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Should you wash windows yourself or hire a pro?

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Window cleaning

Clean windows will make the entire house look cleaner.

With spring here, you're probably thinking about cleaning your windows. After all, newly gleaming glass makes a great impression from the road, but a grime-covered window blocks your view of the lovely outdoors and spoils the look of your home.

Cleaning windows can be a slippery business, though, so you'll want to be as well informed as you can when you start.

The basics of window cleaning aren't complicated, and if you have a one-story home, you can do this work yourself without much trouble. You can clean the average window with a squeegee, a bucket of soap and water, and a little elbow grease.

However, window cleaning above the first floor can be risky if you have a multistory house. You're standing on a ladder, working with a bucket of soapy water, and it's often tempting to stretch to reach just a little farther. According to the Centers for Disease Control, ladder falls cause 500,000 injuries per year, so it’s important to take precautions.

Hiring a pro

This is why many homeowners choose to hire a pro to handle second-story window cleaning. You'll pay between $150 and $300 for the average window cleaning job, and it's worth it for the pro's expertise and safety knowledge.

If your windows have any unusual quirks, they can clean them properly without damaging them. For example, leaded and stained glass bring their own sets of challenges. Since window cleaners are experienced pros who work with windows a lot, they can spot potential problems that might need repair. And window problems are easier to deal with the earlier you catch them.

When you're making your initial contact with cleaning pros, you'll want a lot of information on hand to get an accurate estimate. Here's what they'll need to know:

— Number of windows.

— Window sizes.

— Window types.

— Any problems that make a window harder to access.

It's always a wise idea to check license, bonding and insurance when you hire a pro. But it's even more crucial when hiring a window cleaner. That higher ladder accident risk means you want to make certain the pro's insurance protects you if something gets damaged, or worse — someone gets injured.

If you decide to clean your second-story windows yourself, make sure you follow all the proper safety procedures for using a ladder. Use a ladder that's rated for the height you're cleaning, have a buddy steady the ladder on the ground for you, and don't take unnecessary risks by stretching too far.

By the way, here's one more hint: If you don't want to deal with exterior window cleaning, you can also install replacement windows that tilt inward and make it super-easy to clean from the inside. You can easily clean windows on any floor level like this. Many double-hung windows, which cost between $150 and $650 each, feature this helpful addition.

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