Spring flowers are emerging from soggy ground, there are mild days, then Storm Doris days …. pretty much the norm for March in the UK!
What else? Well it’s also coming up to spring cleaning time …. where on earth did that idea come from, I hear you ask? The cynics might think it‘s a commercial ploy to get us to buy more rubber gloves, mops and dusters but in fact, it has its roots in some age-old beliefs and customs.
For example, in Jewish custom, Passover is also a time of thorough house cleaning as a way of ensuring that any crumbs of leavened bread are not overlooked, which would be considered an insult to God during this period of time [source: History Channel].
Some other cultures also put themselves forward as the originators of spring cleaning. Like Iranians, the Chinese clean their homes in anticipation of the new year which comes shortly after the western new year. Floors are swept and homes cleaned to get rid of bad luck and misfortune that they might have encountered during the previous year. Once the home is gleaming, they welcome in good fortune and to ensure that they don’t sweep it away, they observe a few ‘non-sweeping’ days!
An alternative train of thought is that spring cleaning could simply be put down to biological reasons. We often feel sluggish and lacking energy during the winter months as we’re exposed to less light which in turn causes the pineal gland to produce melatonin – a hormone that causes sleepiness. However when the sun comes out, the melatonin production slows down and we have more energy. So perhaps this is why we ‘wake up’ and decide to have a good clean around after the long winter months where our homes can get a little dusty around the edges!
So whatever the reason for giving the inside of our homes a good old wash and brush up, we mustn’t neglect the outside. The harsh winter weather can leave it looking a bit tired, so how can we get the outside looking as pristine as the inside?
If you have good quality uPVC installations, you’ll know that it is very resilient to exposure to all kinds of weather but just like everything else, it does need a little tlc to keep it in good condition. So whether you have uPVC windows, doors or a conservatory (or all of them), here are some hints on how to get them looking good again.
To begin with open the windows to reveal the channel where the hinges and locking keeps sit, then using a small paint brush, loosen the dirt and then use a vacuum cleaner hose to suck out any loose dirt.
There are commercial products available to clean uPVC, however a non-abrasive cloth and soapy water works very well too. Wash the entire window inside and out and wipe down afterwards with a soft clean cloth, making sure you clean in the channel and the rubbers.
If you look on the opener where it closes onto the frame, you might see a marked line. This can be cleaned off with the soapy water and if you fully extend the opener as far as it will go, you will also be able to clean the top of the opener easily.
Sometimes you might find that decorators have left tiny specks of paint on the glass. This can be quite tricky to remove so please be very careful if you are using a Stanley knife blade as you don’t want to scratch the glass in any way. Angle the blade as flat as possible and go very slowly. If you’re unsure then get a professional to do it.
These tips should be sufficient for relatively new windows, but sometimes the older windows just need that little extra attention.
White uPVC frames
A cream cleaner works well on older frames, just make sure it is non abrasive. This can be used to bring out any fine dirt from white uPVC frames that might have minor scratches but be careful not to wipe away any silicone lines. Also, try and always use paper-based cloths or a white cloth so as not to transfer any dye from the cloth onto the frames.
Woodgrain and bespoke finishes
A spray of oil such as WD40 is all that is needed to give the frames a good finish and also to help protect the frames from the elements and to help bird droppings not to stick so easily! Try not to get the oil on the glass as it can take a bit of effort to remove it.
Glass can be cleaned very easily using an industrial strength, purpose-made glass cleaner. A good glass cleaner won’t streak or smear but make sure you use a paper cloth that won’t break down and leave little fibres over the glass. Again, purpose-made glass cleaning paper roll is the best option.
Hinges, locks and handles
Maintaining the working parts isn’t just a job for Spring, it’s best done every 3 to 6 months to keep everything moving freely. Custom Glaze will advise you on how to do this when we’ve finished your installation, but here’s a reminder.
Handles – Spray some oil (e.g. WD40) onto the window lock key and insert it into the lock. Give it a gentle wiggle and push it in and out a few times. This will help to free up any locks that have got a bit stiff through exposure to condensation (in the kitchen or bathroom, for example).
Locking mechanism – with the window open, give the locking system a good spray of oil.
Hinges – Hinges should be sprayed in the open position to prevent any major friction coming from any slight rusting. Hinges are the most worked part of a window and take all the weight of the opener so it’s important to regularly maintain them to avid any problems over time.
If you need any further advice, please give us a call.