Maybe you’ve had darker, UV-protecting tinted film added to your home’s windows to reduce cooling costs and the effects of light damage on your possessions. Maybe you’ve had impact-resistant film applied to your windows to prevent damage resulting from a break-in attempt. Whatever the brand of and intention behind the installation of window film, you want to ensure you’re maintaining the film you’ve invested in and keep it in the best condition possible, minimizing wear, scratches, and other damage.
Depending on what brand of film you’ve had applied, the film may be very scratch resistant or possibly more scratch-prone. Traditional window cleaning sprays which contain ammonia or vinegar may be too harsh for some brands of film. If you no longer have (or were not supplied with) cleaning and maintenance instructions from the company that manufactured the film, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Make your own window cleaner!
Cleaning Window Film
Making a window film safe cleaner is a simple enough process. Start with some distilled water. Depending on your water source, your water may have chemicals or salts in it that could damage or streak the window film; distilled water is very cheap and avoids any possible issues. Add a small amount (a few drops) of non-abrasive soap, such as a liquid castile soap or baby shampoo, and pour this solution into a spray bottle (preferably one never used for anything else).
Spray the solution on the windows and wipe it off with either a 300 or higher thread count cotton cloth, a synthetic sponge, or a microfiber cloth. A rubber squeegee can also be very useful for this process. Do not use a rough towel, cheap paper towels, or any kind of abrasive product or scrubber on windows treated with film to avoid damage.
If you encounter dried-on messes, like bird excrement, remember: This isn’t a glass coffee table! Do not use a razor or blade to scrape off any hardened mess; soak the stubborn spot in the same soapy water you use for cleaning, and gently wipe it off with a non-abrasive cloth. Repeat as necessary to remove unsightly build-up.
Wait a Few Months Before Washing
It is also important to remember: Don’t wash your windows with window film for the first months after their installation. During the first three months, there may be a minor fogginess visible under the film; this will resolve itself over the first three months.
If you follow these tips, you can keep your window film, and the windows they are improving, in excellent condition for years to come!