How to Clean Window Sills and Tracks

How to Clean Window Sills and Tracks

With winter on its way, it’s time to get your home ready for cold weather. With your windows likely to remain closed until spring, it’s also an ideal “window” of time to learn how to clean your window tracks and sills.

Not sure how to clean window sills properly? With dirt, debris, and curious insects trying to make your home their home throughout the summer,  you’ll have your work cut out for you. Here’s what you’ll need to know to get started.

Tricks for Cleaning Window Tracks

  • Check your sills, indoors and out: The channel formed by your window tracks provides a space for debris build-ups like pollen and dirt, which can become pressed stubbornly into some hard-to-reach angles. Check all sills to see if they’re in need of cleaning.
  • Prepare your cleaning solution: Need to know how to clean window sills and your window tracks? A one-to-three part solution of water and distilled white vinegar will do the trick The gently acidic vinegar will loosen tough stains, making them easy to wipe away with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Use improvised tools: Use a q-tip or an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to rub and scrub lingering dirt in track edges.
  • Take your time: The best way to clean your window tracks is to go slowly and carefully – haste makes waste, or in this case, potential mildew! Don’t leave any pooled liquid in corners or cracks.

Window Sill Cleaning Hacks

  • Check the fit: Your windows should close and lock securely – any rattling or “give” in a closed window frame or pane spells trouble. If your window doesn’t fill its track or doesn’t sit flush against its edges, moisture and debris can leak in. If you suspect your window needs replacing, schedule a window replacement before cold weather to achieve the best results.
  • Improve your air quality: More visible than window tracks, sills are more likely to get wiped down and dusted as part of routine cleaning. They are also more likely to experience scratched or chipping paint, dents, dings, and general wear and tear.
  • Surface clean for health: Externally, window sills can be a collection point for residue for pollution like smog and car exhaust, which the EPA warns can affect indoor air quality. Cleaning them ensures that residue won’t make its way into your home, where it can cause health issues.
  • Avoid harmful chemicals: If you have children or pets, you may wonder what to clean window sills with safely. A diluted vinegar solution (3 parts warm water to 1 part distilled white vinegar), poured into a spray bottle, is easy to apply, affordable, safe, and effective.

How to Clean Window Sills with Damage

If the paint on your windowsills isn’t as smooth as it once was, consider a touch-up before winter. The appropriate-color interior paint topped off with the proper sealant will make wiping, dusting, and cleaning window sills easier over time. If you notice deep cracks, grooves, or damage to the sill, it may be time to consider upgrading your windows. By the time you see damage to your windowsill, issues like wood rot could be advanced on the interior of the window frame.

The US Department of Energy recommends installing or upgrading to modern, well-maintained windows to help keep you warm and comfortable year-round. A quick and thorough cleaning of your window tracks and sills this month will prepare your home for winter.