HOUSTON -

After last year's drought in this area, many of us are enjoying a greener start to summer. When it comes to enjoying that yard you worked so hard for, you might want your windows a little cleaner.

Matt Swales told Local 2 the best time to tackle the windows of your house is cloudy and cool.

A sunny hot day will cause the water to evaporate faster which can leave streaks on the window.

Swales knows a thing or two about window watching and he should he cleans them for a living.

"It's important to have your windows cleaned because windows are porous and left unclean for a period of time and pieces of mother nature and the minerals from things flying around can absorb into the pores of the glass and stain it permanently," said Matt Swales, who works for a window cleaning company.

Since build-up on the glass can cause etching or leave a permanent haze on windows, a good cleaning twice a year, once in the fall and once in spring is a good idea.
Swales says this is one thing on the chore list where location is important to consider.

"If the house sits in a wooded area or near construction site that is blowing dirt across on it, a homeowner may want their windows cleaned more often than a homeowner whose in a more established neighborhood with not as many trees or forest near it," Swales said.

Since thousands of people each year are injured from ladder falls, and adding in buckets of soapy water and the need to stretch to reach corners increases the chances of an accidents.

Angie Hicks with the popular website Angie's List says it can be a good idea to call in a professional, but that doesn't mean you can't cut the costs a little.

"If you are looking to save a few bucks you can still hire a window cleaner, but consider dividing the job up. You can tackle the first floor windows that don't require special equipment. Leave the second story to a professional because they'll have the proper ladder," said Hicks.

Many window-washing companies will offer a money-back guarantee if you're not 100 percent happy. Some will even offer a rain guarantee, so if it rains within a certain amount of time after the windows have been cleaned, they'll clean them again.

Most windows can be cleaned with soap, water and a squeegee. For smaller windows, use a lint-free towel to wipe them clean. Some windows need a special type of cleaning solution and that can depend on the type of glass. For example, double-paned windows are held together with a vacuum seal, the wrong type of cleaner can crack or damage the rubber on that seal.

WINDOW CLEANING HIT LIST

Frequency of cleaning: Most homes should get a thorough window cleaning twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall. You may find your windows need cleaned more often if you live on a busy street or near saltwater. Letting salt stay on the glass too long will eventually damage the glass.

· Which cleaning method is best?

The type of cleaning solution and equipment you need varies according to the type of windows you have.

With dozens of types of glass, windows often require special cleaning agents and using the wrong one could be ineffective or cause damage.

For example, double glass windows are held together with a vacuum that could be compromised if the rubber trim that seals it is damaged by the wrong type of cleaner.

If the seal breaks, moisture and dusts can get in the window, making it impossible to get clean.

Most glass can be cleaned with soap, water and a squeegee.

However, some situations will call for specialized cleaning solutions.

For smaller windows where a squeegee is too large, use a lint free towel to wipe them clean.

Ideal weather conditions: If you clean the windows, do it during a cool, cloudier time of day.

The hot sun dries windows faster, which can lead to streaking.

ANGIE'S LIST HIRING TIPS:

· Check insurance: If you hire a pro, make sure the company is insured.

Because a lot of window washing involves ladders, safety harnesses and scaffolding, precautions are essential to ensure everyone's protection.

Damage can be done to glass by someone is who not qualified.

You need someone who not only knows how to clean glass, but knows glass and how to maintain in properly.

· How do they clean windows?

It's important to ask what types of chemicals and tools are used during the cleaning process, especially if your windows are tinted.

Many companies will clean with eco-friendly materials upon request.

· What's the cost: Window cleaning prices vary and are often based on the number and size of windows, the time estimated to do the job and the complexity of the job.

Always ask for an in-home estimate.

MONEY SAVING TIP:

You could save a few bucks by cleaning the first floor windows yourself, and leaving the second floor, more difficult to reach windows, to a pro.

· Satisfaction guaranteed? Ask the company if they provide a money-back guarantee if you're not 100 percent happy.

Most companies will offer one and some even offer a rain guarantee. So if it rains within a certain amount of time of the cleaning and your windows are spotted, the company will come back out at no charge to you.