White residue

Man this is frustrating and time consuming.

Did a house today with aluminum French paned windows. The windows are old and a white chalky mess from the frames gets all over the glass. It was also a bit of a mess from some bucket bob who needed to use the HO’s ladder to reach the windows! For real? Show up to clean windows on a 3 story with no ladder?! Oh well, they were happy I was there and happy with my work - but! That damn chalky mess.

I was extra careful to wipe the edges before squeegeeing to minimize this, but is there some treatment or product anyone knows of to use on the frames to clean up the chalky residue so it doesn’t interfere with the cleaning and detail process? I have another house I do with this problem but it’s the vinyl slider frames that is the culprit on that one.

Oxidation is always frustrating, more so with French panes.

Pre-wiping and then staying off the edge helps, as does a good scrubbing of the frame prior to cleaning (pure water and WFP can help here.)

Avoiding work in direct sun is very important…

We have some houses like this, before we had a WFP setup we stumbled across something that helps. We cleaned one on a cold December day and added alcohol to prevent freezing, it had the added benefit of reducing the problems from the oxidation. You could use a spray foam as well since I think they have a high alcohol content.

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Florida, 3rd floor, near the beach. Getting beat on that one.

What is the white chalky mess? Was there a white caulk used between the plates?

Merv it happens to some window frames when they get some age to them being exposed to sun, salt air, and neglect. You go to wash then wipe the edges and it’s like the paint or finish comes off in a milky chalky mess onto the pane. Then if the sun starts yo dry the pain before you can squeegee it you have a frustrating mess to clean. The extra care needed is time consuming as you have to take special care with the edges to avoid getting it on your just cleaned pane. Plus now your towel has the mess on it and even a brief inadvertant touch to the glass and it’s back on again. Not chalk, but chalky appearance.

It seems that your only solution would be to charge more for it. The problem would be to recognize it
before you set the price. I wonder if using paper towels would help?

It’s oxidation like Larry said. I come across it often while powerwashing vinyl sided homes. It has a dull look to it. If you want you can try mixing water and liquid car wax, apply it before you start cleaning. I have never tried that yet but it was suggested to me. Don’ get any on the glass.

Oh man, paper towels would be a mess and slow the whole cleaning process down. These particular window frames are aluminum just a few blocks from the bay and gulf, so there is corrosion as well from the salt air. Paper towels would snag and rip going over the corrosion leaving an additional mess to clean. I guess with oxidized frames it’s best to clean the edges good first, then clean the center glass being carefull of the pre-cleaned edges. Next time if I miss it on the estimate I will stop and alert the HO of a price change approval because of the extra work involved.

Just curious as to how you would go about catching it at the time of the estimate?

Rub my finger against the frame. If oxidized my fingertip would be white.

I understand that walking up to a window and performing that test will give you an indication but I’ve had homes where only a few windows had that problem or only the south side, etc I’ve had older homes with a mix of windows from different decades and only a couple have this problem. Seems like a lot of testing prior to estimate and what kind of mark up would you put on? Many of us do over the phone bids as well so prior testing isn’t going to happen.

I guess what I’m getting at is, I would probably just bring this problem to the customers attention if while working it becomes apparent that the extra time needed will require a surcharge. A couple of window with this problem, …meh no worries.

I agree Mark. Couple windows no problem. Every single French paned window of a 3 story - yeah this customer got a deal. I’m trying to break into this lucrative neighborhood, so sucking it up. I was hoping some folks had a better solution than taking extra care (time $$) around the edges.


I feel your pain brother, as we run into that problem a lot here in Orlando too. I like to call them “bleeding frames.” Why? Cause it’s a bloody mess to clean! Patience and a ton of towels was the only way to get this things clean before we got into WFP’s. Invest in pure water Garry, if you haven’t already, and see your time get cut in half with this problem.