How to clean vinyl windows

How to clean vinyl windows

Vinyl windows are a great, low-maintenance option for your home.

They resist dirt and grime so they look good and add value to your home. But at some point, you will need to clean your windows. If you do it wrong, you could void your warranty or damage your windows.

Read on to learn how to clean vinyl windows on the inside, outside as well as the frames and screens too.

Choose an Overcast Day

One of the most important window cleaning tips is to avoid sunny days. The glare of the sun can make it almost impossible to remove streaks.

Plus, the sun can dry your liquid before you are done. So, avoid the frustration and choose an overcast cay to clean your windows (inside and out).

How to Clean Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows can be easily scratched or damaged. If you’ve wondered how to clean vinyl windows, follow these tips.

There are a few basic steps that you should follow in order to get streak-free vinyl windows and protect your windows from damage.

Before you start, remove screens from your windows and put them to one side. Then gather your supplies. You will need a bucket, soap, warm water, white vinegar, and a few microfiber cloths.

Make Your Own Vinyl Window Cleaner

Vinyl windows are naturally dirt resistant. But, when it is time to clean them steer clear of cleansers that have harsh chemicals.

These aren’t good for your health or your windows! Avoid products with bleach, solvents, alcohol, ammonia, and strong soaps. Yes, this includes Windex!

These substances can damage your vinyl and could even void your warranty.

Instead, make your own window cleaning for pennies from items you have at home. All you need is to mix 1/4-cup vinegar with 2 cups of water.


First, pour clean water onto the window from a pitcher to loosen any dirt or debris. Don’t start wiping the window before this step.

If there is mud or other encrusted dirt, never use a putty knife or anything sharp. Never use scrubbing pads or abrasive cleaners either.

Simply use very warm water on a cloth and hold it over the dirt to loosen. Then wipe away.

Next, wipe down the surface of the windows with a damp lint-free microfiber towel soaked in your cleaning solution then wrung out.

Work from left to right (or right to left) going from the top to bottom. Use gentle pressure to avoid scratching your windows.

Work quickly because you don’t want the solution to dry.

Remember to only use a microfiber cloth. Paper towels, sponges and other cloths could damage your panels.

Second Wipe

Now, use your first cloth and soak it in fresh water. Wipe the surfaces to rinse away your cleaning solution.

Use a dry lint-free cloth to dry your windows. This prevents streaks and water spots from appearing on them.

How to Clean Vinyl Windows Frames

Your vinyl window frames will last a very long time with proper care. When you clean them, here are the best tips to keep them in good share.

First, put your soft brush attachment on your vacuum. Vacuum all around the panel frame, windowsill, and metal tracks if you have them.

Next, dip a cloth into your cleaning mixture and wring out the excess. Wipe all around your frame.

If you have built-up dirt, use an old toothbrush in dish soap and water. Scrub in a circular motion to clean in the nooks and crannies.

Next, soak a clean cloth in water and rinse the cleaning solution off. Then, use a dry cloth to dry your frames. Make sure they are completely dry.

Now it’s time to clean the outside of your windows!

Exterior Vinyl Window Cleaning

You don’t have to clean the outside of your windows too often. A good rainfall will often do the trick.

But, after windy weather or a storm, your windows might need some TLC. Start off with rinsing them with a garden hose on a gentle setting.

Do not use a pressure washer as this could damage your vinyl windows and cause a leak inside your home.

Follow the same steps as cleaning inside the window.

Make sure to dry the windows with a cloth to enjoy gleaming windows. That’s it, that’s all you need to know on how to clean vinyl window frames and glass outside your home.

Apply a UV Protectant

If you really want to prevent sun damage on your windows, you can consider applying a UV protectant.

These products keep your panels clean and free from the bleaching effect of the sun.

Always read and follow the manufacturer’s directions on the label of the product you are using.

Wash the Screen

The final step in cleaning your windows is to wash the screens.

The easiest way to do this is to spread them out on the driveway or the lawn. Or, you can do this in a bathtub as well.

Rinse off dirt first with clean water using a shower head or garden hose. Use a soft bristle brush to gently scrub the mesh.

Rinse again with water and let air dry. Then, re-install in your windows.

Final Words

There you have it! Now you know how to clean vinyl windows. Check out our testimonials to learn why US Window & Door is the first place you should call for new windows.

“5th Time Around”

“I have used US Window and Door for my investment properties. Each time I was very satisfied with the price, service and quality of the product and the installation. The latest project included 70 windows and 2 doors. During the installation, Martin made sure that the installers were doing the job correctly and after the job was completed, Martin did a walk through to make sure I was satisfied with everything.”

You should clean your replacement windows regularly to keep them looking like new. This doesn’t mean spraying the glass with cleaner and wiping your windows down with paper towels.

While vinyl windows are practically maintenance free, proper care takes a minimal amount of time. Here are the things you need to know from our professionals at Pelican Replacement Windows in San Diego, CA.

Vinyl Window Cleaning – Tools for Washing Windows

You will need:

Several soft cloths

Soft bristle brush

Mild detergent (baby soap)

Window wash or vinegar and water

Plastic putty knife

Harsh cleaners or abrasives

Razors or metal blades

Cleansers with bleach

Liquid grease removers

Steps for Cleaning Vinyl Windows

Here are a few steps on how to clean soft vinyl windows

Step 1. Basic Inspection

Before doing anything, you want to inspect your window and frame. Watch for warping, cracks, or mold. Inspect the screen for rips or cuts. Look for cracks or fogging in the glass. This preliminary check will help you spot problems early and indicate if there is any type of window failure.

Step 2. Remove Sash and Screens

If it makes the job easier, remove window sashes and screens and place them on a flat surface. Do what you can to avoid more dirt exposure. It helps to have an extra set of hands for this job because you don’t want to drop the screens or sashes. Also be careful around the windows. You do not want a child or anyone else to fall through.

Step 3. Clean Frame and Trim

Mix a mild solution of soap and water to clean the vinyl window frame and trim. First rinse the area with clear water, then clean with soap. Use the sponge and soft brush to lift dirt. Promptly rinse with clear water and wipe dry with lint-free cloth. Try to wash, rinse, and dry quickly. Do not let water run down and collect or it might pool in the bottom of the window and lead to future damage. For more stubborn stains, you might need stronger cleaning products. If necessary, you can repeat steps.

Step 4. Clean Glass

Use a glass cleaner or solution of vinegar and water. First rinse the glass surface with clear water, then spray on the cleaning solution. Again, do not allow liquids to run down the window and pool. Rise and wipe dry quickly. For streak free cleaning you might consider using newspaper instead of cloth.

Step 5. Wash the Screen

Remove the screens and put them in the tub, shower, or out on the lawn or driveway. Gently spray the screen with water. Do not use a pressure washer! Instead, use a soft stream of clear water and a soft bristle brush. For more stubborn dirt, use a mixture of mild detergent. Once clean, rinse with clear water and allow time to dry.

Step 6. Clean the Tracks and Reassemble

Last, but not least, clean out the window tracks before reinstalling. Use the vacuum to clear away dirt, and the plastic putty knife to remove larger obstructions. Clean with mild detergent, rinse, and dry. Lube the track with a silicone spray and wipe with a clean cloth. Carefully replace sashes and screens inside the window. Then test the sash to make sure it moves smoothly. Wipe down and lube any hardware, and you are done.

Have any more questions about proper maintenance for your San Diego vinyl windows? Do not hesitate to call us at 760-598-6422. Think it might be time for replacement vinyl windows? Visit our office at 2210 La Mirada Dr, Vista, CA 92081.

How to clean vinyl windows

Frequently Asked Questions About Vinyl Windows Cleaning

What is the best cleaner for vinyl windows?

Cleaning your vinyl windows is easy and can be done with Windex or Lysol. Make sure to spray a small amount of the cleaner onto the window then remove it using a soft cloth.

Clean your windows with vinegar! If you spot mold or mildew, simply mix 30% vinegar to 70% water. This will get rid of it and should help prevent the problem from coming back again in the future.

Bleach can be a great way to clean tough stains. For vinyl windows, mix it at 4:1 with water and apply as you would the detergent solution; then rinse off any excess bleach from your window with clear water!

Best cleaner for white vinyl windows?

Cleaning vinyl windows is easy and safe for the environment. There are two ways to do this: mix a small amount of dish soap with water, or use one-half cup vinegar mixed into three cups of warm water. Apply any sort of cleaning agent in circular motions until all dirt and debris has been removed from your window panes – be sure not to scrub too hard, as it could damage glass surfaces!

How to clean white vinyl window frames?

Before you clean the glass, gently hose down your entire frame and window. Wash it with mild soap and water or vinegar to remove any dirt or grime that might have collected there from outside sources like pollen in the air. Once finished, be sure to rinse off everything before moving onto drying!

Don’t use harsh chemicals on your vinyl window, as it will have negative effects. Instead, fill a spray bottle with one part vinegar to two parts water and cover the surface of the frame in this mixture. Let sit for five minutes before gently scrubbing away any dirt or particles that remain using an old toothbrush/scrub brush; then wipe clean with a soft cloth.

These are some of the tips, facts and advice on how to clean vinyl windows. Contact us for more details and further information.

How to clean vinyl windows

As mentioned in a recent blog , WeatherMaster Porch Windows do not require much maintenance, though we do suggest cleaning them every six months. Just like anything else in your home, keeping your windows clean will preserve their life and luxurious look.

The process for cleaning your porch windows is quite easy though it could take some time to do. In this blog, we’ve outlined steps for cleaning your porch windows. As you continue to read, should you feel the need for further help or would prefer someone else clean your windows, please know we are here to help.

What You’ll Need:

  • Bucket
  • 1 Microfiber Cloth, 1 Cotton Cloth
  • Spray Bottle
  • Pure Silicone Spray or Pledge Furnature Polish
  • Cleaning Solution (We highly recommend Sunspace Vinyl Cleaner though solutions like soap & water, Murphy’s Oil Soap, and vinegar & water can be used as well. Do not use products containing abrasives, ammonia, or other chemicals as they can damage the vinyl.)
  • Vacuum

Step 1: Start out by removing each window panel for easier access. Starting with the bottom vent, raise or lower the panel to release interlock from adjoining panel. Grasp the top of the panel with right hand. With both hands, slide panel to the left. Swing the panel out from the right side of the window frame See demonstration below for how to properly remove each panel.

Step 2: Vacuum window frame to remove any leaves, dust, and dirt.

Step 3: Wipe the remaining dirt away. Using your cleaning solution (mixed in a spray bottle) and a microfiber cloth, gently clean each frame and window panel.

Step 4: Take a clean cotton cloth and your spray bottle to spray a small amount on each side of the 2 vertical tracks, wiping with the cloth to clean.

If you are finding the vents to be somewhat difficult to operate, a small dash of the Silicone Spray or Pledge Furniture Polish can be added to the track for lubrication. A light, quick, dash, or spray is usually all you need. CAUTION not to over-lubricate, or the panels will not stay in place and this is difficult to reverse.

Step 5: Reverse step 1 and replace each window panel, snapping each one back into place. Start with the panel closest to the screen and be sure to overlap each additional panel as you put them back into place.

Timing plays a role in your window cleaning as well. It is best to clean your windows during a warm dry day. You don’t want it to be hot as it will cause your windows to dry quicker than you need them to, leaving soap suds stains on your panels. And, you don’t want it to be cold because it would cause them to dry at a much slower rate.

How to clean vinyl windows

When you’ve invested in window replacement, you want to ensure that your new windows continue to look their best. Vinyl window frames are prized for their easy maintenance and high level of durability. Despite this, can appear dull over time. To keep them looking great, clean carefully using the tips below.

Regular Frame Cleaning

If dirt or dust has gotten on your frames and dulled their appearance, the best thing to do is to clean with a simple vinegar and water solution. Mix three parts of vinegar for every seven parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on and let it sit for several minutes to break down grime. Wash this solution off using a soft brush.

Do not use bleach or harsh abrasives to clean your vinyl windows. These can cause pitting or damage that can hold dirt and grime.

If you find that vinegar is not effective on its own, try using a non-abrasive household cleaner. These can dissolve grime and make it easier to clean up.

Cleaning Paint Off Vinyl

Gotten some paint on your vinyl windows while repainting the inside or outside of your home? First, don’t panic. The first step to cleaning paint off is to allow it to dry thoroughly. If you attempt to remove paint while it is still wet, you can wind up just spreading it around. The result is a thin layer that is harder to clean.

After the paint has dried, start working at the edge with either your fingernail or a plastic scraper. You should be able to lift up the paint blob easily and in one piece.

Paint also sometimes gets on vinyl in specks or flecks from a roller. When attempting to remove this, avoid using razor blades. It is difficult to regulate both the pressure and the angle of the blade. This can make it easy to scratch the vinyl surface. Instead, use a fingernail or a plastic scraper to slowly remove the paint.

Removing Stains from Vinyl

In some cases, a stain can take hold on your vinyl windows before you notice. While these are often permanent, small stains can sometimes be removed with some careful cleaning. Start by applying a non-abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub or a paste of Bon Ami. Allow the solution to sit for several minutes. After, scrub with a wash cloth or a soft brush. It may take several applications before you see an improvement.

Clean your window frames regularly to protect them from permanent stains. If dirt is allowed to sit for months or years, permanent staining can result. By making window frame cleaning part of your seasonal chores, you can keep your frames looking fresh and clean and maintain the good looks of your home.

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How to clean vinyl windows

Vinyl windows are not glass windows and should not be cleaned as though they are glass windows. The biggest mistake homeowners make when cleaning vinyl windows is treating them like they’re glass windows and using cleaners with harsh chemicals like bleach to clean their vinyl windows.

When it’s time to clean your sunroom’s vinyl windows, skip the glass cleaner, bleach, ammonia, or any other harsh, chemical-based cleaners. These types of cleaners will break down the integrity of the vinyl. Stay away from abrasive cleaners and scrubbing pads that can scratch the surface of your vinyl windows, exposing them to further damage.

To properly clean your vinyl windows we recommend first removing your vinyl window panes and rinsing them off using your hose, but gently. A full pressure spray or power washer can damage the vinyl. (You can also hose them down in between cleanings if you want to freshen them up a little.) This will remove any loose dirt and help in preventing scratches during cleaning. Spray the vinyl with a vinyl window cleaner and wipe clean using a microfiber or lint free cloth. (We use Custom Window Systems Vinyl Window Coating, but any cleaner specifically for vinyl windows will work.) You can also use a mixture of 1/4 cup woolite and 1 gallon of water. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly with clean water after you wash with the mixture.

Clean both sides of the vinyl window and the aluminum or vinyl frame. Vacuum the dry track, and replace the panes.

Cleaning vinyl sunroom windows on a hot, sunny day can cause the cleaner or mixture to dry quickly, likely before you have a chance to wipe it off. For best results, wait for an overcast day so you can properly clean and shine the panes, ridding them almost completely of any residue.

High-quality vinyl replacement windows, such as the windows installed by Valley Isle Windows & Doors, are virtually maintenance-free. However, as with any product exposed to atmospheric conditions, they will become dirty and require cleaning from time to time. With very little effort your vinyl windows will retain their “just new” look for many years to come.

In most cases, exterior dirt and grime will wash away during the next heavy rain storm.

CAUTION Use all common safety methods to minimize the risk of hazard.

DO NOT lean out the windows to clean exterior glass surface.

DO NOT depend on screen for support or retention. Screens will not prevent someone from falling out the window.

CAUTION! Most severe window accidents occur on the first floor.

IF IN DOUBT of precautions and dangers, hire a licensed, and insured professional window cleaning service.


  1. Always wash the frames and sashes with a soft cloth or ordinary long-handled soft bristle brush.
  2. For removal of most common dirt and grime, use a solution of mild dish washing detergent and warm water.
  3. Rinse the window.
  4. Avoid washing windows with high pressure sprays, guns, and hoses.


Clean both sides of your glass with any popular glass cleaner and soft cloth or paper towel.

Double Hung Windows – To tilt-in the bottom sash

  1. Be sure the window locking mechanism is in the unlock position.
  2. Raise the window sash approximately 3 inches.
  3. Grasp each side of the sash and use your index finger to disengage tilt latches.
  4. Slowly lower the sash to a convenient cleaning level.
  5. Clean the exterior surface (using a popular glass cleaner and soft cloth or paper towel) by supporting the sash with one hand and cleaning with the other.
  6. Return the sash to original position and be sure both tilt latches click into place.

To tilt-in the top sash (Double Hung)

  1. Tilt-in lower sash as described in previous instructions.
  2. Support the lower sash by using a chair, step ladder, or some other stable support. Be sure to pad the support to prevent damage and be sure sash is supported by the sash frame. Do not support sash by resting the glass on the support.
  3. Pull upper sash down approximately three inches.
  4. Grasp each side of the sash and disengage tilt latches with index fingers.
  5. Slowly allow the sash to tilt-in.
  6. Clean the exterior surface (using a popular glass cleaner and soft cloth or paper towel) by supporting the sash with one hand and cleaning with the other.
  7. Return the upper sash to the original position and be sure both tilt latches click into place.
  8. Return the lower sash to original position and be sure both tilt latches click into place.

How to clean vinyl windows

Slider Windows

  1. Unlock the locking mechanism on the sash.
  2. Slide sash to its fully opened position.
  3. Grasp sash on either side and lift it into the head of the window until bottom of sash clears the sill.
  4. Tilt bottom of sash out and remove the sash from the frame.
  5. Place sash on a soft padded surface and clean exterior glass surface.
  6. Replace sash into frame by repeating steps 1-4 in reverse order.

Note: Optional Tilt-In Slider windows are cleaned in similarly to that of a double hung window (pictured).

How to clean vinyl windowsBefore we talk about cleaning vinyl window frames, if you’re new to the idea of vinyl rather than aluminum, composite, fiberglass or wood, you’re probably wondering why would people choose vinyl?

Vinyl is a strong, durable material that is resistant to deterioration or damage from the ultra-violet rays of the sun, making them long lasting. They are also economical (because they are easier to manufacturer), grime resistant, dirt resistant, energy efficient, can accept double or triple pane windows, and they are made to weather the weather.

Vinyl windows aren’t for everyone, but if you have them or are considering having them installed, it’s probably a good idea to understand how to clean them.

Cleaning your vinyl windows…

Vinyl window frames are made of plastic, and while they are quite sturdy, they are susceptible to scratching, they need to be washed with non abrasives, and shouldn’t be washed with normal window cleaners.

The really nice thing about them is that most models are manufactured to be able to detach and take down in order to clean both the inside and the outside. That means you can clean them almost any time of year, in the comfort of your home and without the use of a ladder for many of those 2nd story windows.

  • How to clean vinyl windowsWhether you take your windows down or leave them in place, clean the glass surface first, being careful not to scrape your vinyl frames or get regular window cleaning solution, solvent or bleach on them.
  • If your frames are particularly dirty with a lot of loose debris, in order to avoid scratching them when you’re washing them down, vacuum the dirt particles off first.
  • Using a solution of mild dish detergent, warm water, along with a soft, non-abrasive cloth (microfiber cloths work great), or sponge, simply wipe down your window frames. A mixture of 30% vinegar and 70% water is also a safe solution to use. This mixture works well on stubborn stains.
  • Finish cleaning your window frames by wiping them down with a soft, dry cloth to remove excess water and any soap residue.

If you’re unsure of how to remove your vinyl windows in order to clean them, here’s a brief video that will demonstrate how it’s done…

I have been cleaning windows in the Seattle area for nearly 30 years, and quite frankly, I enjoy it! I will be happy to answer all of your questions, and I know the mistakes to avoid. I clean private homes or apartment complexes.

Vinyl windows are supposed to be low maintenance, but with the unpredictable weather of Boston, MA, they could use a good cleaning every now and then.

A combination of the slush from the high volume of snow, and the dirt that just seems to get everywhere, can leave your Boston windows streaked with grime and debris. Admittedly, the last thing you want to do when the weather is decent for the next two minutes is to go outside and clean your windows.

But it’s as easy as the Sox getting into the World Series (this century, at least), and it really pays off in the long run. Here are some of our best tips for how to clean vinyl window frames and keep them looking as clean as our parks in the Emerald Necklace.

Exterior Vinyl Window Cleaning Tips

Cleaning the outside of vinyl window frames is sure to add curb appeal, and impress the people stuck in the Boston traffic outside of your house. Create a simple cleaning solution by mixing 1-1/2 cups of distilled white vinegar with one gallon of warm water (pro tip: Add the juice of half a lemon to this to mask the vinegar odor) or mix a teaspoon of mild soap in a gallon of warm water.

Rinse the outside of the windows with water to dislodge the metric ton of Massachusetts dirt just sitting around the edges.

Once the windows have been rinsed, apply the cleaning solution to the glass and frames. Use a soft sponge or a lint-free cloth to clean the vinyl windows.

If you’re using a soapy solution, rinse the windows again to prevent soap scum from drying on them, then use a lint-free cloth to dry the windows. If you’ve chosen the vinegar solution, dry the windows with a cloth to enjoy new-looking windows that will finally take your home off of the waiting list for historical sites to put on Freedom Trail.

Now you can go back inside before it starts snowing again in the middle of October.

How to Clean the Inside of Vinyl Windows

You don’t need to be in shape for the Boston marathon to clean the inside either. Here as well, you’ll want to remove all dirt and debris from the frame, tracks, and screen before you deep clean those windows.

Your vacuum comes in handy to dislodge soil, dirt, and unexplained bits of New England clam chowder from the window. If you’re noticing a lot of debris along the window sill, your windows may need weather stripping or sealing, which can block the frigid Boston air (and dirt) from passing through the window.

When it comes to cleaning vinyl window tracks, cleaning wipes work well for getting into the corners. Run wipes up and down along the tracks to pick up dust and dirt. You will know you’re done when the wipes don’t show the Celtic green color from the Boston pollen and dirt taken from the window.

You may use the same cleaning solution to clean the inside of the window as the exterior, at least now you’re a little warmer. Cleaning vinyl window frames inside your home is straightforward. Simply apply your soap or vinegar solution to the window frame, working from the top down. This way, you will not accidentally drip on areas you’ve already cleaned.

Showing a bit of that Boston elbow grease can help you remove dirt and debris from the window without damaging the frames. If you encounter a stubborn stain, scrub the area with a soft-bristled cleaning brush.

Some folks in The Hub like to use a squeegee to remove the cleaning solution without leaving streaks on the window. However, your lint-free cloth will also work to clean and dry the interior of the window frame. Paper towels are a poor choice to clean the window since they will leave lint particles on your glass.

If you have sun exposure, you may notice the window cleaner starts to dry before you’ve finished the job. Another of our top window cleaning tips is to work on an overcast day when you will not be fighting the sun (which is just about 95% of the year in Boston).

If your windows look cloudy or dirty even after you have cleaned them, it may be time to replace your vinyl windows. Grab a cup of coffee from Dunkies, sit back, and check out high-quality vinyl windows from Window Nation or reach out to get a free estimate for replacement windows in Boston.