from the top of the window downwards to completely rinse the window clean.

Step 6: Check and Dry

When complete, check to ensure that the glazing and caulk are still in good condition and that there are no spots left. Avoid using a cloth or paper towel to dry the windows, as this may leave behind streaks or lint. If you don’t want to let them air dry, use a squeegee to remove the water.

If you are re-painting your window frame, allow the window to air dry for several days before you prime and paint.

How Often Should You Pressure Wash Your Windows?

The frequency at which you should wash your windows depends on several factors, including the environment around your home, the weather conditions in your area, and your personal preferences.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to clean your windows at least twice a year to keep them in good condition. However, if you live in an area with a lot of dust, pollen, or other airborne debris, you may need to clean your windows more frequently to prevent buildup. Similarly, if you live in an area with a lot of rain, snow, or other harsh weather conditions, you may need to clean your windows more often to prevent damage or discoloration.

With that said, it’s a good idea to use a pressure washer to clean your windows no more than once or twice a year, as frequent pressure washing can damage the windows or other surfaces. Washing your windows by hand can be done more frequently, as long as you use a gentle cleaning solution. Ultimately, the best approach is to assess the condition of your windows regularly and clean them as needed, using the method that works best for you and your home.

When Should You Avoid Using a Pressure Washer on Your Windows?

While pressure washing can be an effective way to clean windows in certain situations, there are times when it may be best to avoid using a pressure washer. Here are a few examples:

Old/ Fragile Windows

You’re not going to want to bust out the pressure washer for that antique stained glass window with the original pane. A pressure washer can be too powerful and could damage or break the glass of an old or fragile window. It’s best to wash delicate windows by hand with a gentle cleaning solution and a soft cloth or sponge.

Newly Painted Windows

If your windows have been recently painted, it’s best to wait for the paint to fully cure before using a pressure washer. Pressure washing too soon after painting can damage the paint or cause it to peel.

Aleady Damaged Windows

If your windows have cracks, chips, or other damage, pressure washing can make the damage worse or cause water to seep into the frame or wall. It’s best to have these windows repaired or replaced before attempting to clean them.

In general, it’s important to assess the condition of your windows and any other surfaces around them before deciding whether to use a pressure washer. If you’re not sure whether it’s safe to pressure wash your windows, it’s best to consult a professional or use a gentler cleaning method instead.

Conclusion:

Regular cleaning is important to maintain the appearance and function of your windows. Cleaning windows with a pressure washer can be a quick and efficient way to remove dirt, dust, and debris from your windows and by following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure the safety and efficacy of the cleaning process

While there are benefits to using a pressure washer to clean your windows, such as efficiency and accessibility, it’s important to assess the condition of your windows and any other surfaces around them before deciding whether to use a pressure washer. Pressure washing can be a powerful tool, and it’s important to use the right equipment, techniques, and cleaning solutions to avoid damaging your windows or other surfaces. It’s also important to take the necessary precautions, such as checking the condition of the windows, watering the soil beneath the windows, and ensuring the windows are fully dry before repainting them (if desired).

By following these tips and best practices, you can keep your windows clean, clear, and in good condition for years to come.

thewriteDuffy

At home, April is a mom, wife, and DIY darling. Among other home projects, she helped her husband Dan renovate their 1986 bungalow and is currently designing and decorating the 2023 custom home they are building themselves. Professionally, April is a writer, author, and online marketer with 15 years of experience writing for newspapers and magazines, building online authority websites, and publishing books.