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window-webRISMEDIA, April 30, 2009-(MCT)-With spring in full bloom and the sun wandering the sky more than half of every day, it might be an appropriate time for you to let all the light indoors that you can by washing the windows.

The National Safety Council, along with Simonton Windows offers these tips to get the most out of your windows:

Never use a high-pressure spray: The extreme pressure could crack or destroy caulking around the units. Instead, take the time to clean the windows individually. If you have windows with vinyl frame, a soft cloth or long-handled soft-bristle brush and some mild detergent may be all that’s necessary to maintain your windows. Do not use abrasive cleaners that may scratch the frame or glass.
Stain removal: To remove unexpected stains on vinyl windows and door frames (such as bubblegum, felt-tip pens, lipstick, motor oil, or top soil), try using Fantastik cleaner. For tougher stains (such as tar, pencil, or oil marks) use Soft Scrub. If the children decide to draw on the windows with crayon, Lestoil can often remove their creative efforts.
Tilt-in windows: It won’t help you now, but when it’s time to replace your windows, order those with a tilt-in feature. All cleaning takes place inside the home, so ladders are not necessary. With the release of a safety lock, the window sash can carefully drop (or swing) into the home to make cleaning fast and easy.
Clean the stripping: Vacuum around the edges of your weather stripping to remove dirt buildup. Carefully vacuum window screens regularly instead of removing them and cleaning with soap and water.
Sock it to them: Recycle old white cotton socks and use them for cleaning windowsills and frames. Try using a light combination of vinegar and water to get the glass sparkling.
Don’t tamper: Never insert nails or screws in the interior or exterior of a window frame to hold up holiday decorations or lights. Window frames should never be tampered with or they can lose their ability to function properly. There’s also the chance that something inserted in the frame could compromise the energy efficiency of the window or even puncture the waterproof channel of the frame.
Polishing brass: If you have brass hardware on your windows, use a dry, clean, soft cotton cloth in a well-ventilated area to remove dust and dirt from the protective lacquer coating on the hardware. Over time, all brass hardware eventually develops tarnish when the protective coating breaks down. When this happens, remove the hardware from the window and use fine steel wool soaked in a light oil or soapy water on the hardware. Restore the clean hardware’s luster with polish and then apply several coatings of a quality automobile wax.
Buddy system: If you have to use a ladder to gain access to the exterior of your windows for cleaning, use the buddy system. Always have someone hold the base of the ladder for you and secure it on a level surface. Avoid loose-fitting clothing (which could get stuck in the ladder), and wear close-toed shoes or sneakers.
Frame cleaning: Thoroughly wash the exterior frames of your windows (including the sill that is exposed within your home closest to the screens) twice a year. Remove any bugs or dirt that may have accumulated. Over time, dirt may accumulate on window edges and corners. To remove the buildup, use cotton swabs dipped in vinegar. Be sure to thoroughly rinse with water afterward.

© 2009, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.