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Your new solar window films are doing a great job of blocking UV rays, providing a bit of privacy, and lowering cooling costs. In the meantime, you may have noticed that they’ve lost their crystal clear, brand new look. In that case, it’s time for a cleaning. Before you get started though, make sure you clean the windows in compliance with your window film installer’s and/or the manufacturer’s instructions.  

General Instructions For Safely Cleaning Solar Window Film

The following are general instructions for keeping your solar window films clean, but we always recommend referring to the manufacturer’s instructions (these are available online via a search for manufacturer/product name online). 

Is the solar window film relatively new? 

If the solar window film were recently installed, you can take a breather for the first month or so. It can take about 30 days for the films to settle in and “cure.” Cleaning during the first, 30-day window can affect the fit and look of your films. Plus, most window films do not require cleaning more than every month or so anyway. 

If you notice your window film has little bubbles and/or a foggy appearance, wait longer than 30 days – even up to 90 days – before washing them. If the fog or bubbles do not disappear after 90 days, contact your solar window film installer and let them know. This could be a sign that the film is faulty, the windows were not properly prepared, or that the installation was not handled correctly.

Never use abrasive window cleaning products or equipment 

Abrasive cleaners or equipment should never be used on window films as they can scratch or cut the material. Therefore, avoid using the following on your films: 

  • Scouring pads 
  • Brushes 
  • Abrasive paper towels (like cheap or rough paper towels or newspaper) 
  • Baking soda or cleansers that have baking soda as an ingredient 

Use soft, lint-free towels or cloths 

If you plan to wash your windows on a regular basis, we recommend investing in one of the following: 

  • A high-quality window cleaning scrubber: preferably with a microfiber pad or sponge on one side and a squeegee on the other. These are specifically designed to clean windows, including windows with films. Do not purchase any window cleaning wand or product that has an abrasive layer or border as that can scratch the film. 
  • Washable, reusable microfiber cloths. If you do not want to purchase a scrubber, purchase washable microfiber cloths, which can be washed and reused. If you go the microfiber cloth route, do not use fabric softener in the wash cycle. The oils that soften your clothes and linens remain inside the fibers and will leave a smudgy or streaky trail no matter how hard you wash or wipe the windows. 
  • High-end paper towels. If you cannot comfortably blow your nose in the paper towel, we wouldn’t use it on your windows. You can Click Here to read review.com’s top paper towel choices for 2020. The first five on the list are all known for their soft and absorbent properties. That said, a soft cloth or rag is always preferable to paper towels to err on the safe, scratch-free side.  
  • Squeegee. If you do not have a window washing wand with a combined pad/squeegee combo, you will want to have a squeegee for the best, streak-free drying results. 

Fill a Spray Bottle With Mild Window Cleaning Solution 

You can use any, non-abrasive window cleaning solutions – but be careful before choosing an ammonia-based cleanser as it can ruin certain window film products. Mild liquid dish soap and warm water solution is every bit as effective as store-bought products and exponentially more affordable. 

Fill a 32 oz spray bottle with warm water and add four- to five-drops of mild dish soap or no-tears baby shampoo. Gently swirl or shake to mix it up. It’s that simple! 

It’s Cleaning Time 

Now, you’re ready to clean any windows that have a solar window film. 

  1. Dampen your window sponge or soft, lint-free rag/towel of choice and wring it out. 
  1. Use your spray bottle (filled with a mild soap cleanser) and thoroughly spray the window surface. 
  1. Spread the soapy solution around with the damp window scrubber or towel, gently pressing as needed for more stubborn smudges, finger/pet prints, etc. 
  1. Rinse the scrubber/towel with water until it runs clean and uses it to rinse the remaining solution from the window. You may need to repeat the rinse process two or three times. 
  1. Squeegee the window in smooth, horizontal lines, starting at the top of the window and working your way down. Use a dry towel to wipe the squeegee clean and dry after each pass. 
  1. Use a dry, lint-free towel or rag to gently wipe away any remaining water lines from the squeegee or in the perimeter margins of the window. 

If you don’t have time to wash your own windows, contact your window film installer to get referrals from reputable, solar window film-friendly window washers in your area.

Interested in learning more about solar window film options? Give Daystar Window Tinting a call at 510-749-7505.