How to Open Double Pane Windows for Cleaning

opening a double paned window

Double pane or dual pane windows are made from two panes of glass sealed together with a particular gas or plain air in-between. When they’re working properly, double-pane windows offer excellent insulation, and no moisture or dirt can get between the two glass panes. This means cleaning the interior of the inside pane and the exterior of the outside pane will give you clear windows. Unfortunately, double-pane windows don’t remain sealed forever. They can become leaky, which leads to clouds, spots, and other issues in between the panes. If this happens, you’ll need tricks to give you internal access or to open a double-pane window for window cleaning

Most often, you need a professional to clean up the inside of a double pane window, but you may be able to temporarily clean inside your windows by drilling and pouring in isopropyl alcohol. This is a risky solution though, and it’s best to work with professionals if your double-pane window seal fails. 

Before diving into the cleaning aspect, it’s essential to understand how double-pane windows function and why they are beneficial. Double-pane windows consist of two glass panes with a space in between that is sealed and filled with gas or air. This design is not just for aesthetics; it plays a crucial role in insulation. The space between the glass panes acts as a barrier, reducing heat transfer and noise from outside. Gases like argon or krypton are often used in this space because they are denser than air, offering better insulation and improving energy efficiency. This makes double-pane windows an excellent choice for energy savings and comfort in both hot and cold climates.

Maintaining the integrity of your double-pane windows is key to ensuring their longevity and effectiveness. Regular preventive maintenance can help avoid common issues like seal failure, which leads to moisture or dirt getting trapped between the panes. Here are some tips for maintaining your double-pane windows:

  • Regular Inspections: Periodically check the seals around your double-pane windows for signs of wear and tear. Look for cracks, gaps, or areas where the sealant may be peeling away. Early detection of these issues can prevent more significant problems down the line.
  • Avoid Extreme Temperature Variations: Be mindful of activities that could cause rapid temperature changes near your windows, such as using a hairdryer or heat gun. Extreme temperature variations can cause the seals to expand and contract, leading to potential damage over time.
  • Clean Gently: When cleaning the frames and seals, use a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner to avoid damaging the seals. Harsh chemicals or rough cleaning tools can degrade the sealant material.
  • Professional Check-Ups: Consider having a professional inspect your windows every few years, especially if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions. They can provide expert advice and carry out any necessary repairs to keep your windows in top condition.

By understanding the functionality of double-pane windows and adhering to these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your windows remain effective and clear for years to come. Now, let’s look at the best ways to clean your double-pane window glass, keeping these maintenance tips in mind.

What Are the Best Ways to Clean Double Pane Window Glass?

If your double pane windows are behaving as they’re meant to, you can use standard window cleaning techniques on the interior and exterior glass of your window to achieve a professional-level clean. This means washing your windows with a standard solution, a scrubber tool, and a squeegee. Unfortunately, many double-pane windows have damaged or failing seals and become wet or dirty inside. 

How to Clean Double Pane Windows That Are Dirty Inside

If your double pane window has moisture or dirt inside, it isn’t a functional window. It has damaged seals that aren’t working properly. If you have double-pane windows fogging slightly, you may be able to alleviate the issue by running a dehumidifier near the window for a day. If that doesn’t work, you should seek professional help. 

It’s possible to clean the inside of double pane windows by drilling holes and pouring alcohol down them or by adding desiccants into the holes of the windows, but this isn’t recommended. Instead, if your windows are foggy or dirty, you should try using a dehumidifier and then call a professional. 

There are window experts that can separate double-pane windows and reseal them. This is sometimes worth the cost, though you can often replace your windows for a little more than what a double-pane window cleaning service will charge you. If your double pane windows become moist or dirty inside, consult with professionals to get optimum results. 

How to Remove Moisture Between Window Panes

It’s common for double-pane, tri-pane, or quad-pane windows to develop a problem with moisture between the glass layers. This occurs when one of the window seals fails. The true repair for this problem is to have the window professionally cleaned and resealed. If you want a quick fix, you may be able to temporarily remove moisture from between the window panes. 

To quickly remove moisture from between your window panes, install a dehumidifier near your window on the inside. Run the dehumidifier with the inlet facing the window for several days. If the seal is failing on the inside of your window, the dehumidifier may remove the moisture from between the glass panes. If this doesn’t work, you should consult with professional double-pane window cleaners to get your window cleaned and restored. 

How to Clean Old Windows

While most windows should be cleaned the same way, cleaning very old windows can be particularly challenging to do well. If you’re wondering how you clean 40-year-old windows, or even 100-year-old windows, there are some little extras to remember. 

Use a Tough Cleanser on Heavily Soiled Windows

When cleaning windows that are a few decades old, you must get through layers of grime. Starting with a powerful cleaning solution that makes use of part distilled water and part ammonia and soap works well to cut through grime well. Add in a window scraper tool, as well as steel wool and a Scotch-Brite pad, and you can effectively clean through any type of stain with enough time. 

The key to cleaning old and dirty windows safely is to apply each tool gently and carefully at first to verify that you aren’t doing damage. Slowly increase your cleaning intensity with the tool once you know you aren’t doing damage. 

Finish cleaning the window by wiping away the grime with your squeegee and drying things off with a microfiber towel. 

Take Extra Caution When Cleaning Historic or Stained Glass Windows

When attempting to restore stained glass windows or historic windows, you should take care to avoid doing any unintended damage. This means don’t use acidic cleaning products or solutions with ammonia. You should also avoid glass scrapers and very abrasive cleaning scrubbers. Something softer, like a lite-duty Scotch-Brite cleaning pad, makes a reliable scrubber. Pair that with a gentle soap and filtered water solution for an effective clean. 

Slowly scrub away the layers of grime on your sensitive windows and finish the cleaning with a clean squeegee to get a complete clean. 

S&K Building Services Can Help You Clean Difficult to Care for Windows 

Whether you want to verify that your windows can be cleaned or you have windows that are challenging to clean, S&K Building Services has the tools and experience to clean your windows to professional standards. Get all your window-related questions answered, and have your windows cleaned efficiently and reliably once you contact S&K Building Services and schedule an appointment. 

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How do you open double-pane windows for cleaning?

If your double pane windows become dirty between the layers of glass, it’s tempting to want to try to open them to clean inside. This isn’t a realistic solution, though. You can attempt minor fixes, like drying the inside with a dehumidifier. Eventually, your window must be professionally opened, cleaned, and re-sealed to be functional. 

Can fogged-up double-pane windows be repaired?

Double-pane windows with a failed seal become foggy inside. When this happens, a professional must open the window, clean and dry it, and seal it again to make a repair. This is not a project for a DIYer. 

How do you clean double-pane storm windows?

You can clean double-pane storm windows by removing them and scrubbing the interior and exterior surfaces of the glass. Use a soapy solution, a scrubber brush, and a squeegee to get a deep clean.

How do you open double-hung windows for cleaning?

To open double-hung windows to clean them on the outside, you must unlock the top latch and slide the window pane down. Now reach out and use a u-shaped pole and scrubber to clean the exterior glass. Unlatch the bottom lock and slide the lower window up to access more exterior glass and repeat this process. You will struggle to clean all the glass this way. It’s best to clean these windows from the exterior of your home, using a ladder or an extension pole. 

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