How To Clean A Really Dirty Window
Once, I left a stack of windows to be cleaned for over a month. They were made with clear artique glass, so all imperfections showed up and the flux that had sat on the panels left the glass looking cloudy after a normal cleaning. I was really worried because I had done this to several windows (18) and faced having to build them all again from scratch. Flux should be cleaned off of a window as soon as possible to avoid this problem. I went to the grocery store and bought all the different types of cleaners, the orange stuff, regular blue cleaner, anything that might clean the fogginess away. I was desperate and nothing worked. Finally, in despair and not even thinking it would work, I went back to the way I had seen a friend clean a window years ago. It worked and the windows were saved.
1. This window was a good candidate for this cleaning method. It had flux on it, silver marker which is hard to clean and mold and mildew that grew when an artist had to leave it to sit for over a year in a damp environment due to health problems. It also needed to be soldered on the second side which presented me with additional problems.
2. Start with a liberal application of your favorite cleanser. You'll need more than you think to absorb all the mess and get everything clean.
3. Use a hard bristle brush to scrub the window. A wallpaper brush can be used but we find a good cleaning brush is best.
4. As you scrub you'll find that the cleanser breaks down into fine particles. Just sweep them into a pile and scrub in the area where the pile is. And move the pile around the window in a methodical pattern. Add more cleanser as you need it.
5. In each section, on each piece of glass you need to brush in all directions. Back and forth,
6. Up and down,
7. And side to side. It also helps to use circular scrubbing motions. Before long, your arm will be feeling like it wants to fall off. Don't despair, just keep going over the entire window, one piece of glass at a time, getting it clean and moving on to the next.
8. As you clean, you'll notice that the cleanser turns from white to gray because its picking up debris and a fine layer of lead. So it's a good idea to wear a dust mask and do this in a well ventilated area.
9. The window fairly glistens from the scrubbing, but it's covered with cleanser dust.
10. In the summer, we just hose the panel off, in the winter we wet it down with rags and buckets of water. The secret is to wash it several times or flood it with a lot of water.
Here is the cleaned panel. We applied patina after the cleaning process above and then cleaned the window again using the method we described in other articles. It takes a lot of effort and elbow grease to clean using this method, but the results are worth it.