Tinted window films are changing the landscape of residential and commercial buildings alike. They are a cost-effective way to upgrade your home or office without the need of a full window replacement. In our guide, you’ll find useful tips and tricks on how to clean tinted windows in your home.
But before we get into the cleaning details let’s explore what advantages you get from having tinted film on your house windows:
The benefits of tinted windows
Tinted windows come with many benefits like better personal privacy, artistic home decoration and lower levels of UV light passing through. There’s even more and here’s the full list of advantages you get from your tinted glass windows:
- Additional energy savings – the greatest advantage of the window glass is its transparency. Unfortunately, the glass itself has very poor insulating qualities. This disadvantage, coupled with the climate change during the last decades, requires energy efficiency solution for both domestic and commercial properties. Office and house windows are one of the main reasons for heat loss during the winter months and heat gain during the summer season. The application of tinted film on the glass let’s you reduce the solar heat gain significantly. As a result, the heating and cooling costs could be minimised remarkably.
- Improved privacy – when you need an alternative to curtains and blinds you can use tinted film on your windows. This way you can still have natural light entering your home while protecting what’s inside from prying eyes.
- Reduced glare – one major disadvantage of glass is the glare effect. During the bright sunny days this glaring effect may lead to visibility problems and cause discomfort. So how do you reduce sun glare on windows? The solution comes from various kinds of commercial and residential tinted films that have the ability to reduce sun glare by more than a half.
- Preserve your health – most people are already aware that both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) sun rays can damage the skin. It is also well known that glass windows effectively block UVB rays. What many people underestimate is the fact that some 50% of UVA rays will still pass through the glass. This unfiltered spectrum of the sunlight may lead to skin ageing, pigmentation and a higher risk of skin cancer. Photosensitivity makes things even worse leading to phototoxic or photoallergic reactions. According to Skin Cancer Foundation tinted window films “block out up to 99.9 percent of UVR”, and when it comes to your health this is your first line of defence inside your home or office.
- Prevent fading – UV rays have a damaging effect not only on your body but to your belongings too. Just observe what happens to your furnishings when they are exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged time.
- Provide colour and patterned decoration – with a wide range of colours, geometric forms and patterns the window film is able to transform your glass. From a plain colourless surface, your window may turn into an eye-catching piece of art.
Now you know all the perks you get from having tinted windows, but how do you take proper care of them? Read further to find the answer to your question.
How to safely clean tinted windows
When cleaning tinted windows one should be a notch more careful and selective what cleaning products and equipment to choose for the job. You should avoid using sharp blade squeegees, paper towels and newspapers because they can leave scratches on the tinted glass surface. Also, you must avoid ammonia-based cleaning solution. It breaks down the adhesive layers of the window tint or the solar control film which are made of a polyester base or more specifically from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The film will start to fade, crack, shell off and disintegrate.
Ammonia is a substance found in a lot of glass cleaners. However, it’s not advisable to buy and clean with them not only for the reasons mentioned above but also because it’s harmful to your health. When cleaning your windows inside ammonia fumes will accumulate in the enclosed space and can cause coughing, nose and throat irritation or even burning of the respiratory tract.
Another rather key factor and negative aspect of these glass cleaners is that they will not exactly make your windows smear-free. The ammonia solutions tend to leave streaks across the glass. Then you will need repeatedly to wash the same window only to be able to achieve the shining effect you are striving for.
Is it OK to use Windex on tinted windows?
When shopping for cleaners, look carefully at their contents, avoid strong cleaning agents, go for the mild ones and for the ammonia-free glass cleaners. A preferable and budget-saving alternative is to make your own homemade eco-friendly window cleaning solution with the help of distilled water, white vinegar and mild dishwashing liquid.
Cleaning windows with pure water (distilled water) is the better choice. Almost everywhere the tap water we use is known as “hard” water because it contains calcium, iron, lime and minerals. These elements are the cause for the drop stains left on surfaces around the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, on the tiles and on any glass surface. Using that water for window cleaning is not a good idea because you’ll only get smeared windows and the minerals can easily leave microscopic scratches on the tint/ film. The distilled water can perfectly clean the window and remove any dirt without leaving any spots behind.
What You Will Need:
- 2 Microfiber or soft, lint-free cotton cloths;
- 2 Spray bottles;
- Rubber squeegee;
- Telescopic pole;
- Distilled water;
- Mild dishwasher liquid;
- White vinegar.
How to clean tinted film windows step-by-step:
- Mix 2 cups distilled water, 3 tablespoons vinegar and ½ teaspoon liquid dish soap in the first spray bottle. Fill the other bottle only with the distilled water which will be used to rinse the tinted window.
- Spray the glass surface with the cleaning solution and rub the glass with the microfiber cloth, but not very hard. You only need to loosen the accumulated dirt. Don’t forget to dampen the cloth with the distilled water first.
- Use the squeegee to remove the soapy water. Move the tool vertically and horizontally from top to bottom to squeegee the window. Remove any suds from the windowsill and frames with a dry soft cloth.
- Rinse the window by spraying it only with the distilled water. Use the squeegee to remove the excess water and then wipe the glass surface with the dry microfiber cloth. Be careful not to leave any wet spot behind, especially on the frames and on the sills.
Tips on cleaning tinted windows
- Newly tinted windows need time for the tint/ film to set. Usually, 30 days after installation is enough time. Still, the weather conditions should be taken into consideration. If it is a cooler period with high humidity, it’s advisable to wait a bit longer before cleaning the windows.
- Perspiration and water bubbles under the film is not a sign of installation gone wrong or that the film is of low quality. This is a normаl effect for a newly tinted window glass. It usually takes up to three months for the underside of the film to dry completely. However, you can still clean the window after the initial 30 days after the installation has passed.
- Tinted glass windows reduce the amount of heat that is transferred through the glazing and during the day they tend to heat up. That is why it is preferable to clean them in the morning or in the evening before the window panes get warm.
- Cleaning your tinted film windows regularly and safely will extend their lifespan. High-quality window films can last up to 15 or 20 years if they are properly treated and maintained.
Vinegar on tinted windows – the best way to clean off nicotine stains
Vinegar is known as a universal cleaning agent and it’s a really good solution for window cleaning. As mentioned above when you wash your tinted windows, you should be careful not to damage the tint/ film. Although vinegar is an acid, it’s safe to use for this type of windows. It’s the perfect cleaner when you have to tackle the nicotine stains from the tinted glass.
Here’s the detailed process step-by-step:
- Mix in a spraying bottle equal parts water and white vinegar. If you would like to neutralize the smell of vinegar, add into the solution 3 lemon rinds and a few drops of an essential oil of your choice. Close the bottle and shake it. Leave the mix to infuse for a week.
- Spray the tinted window with the mix and leave it for a couple of minutes. During that time the nicotine from the tinted glass surface will disintegrate. Afterwards, it would be easier for you to rub the glass with a non-abrasive sponge or with a microfiber cloth and to break off the stains.
- Clean off the solution with a squeegee. Then, polish the tinted window with a microfiber cloth and remove any wet spots left behind on the sill and the frames.
All these cleaning and maintenance tips can be very helpful, but what if the tinted film has been damaged and needs replacement? How do you get rid of the glue that’s left on glass? Here’s the answer:
How to clean tinted window glue
Before you put the new film layer you have to clean the glass to perfection from the glue residue. How do you do that? By following this simple procedure:
- Remove any furnishings in front or around the window and cover the carpet to avoid any damage from the cleaning process.
- Take a clean microfiber cloth
- Soak up the cloth with acetone (nail polish remover)
- Wipe with circular motion the glue off your window. Be patient as it might take a little more elbow grease to get rid of the glue.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you get to a sparkling clean glass.
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With all these useful tips and tricks on how to clean the tinted windows in your home, you should be ready to preserve your valuable asset for years to come.
Header Image Photo Source: Shutterstock / Author Stephen Finn
Posted in Cleaning Guides
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