Thursday, November 3, 2011

Best Clean Windows in San Antonio or Anywhere Else for that Matter

The home girl has cleaned up all the Halloween Decorations at the homestead. (with a bunch of help from the hubby)

Halloween has got to be one of my favorite holidays for many reasons.
  1. Candy
  2. Grown ups can play dress up.
  3. You don't have to have a clean house for it to look absolutely marvelous!
  4. Chocolate Candy
  5. Dust and spider webs and windows you can't see through are appropriate.
  6. Snickers, Butterfingers, Peanut M&M's
  7. Everybody loves witches and its ok to act like like one.
  8. More Candy
Alas, it's over. The pumpkins are melting, the bats and ghosts are back in a box, the left over candy is hidden so that I will forget where  I put it and all that is left are a few cobwebs, some dust and  thoughts of the next big event - Thanksgiving.  

It's time to clear away the dust and the cobwebs and get the home clean, sparkly and ready for the holidays.

The best way for a truly great outlook is to clean up what you are looking out.  (That's terrible grammar, but I hope you get the gist of what I am trying to say.)  Clean your windows!

The best recipe that I ever found for sparkly windows came from an article in the San Antonio Express News in December 2001 by Maribel Zimmerman. 

Please read the whole article and you will find the recipe for sparkly windows at the bottom of the page. 


San Antonio Express-News Sunday Real Estate  Sunday Dec 9, 2001
By Maribel Zimmerman

Some windows look like they were cleaned with a good amount of spit and an oily mechanics rag.  Sticky fingers and wet noses pressed to the glass can wreak havoc on your view, too.  But some windows look worse after they have been cleaned.  Why?  What could possibly have gone wrong?  Plenty.

Hastily pursuing the perfect view can mean forgetting the most important credos of crystal clear windows:  clean water and the right tools.  So, how do you get windows to sparkle the first time?  It's really not that hard. 

There are several ways to do the job right.  Commercial cleaning solutions can work well, but are not necessary for the job. Old fashioned household cleaners are plentiful in most homes - and expensive. 

Experts at Andersen-Windows suggest beginning with the right stuff:  rubber gloves; two buckets or one bucket with two wells; sudsy ammonia; white vinegar; rubbing alcohol; several clean, dry rags, a squeegee; and a ladder, if necessary. 

Now, follow these steps to the best view you've ever enjoyed:

1.  First, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions on each cleaning agent and all tools before beginning.  In addition, use extreme caution when using ladders around open windows to maintain safe operation and avoid injury.  If elevation devices are required, do not use furniture, only equipment intended for that purpose, including ladders, scaffolding, and step stools.  And follow all the manufacturers instructions for safe operation.
2.  Fill both buckets with 1 to 2 gallons of the hottest water your gloved hands can stand.  Use caution in handling hot water to avoid burns and scalding. 
3.  In one of the two buckets, add one cup each of ammonia and vinegar, plus two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and stir.  The latter will help the water evaporate and add that "twinkle" factor.
4.  Begin at the top of the house at the top of the window.
5.  Wipe the entire surface with the solution.  If necessary, bugs, stickers, and stubborn marks can be removed with a new straight-edge blade, being careful to avoid personal injury or damage to the wndow.  Once the dirt is removed, wipe the window a second time with the clear water.
6.  Immediately squeegee the window, using a rag to wipe the squeegee dry after each swipe.  This will limit the streaks caused by wet lines of water at the squeegee's edge and eliminate dripping onto your sparkling windows with wet tools. 
7.  Use a clean cloth to wipe only the wet corners and the sill.
Some extra tips
  • Again, use extreme caution when working around open window openings.  Never leave a window unattended, especially when children are present.  Falls may result in serious injury or death. 
  • Try swiping in only one direction - horizontal or vertical on the inside of the house, and the other direction on the outside.  If you do find streaks, you'll know which side needs to be redone. 
  • Change the water often to eliminate streaks.
  • Tie a rope to the squeegee and secure it to the ladder or your belt in case you drop it.  Letting the solution dry onto the window while you climb down to retrieve your tools could be the difference between sparkle and debacle.
  • Try cleaning windows on sunny, but dry days. Sunlight dries the solution too fast and makes streaks more likely. 
  • Really dirty windows may need to be rinsed first with the garden hose, but be prepared to clean them immediately.  Hard water stains can be stubborn. 
For more information about windows, including maintenance, repair and replacement, contact the Greater San Antonio Builders Association at (210) 696-3800 for a free copy of the Remodelors Directory. 

The Greater San Antonio Builders Association is a local trade association that offers opportunities to its members to display their products and services. 
It makes no representations expressed or implied , regarding the qualifications of its members or the quality of their products and services, but invites you to examine them for yourself at

Maribel Zimmerman is an architecutral representatve for Black Millwork Co. Inc., a member of the Greater San Antonio Builders Association Remodelors Council
This is the recipe for sparkly windows

1 cup ammonia
1 cup vinegar
2 Tablespoons Rubbing Alcohol
1 to 2 gallons of HOT water (stir it all together)

After removing the dirt, wipe with clear water only, then squegee.

*Home Girl Note
This article was written almost 10 years ago. The website for The Greater San Antonio Builders Association is still good, but I'm not sure about the phone number or if they still have copies of the Remodelors Council Directory. 
I do know this recipe for cleaning windows works.  It did 10 years ago, and it still does.  I have had many clients and other agents ask for my secret, and it's really no secret!  I found this article last week when I was cleaning out a file, and thought this would be a great time to share it.
Sparkly windows just make us feel better.  They make a home look better and may be just the missing piece to help somebody's home sell.  If nothing else, clean windows give us  a better outlook.  :-)  

I am Stephanie Kelley, Realtor® at Keller Williams Legacy, San Antonio, Texas. If you have questions about San Antonio real estate or just want to chat a bit about our wonderful Alamo City, please call me at or (210) 867-8743, or E-mail me at Our experienced Realty Solutions Team is always ready to help you with your home buying or selling needs. Visit me at

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