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Why You Shouldn’t Pressure Wash Glass Windows

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Don’t want a shattered window? Don’t pressure wash it.

Every summer, when windows are looking a little grimy, homeowners everywhere look at their pressure washers and decide it’s worth a shot. Sure, at the end of the day, you can pressure wash your window, and nobody can stop you. However, you put your window and home at risk when you do so. My advice? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Here’s why.

The Dangers of Pressure Washing Glass Windows

Pressure washers have become very popular among homeowners when it comes to cleaning. This is because the pressure these washers wield is intense enough to blast the dirt away from anything. That power is the very reason these tools are dangerous not only to the user but to the material being cleaned as well. Chances are your driveway will be fine when you pressure wash it, and there isn’t much concern in terms of damage control if it comes to that. Windows, on the other hand, are a different story.

The standard pressure washer usually clocks in at around 2000 PSI, enough to shatter the window you want to clean. Naturally, the less PSI your washer has, the safer it is, but there are other problems to worry about. 

A lesser-known point to consider is the temperature of both the water and the surface you’re cleaning. If you happen to be washing on a hot day, the heated water only adds to the washer’s ability to destroy your window with too much heat stress. This is especially true if you try to wash with hot water on a cold day. 

On top of that, since many windows can be opened and their seals can get worn down over time, water can still make its way into your home or seep into the frame. 

Alternative Window Cleaning Solutions

Just because pressure washing is a danger to your windows does not mean they can’t be cleaned at all. If the windows you’re cleaning are easy to reach, it’s best to just clean them with some soap, water, a towel, and a little bit of elbow grease.

If there is something in particular that will not come out from a regular wash, try looking for a specialized chemical. There are all kinds of cleaning chemicals able to help you scrub away the toughest gunk and grime. Some might be rather strong, so don’t forget to wear safety equipment such as gloves and goggles when you use them, and be sure to follow the instructions on the container. Once applied, you can rinse off the window with some water and dry it with yet another towel.

In the event you need to clean a window that is out of reach, don’t worry. Extendable tools with sponge-like attachments can soak in the cleaning mixture and apply it to the window from afar. Rinsing can also be easily done with a garden hose. Some garden hose attachments can have quite powerful settings, so try using one of the weaker ones. The hardest part comes with drying the window. If you can not reach it with a ladder and towel, you can always try finding a dry mop with a long enough pole to reach it. 

Advice for the Most Insistent

If I failed to dissuade you from using a pressure washer or the other options are not possible, then you should at least know some tips so that you can be as careful as possible. 

  • Check the integrity of the window first. Make sure that it is durable enough to withstand a lot of water and pressure. If there are already holes, cracks, or other kinds of damage to your window, pressure washing it is a terrible idea.
  • As mentioned earlier, the lower the PSI on your washer, the less likely it is to cause any kind of damage. 
  • Keep the water at a cool temperature or wash on a cooler day. The hotter the water is, the more likely it is to blow the window out of its frame or shatter it outright. 
  • Spray at a 45º angle. Spraying head-on applies more pressure to the glass while an angle disperses it. 
  • Do not spray for too long in one place. Keep the wand moving from side to side or up and down. This way, the water is not applied too much in a single area and is less likely to weaken it.

Leave it to the Professionals

Replacing a window or dealing with interior water damage can be expensive, and misusing a pressure washer is a quick way to learn that. If your windows need to be cleaned and the other solutions here are not doing it for you, give us a call and we’d love to help you out. 

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