I’m not fanatical about home upkeep. I tolerate spider webs until they seem about to hatch babies. I can go weeks between vacuumings.
If I do have an obsession, it’s windows.
You can’t say you have a clean house if your windows are coated in grime. That’s like showering, but leaving dirt under your fingernails.
Why do I talk of dirty windows when the Town & Country Fair is in town, a solar eclipse is coming our way and my peach tree is about to deliver its bounty?
Because I have been burdened with nine grubby portals this summer. These otherwise handsome, double-pane beauties have become a blight on our home addition.
They were professionally washed in December before the contractor gave our house back to us. The washer person did a great job. The glass barrier between indoors and outdoors practically disappeared. All of our views became hi-def.
I knew this was too good to last. And it was.
Elm pods blew against the windows during an April rain storm and stuck, suggesting a pox on our house. Then came the summer patina of blown dust.
Another person might have sprung to action. I did not. I watched as clarity morphed to murky, like the windows you’d find at a bus station on the seedy side of town.
I had several issues to overcome. One: I’m a Windex guy. Yet Windex is a flawed product that leaves a sheen. Windex was not the answer to my problem.
Two: Because our backyard slopes away from the back of the house, these windows were beyond the reach of my 7-foot ladder, even if I were willing to risk life and limb.
When I mentioned my window-cleaning issues to several coworkers, I got strange looks.
One said he’s lived in his house for nearly 20 years and not washed his windows even once. Unless swapping out single-pane for double-pane during that period counts.
The other said he takes a power washer to his windows once or twice a year — screens still on — and calls that a cleaning.
My god! People live like that?
Meanwhile, a splash of mud appeared on one of our creek-facing windows. A splash that had mysteriously shot nine or 10 feet into the air to leave its mark.
Cheryl denied that the mud swoosh was her doing, although quite frankly it had to have been.
That mud became a badge of shame. Something had to give.
I warmed to the task by watching YouTube videos on window cleaning. How do the pros do it?
For starters, they do not use Windex. Don’t even think about using Windex.
Another thing: Buy a quality squeegee and protect it with your life. Don’t let anything scratch or bend it. Store it separately from everything else you have in the garage.
Armed with these insights, I went on a shopping expedition last weekend. I came home with an 18-inch quality squeegee, an extension pole, a detachable scrubber, a packet of microfiber cloths, a gallon of professional window washing concentrate and two replacement squeegee blades for the times ahead.
All of this cost $64. If I could restore our pristine views, it would be money well spent.
On Sunday afternoon I sucked it up. I dragged out a hose with a power nozzle, mixed my cleaning solution, popped the screens, dragged over the ladder and stuck a microfiber cloth into each of my rear pockets.
Meet Window Washer Man.
The YouTube videos did not lie. The combination of a professional cleaning solution and a perfect squeegee blade is magical.
Waving the squeegee like a wizard’s wand, I created windows that appeared as clean as air. So clean I worried that maybe birds would smack into them.
It’s been a week and I still haven’t come down from my clean-window high. All my life my windows have been sub-par. I always settled on good-enough, knowing that the Windex hot spots would eventually disappear once the glass got dirty again.
Never again. I now have the power of the squeegee.