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Article by George / July 14th, 2022

How to Clean Window Sills

When was the last time you cleaned your window sills? If you can’t remember, it’s probably time to pay them another visit. 

Window sills are often overlooked in the home because they aren’t visible from the inside of a room very often, hidden behind curtains and blinds. But visible or not, window sills are a collection point for dirt, dust, and dead bugs.  

Keeping your window sills clean is easy. The hardest part may be remembering to do it! With a few cleaning supplies you already have around the house and a little elbow grease, dirty window sills will soon be a thing of the past. 

The Importance of Keeping Your Window Sills Clean

While sparkly clean window sills are nice, there are definitely more significant reasons to maintain them than that. 

Some of the biggest reasons to keep up on this chore include: 

Maintaining a Healthy Home:

For those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions, a collection of dust, pet dander, and pollen in the home is problematic. 

This can exacerbate asthma symptoms and cause allergies to flare up. Depending on the individual, accumulations of dust contributing to poor indoor air quality can lead to eye irritation, headaches, and fatigue. 

Preventing Spiders:

Spiders like window sills. It’s a thing. 

Underneath window sills and in the corners are prime spider real estate. Adding regular window sill cleaning to your chore list helps to keep these 8-legged squatters from getting too comfortable. 

Window Maintenance:

Routine window sill cleaning is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the rest of your window. This gives you the chance to check for signs of anything amiss on your window, tracks, or sills, and address it before any further damage can occur. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Window Sills?

Give your window sills a quick wipe-down as part of your weekly chores. Give them a more thorough cleaning once a month to avoid unhealthy accumulations of dust and stubborn areas of dirt.  

How to Quickly Clean Interior Window Sills

If you don’t have a lot of time, and just want to give your window sills a quick clean for aesthetic purposes, reach for a microfiber cloth. 

A damp microfiber cloth is safe for all window sill types. Give the window sill a quick wipe down to remove any loose dust or debris. Just be sure to wipe them dry with a second cloth, as excess moisture can lead to mold growth. 

Another easy method is to take the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner and run it along the window sill to quickly and easily remove dust and loose particles. 

Use a soft-bristled brush to tackle areas where the dirt may be stuck to the sill to loosen it before vacuuming or wiping it away. 

The Various Types of Window Sills and How to Clean Them

While a quick clean is great when you don’t have much time, or for ongoing maintenance to ensure they remain looking sharp, you’ll need to give your window sills the periodic deep clean as well. 

Different types of window sills require different cleaning methods to ensure your good intentions don’t damage them. 

Here are some of the most common window sill types and the best ways to get them clean:

How to Clean Aluminum Window Sills

After you’ve removed the loose dust and debris, use a damp cloth to wipe the window sill down. If water alone isn’t enough, aluminum is tough enough to be able to handle a commercial cleaning solution. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for use first. 

Use a mild abrasive cleaner for stains or areas that require a little more scrubbing. 

When the window sill is clean, give it a “rinse” to remove any residual cleaning soap or cleanser by wiping it down with a damp cloth. Make sure to wring the cloth out thoroughly to avoid leaving excess moisture behind. 

Aluminum doesn’t rust, but it can corrode, so it’s important not to use too much water. 

Use a dry cloth to wipe down the window sill to get rid of any excess moisture. 

How to Clean Wood Window Sills

Wooden window sills are both beautiful and resilient, but even so, a little care should be taken to maintain them. 

Once you’ve wiped them down to remove the loose dirt and dust, clean them up with warm soapy water and a cloth or sponge. 

Avoid using anything abrasive, such as a coarse-bristled brush, as wood can easily scratch. 

Wipe them down again with a damp cloth to rinse them off. Don’t skip this step! Soapy residue left behind will leave them looking dull. 

Use a wood cleaner to remove tough, stuck-on dirt. 

Wipe the window sill dry with a clean cloth. Excess moisture left on the wood can cause or warping and lead to mold growth, so make sure to wipe them completely dry. 

A coat of wood polish when you’re done cleaning them leaves them with a nice shine and helps repel dust for a period of time.

How to Clean Vinyl Window Sills

Vinyl window frames are some of the easiest to clean as most household cleaners are safe to use on them. 

Start by giving them a quick wipe down or use your vacuum’s brush attachment. 

If your window sills aren’t looking too bad, use warm soapy water to clean them. To make this chore even easier, fill a spray bottle with soapy water and spray the areas you’re cleaning. 

If it’s been awhile since their last cleaning, a commercial cleaner may be helpful to remove areas of stubborn dirt or stains. Use an old toothbrush if you need a little more scrubbing power. 

Rinse the window sills with clean water and wipe them dry with a cloth to eliminate any excess moisture that can lead to mold.

How to Clean Brick Window Sills

The textured surface of bricks doesn’t make it easy to wipe down, so you’ll need to take a slightly different approach here. 

Use a brush to wipe away dirt and dust from the brick surface and vacuum up the loose debris with the vacuum cleaner. 

Wash the brick surface with warm soapy water and a brush to scrub away any lingering grime. Rinse the sills with water and pat them dry with a dry towel. 

Brick is porous, which makes it easy for substances to get inside the brick and leave stains. 

How to Clean External Window Sills

External window sills are built to hold up to the elements, which means they hold up to moisture.

Start by using your garden hose to wash away the majority of the dirt. If you have moss or stubborn areas of dirt, follow up with a coarse-bristled brush. 

If you have a power washer, and are skilled at using it, this can be a helpful tool for removing tough, stuck on moss and dirt. Use a low pressure setting and hold the nozzle a foot away, moving the stream of water slowly back and forth across the window sill. 

For stubborn moss on your window sills, mix up a solution of 1 cup baking soda to 3 liters of water and apply it to the mossy area with a brush. Leave it for a couple of hours before rinsing it away. 

Wash your exterior window sills with soapy water to get them clean and rinse them off with your garden hose. No need to worry about drying them off! The sunshine will take care of that for you. 

Special Care for Chipped, Cracked, and Damaged External Window Sills

If your window sill is damaged, you’ll want to take care of the problem first. Some common types of damage you may run into with window sills are:

Cracks and small chips in your window sill occur over time and are generally not a big deal. Still, you’ll need to address the problem before it can become a bigger issue.  

The dirt and grime that collects on these areas will be more likely to stain where these cracks are, which means that you will have a much more difficult time getting the stains out. This is particularly problematic in wood sills. 

Use a wood filler to fill in small cracks. Be sure to use a good quality wood filler to repair the cracks, and then sand the repairs smooth once they have dried. 

If the cracks are deep, you may want to consider replacing the window sills entirely. 

What to Do About Stains

Stains on your window sills aren’t a serious problem, but they can be an eyesore. Especially once you notice them. Your eyes will always go right to the stain when you look to the window. 

If you run into a stain that won’t go away with basic cleaning, try some of these tricks to eliminate some of the toughest stains. 

Stains on Wood Window Sills

Treat water stains on wood sills with petroleum jelly. If you have any ash around, mix it in. If not, the petroleum jelly will work fine on its own. 

Apply the petroleum jelly to the stain with a cloth, gently brushing it onto the area. Leave it to sit on the area for 24 hours before wiping it away. The petroleum jelly will draw the stain out of the wood. If you can still see discoloration, repeat the process until it’s completely gone. 

Stains on Brick Window Sills

Mix baking soda or table salt with dish soap until you form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and leave it to sit for at least ten minutes before scrubbing it away with a brush. Repeat until the stain is no longer visible. 

Stains on Vinyl Window Sills

Mix one part white vinegar to two parts water in a spray bottle and spray it onto the stain. Leave it to sit for ten minutes before attempting to wipe the stain away. Repeat again as needed. 

Vinyl window stills are pretty tough, so if vinegar isn’t working, a commercial cleaner or stain removal product may do the trick as well. 

How to Deal With Mold On Window Sills

Mold on your window sills is a big problem. All it takes is a little moisture and a little warmth to create the ideal environment for mold growth. 

Moisture typically finds its way onto window sills by way of open windows that allow rain to get inside. If you haven’t had your windows open lately, and mold is a recurring problem, it could indicate an issue with the seal around your window. 

In addition to being gross, mold poses a health risk for those who live in your home. Depending on the type and severity of the mold, and your level of sensitivity, you and your family members may experience: 

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Watery eyes and irritation

It’s important to address mold problems in your home as soon as you detect it. 

Protect yourself when cleaning up mold by wearing gloves, glasses, and even a mask. 

Use a brush to loosen the mold from the window sill and brush it into a bag that you can take outside to remove the mold from your home. 

Once you’ve removed the visible mold from the window sill, you’ll still need to clean up the smaller spores you may not be able to see. 

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and apply it to the area. Allow it to soak for several minutes before scrubbing the area with a brush. Rinse with clean water and dry the window sill with a towel. 

If the mold is widespread, you’ll want to consider professional help to remove it safely. 

Need a Hand Around the House in Houston? 

Advantage Pro Services specializes in a wide range of services to help make maintaining your home easier. Our house washing service leaves not only your exterior window sills looking like new, but your entire home. 

Give us a call today to learn more! 

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