How to maintain your uPVC windows
Clean and tidy windows have a significant impact on the attractiveness of a home and tired looking window frames can really let you down. With uPVC windows, very little maintenance is needed – re-painting and weather-proofing are not things you need to think about when you’ve opted for uPVC, but you will need to maintain the working parts and keep them clean.
Cleaning the frame
It’s a good idea to clean your window frames twice a year – the more you do it, the easier the task will be each time. Start with the windows open and use an old paint brush to loosen any dust, dirt and cobwebs, then use the hose on a vacuum cleaner to clear it all away. Mix some washing up liquid in a bowl of warm water and use a soft white cloth to wipe down the window frames, in particular around the very edges where the window sits inside the outer frame. Don’t use a coloured cloth in case the dye comes off onto the plastic window and avoid any harsh chemical cleaners or abrasive cloths, sponges and creams.
If the dirt is particularly stubborn, try a top grade solvent PVC cleaner, which can usually be purchased from a local hardware shop, but be careful not to use it on the silicone seals as they may begin to lift away.
If you have older style uPVC windows which you’d like to rejuvenate, talk to a member of the Certified Installer Network for advice. You can often transform weathered and dirty windows, but it’s very easy to damage them using the wrong products, so do tread carefully.
Cleaning the glass
Ideally the glass should be cleaned four to eight times each year. Avoid cleaning your windows in direct sunlight as this can result in a streaky finish and consider starting the process by giving the glass a good rub down with a damp cloth to remove excess dirt. Once you’re ready to begin, you have two options – traditional glass cleaner or increasingly popular specialist cloths such as e-cloths.
- E-cloths are great if you want to avoid using any cleaning products – for glass, e-cloths come in a pack of two cloths, one for cleaning, the other for drying to a perfect shine.
- If you prefer to use a glass cleaner, look for one that is non-smear and apply it directly to the glass, working it into all the corners using a good quality cloth that won’t leave fibres on the window. Then use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to polish the glass to perfection. There are several recipes for home-made glass cleaner, just be careful not to use anything which might damage the uPVC.
You should expect to use a spray oil to maintain the working parts of your windows every six months (the handles, the locking systems and, in particular, the hinges) to keep everything moving easily. Just be careful not to get oil on the glass.
- Handles – with the window closed, spray some oil onto the window key and insert into the handle lock – wiggle the key gently and move it in and out of the lock several times.
- Locking systems – with the window open, spray some oil on the locking strip – wipe away any excess oil with kitchen roll.
- Hinges – still with the window open, spray oil on the friction hinges. If the hinges feel loose after you’ve sprayed them, look for a tightening screw you can use to re-tighten the hinge. These simple maintenance tips will help prevent long term failure and decay.