A step-by-step to cleaning our vinyl window frames and glass, including which products we use and how we outfit them to look their best!
This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly.
Often times, cleaning windows that may have been neglected for a little while is much more than simply wiping off the glass. Modern windows are composted of multiple parts and materials that all require different cleaning strategies. As we prepped our Chicago condo (and the namesake of this very blog!) for sale, we tasked ourselves with cleaning away every last bit of grime that had accumulated over the years. Today, we’re breaking down the simple tasks we tackled to get our vinyl windows – frames, glass, and shades – looking their best!
What You’ll Need
- Barkeeper’s Friend
- Scrub Daddy
- World’s Best Glass Cleaner
- Disposable gloves
- Microfiber Towels
- Paper Towels or Newspaper
1| Clean Window Frames
White vinyl windows are likely the most popular window style in modern homes. While they look great when new, the white vinyl tends to gather a lot of dust and dirt and can look dingy over time. Luckily, we discovered a cleaning combo that got them looking good as new with very little elbow grease! It’s our secret sauce, if you will.
We mixed up a simple solution of Barkeeper’s Friend and hot water, then used our Scrub Daddy to wipe away years of grime with one swipe! We were shocked with just how easily this combo got the vinyl looking brand spanking new. After such great results on the first window, we then proceeded to clean all 7 of the condo’s large windows top to bottom. Just don’t forget your gloves!
2| Clean Glass Inside + Out
Obviously, right? Our windows are double-hung, which makes them incredibly easy to clean with both panes tilted inward. This means the outside of the windows can be cleaned from inside the home. If you’re not sure if your windows tilt in like the photos below, check the top of the lower sash for recessed spring-loaded levers; these are called sash locks.
If your windows don’t tilt in, the outsides can be cleaned with a spray solution connected to a garden hose. (We’ve never tried this particular method, but the reviews are great!) Once the outside of the windows were clean, we moved to the inside. We love World’s Best Glass Cleaner, but some of our friends swear by vinegar and water! We like to clean once with a microfiber cloth, then go back and clean any streaks with paper towels or newspaper.
3| Touch Up Scuffed Paint
In the case of our condo, the windows are not trimmed with molding, but instead cased in drywall. First, we touched up any visual nicks in the drywall surfaces, then moved on to the sills, which needed a tiny bit of spackling, then a quick hit of paint to get them looking fresh and new. We say this all of the time, but is there anything paint can’t fix?
4| Add the Perfect (Motorized!) Window Treatments
With the window frames and glass cleaned and the surrounding paint touched up, we were ready to install some fresh new window coverings! We opted for motorized shades throughout to add value to the home and keep things cord-free and easy to use. For the open-concept main space of the home, we opted for inside-mount solar shades from Bali Blinds in the color SafeElements Barely Tan with 2% openness. We’ve covered openness percentages of solar shades more extensively in the past, and we selected this fabric for its light-filtering properties and UV protection.
In an incredibly cool invisible twist, the SafeElements fabric line is anti-micribial and anti-fungal, so installing these shades actually results in cleaner air in the home! From a decidedly more visible perspective, we absolutely love how the afternoon light casts beautiful abstract shadows through the trees!
Rechargeable Battery Packs
The windows in this condo unit are very tall, which allows in an incredible amount of natural light. The compact cassettes and new rechargeable battery packs (cleverly behind the shades) allow the windows to truly shine in more ways than one. The neutral fabric and cassette tones blend in perfectly with the tones of the walls, ceilings and kitchen cabinets. The overall effect is cohesive and calming and should appeal to a wide range of prospective buyers.
We continue to be impressed with Bali’s product innovation and constant improvements. The newly upgraded motors in all of these shades are incredibly quiet (30% quieter, in fact!) and the sound of the blinds opening and closing is nearly imperceptible.
Control with a Single Touch
From a control standpoint, the three windows that form the unified trio in the living room have two distinct options for now. They can be operated independently from one other on individual remotes, or can be controlled in unison with one touch on the additional remote. In the future, they’re also able to be controlled via voice with either Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant or any other smart home hub if the new owner decides to go that route!
Our unit faces West, so the afternoon light can be harsh. The solar shades truly work wonders in filtering out UV light while allowing some of the suns rays to peek through for a calm, glowy effect. The feeling is similar to being on the beach, but sitting under an umbrella; protected, but still enjoying the positive effects of the sun’s energy!
Last but not least, we opted for roller shades in Fiji Blackout Warm Gray in the two bedrooms to create a pair of cozy retreats. These two shades are 100% impervious to light and darken the bedrooms incredibly well.
Now that our window sashes and glass are clean, the sills and surrounds are touched up and these gorgeous shades are installed, the bright, airy feeling of this space is truly maximized. These freshly cleaned windows look brand new and the addition of high-tech motorized blinds will surely add value and a huge wow factor for potential buyers! Just a few more finishing touches and this gem of a unit will be ready for its new owners…
Living Room + Kitchen shades: Bali Blinds solar shades in SafeElements Barely Tan, 2% Openness Bedroom + Home Office shades: Bali Blinds blackout roller shades in Fiji Blackout Warm Grey
Thank you to Bali Blinds, a brand we’ve used for years and continue to love. Fabric samples are always free, and Bali Blinds can be purchased at any of these retailers or you can call their customer service directly.