Pressure washing is becoming more and more common, and while it is a great way to clean certain things, sometimes it isn’t the best option. Some things just shouldn’t be pressure washed.
If done properly, windows can be cleaned using a pressure washer. The safest way to clean windows using a pressure washer is to have a PSI of less than 2,000, to have a wide spray pattern, and to spray at a 45-degree angle. Even done safely, there are many risks.
Is using a pressure washer to clean your windows really a good idea? What is the best way to clean your windows? Read on to learn more.
Pressure Washing Windows
If done in the proper way, you can use a pressure washer to clean the windows in your home. There are a few things you should do before spraying down the glass with high-pressured water.
The first thing you should do is check to make sure none of your windows have any kind of damage. Damage could include cracks in the caulking or paint lifting. If any water gets in cracks or underneath any paint, then serious damage can be done. Water getting into cracks and into the siding or wood on your house can cause mold or mildew and will need to be replaced in the future. If water gets underneath any paint, it can also cause damage.
Make sure that every window you plan on washing is in pristine condition before you start. If you find anything that is in need of repair, do not use a pressure washer on your windows.
Once you have thoroughly checked your windows, you need to check your pressure washer to make sure the PSI is lower than 2,000. Turn it to the lowest the machine can do. Test out the pressure on the ground before you start spraying the windows, and do not use the washer if you feel that the pressure is too great. Also, make sure that the nozzle is set as wide as it can be.
Some pressure washers are more powerful than others.
Gas-powered models typically put out 2,000 to 2,800 psi of pressure compared with 1,300 to 1,700 psi for electric models.”Source
If you have an electric-powered pressure washer, you still need to be careful, but the PSI should be low enough already. If you have a gas-powered pressure washer, then even the lowest setting might not be low enough. No matter which kind of washer you have, you need to be sure that the pressure will be low enough to not cause damage.
Make sure that you have the proper ratio of soap to water. If you find that your pressure washer isn’t cleaning as well as you feel it should, do not increase the pressure of the water. Instead, increase the amount of soap.
Risks of Using a Pressure Washer on Windows
The dangers of pressure washing windows come from:
1. High-pressure water: A PSI of over 2,000 is too high and can easily cause damage.
2. Incorrect spray patterns: Too concentrated a spray puts pressure on one spot, potentially weakening and breaking a window.
3. Spraying head-on: Hitting the window directly with the spray puts too much pressure on the glass; if a pressure washer is used, the nozzle should be at a 45-degree angle.
Pressure washing can tear through screens. If you are like me, then you absolutely love to have a screen on your window. This allows you to open your window and allow the fresh air in while keeping the bugs out. However, as fantastic as window screens are, they can prevent you from using a pressure washer on your windows.
If you are insistent on using a pressure washer to clean your windows, then you should remove the screen before washing. This will prevent the water spray from tearing through your screen.
If you have double-paned windows, then pressure washers are probably not a good idea for you. Water can get in between double-paned windows and cause the glass to appear foggy or smokey. That moisture will be permanently trapped and have no way to evaporate.
Vinyl siding is a great addition to any home, but it is not something that should ever be pressure washed. The pressure washer will certainly get the cleaning job done, however, the vinyl siding has many cracks that the highly pressured water can get through. If water gets underneath your siding, it can cause serious and expensive damage to your house. Even if you are careful when washing your windows next to vinyl siding, there are still risks.
Using a pressure washer can break the seal on the window. Most windows are sealed tight with some sort of caulk. While window sealants are designed to withstand rain, pressure washers are a different story. The highly pressured spray can damage the sealant and even break through it, causing damage.
Other Methods of Cleaning Windows
Sometimes, in the end, it is simply better to be safe than sorry. If you are worried about using a pressure washer to clean your windows, then you can skip all of the stress and just use a different method to get that glass sparkly.
- Make sure that you clean your windows on a dry, cloudy day.
- Remove all small debris, dirt, and any dust from around the window sill or on the glass. This can be done using a vacuum or a damp cloth.
- Use a window cleaner, such as Windex, or any other similar product. Spray the cleaner onto the glass from a short distance away. Another method is to spray the cleaner directly onto a microfiber cloth, and then use that to wipe down the windows.
- It is common to use newspapers to wipe windows down, but microfiber cloths usually yield better results. (and newspaper is getting harder to come by.)
- If you have a large window, you can also use the squeegee method to get the glass clean.
- Clean both the outside and inside of windows for the best result.