How do you clean the inside of a double pane window?

When you start your spring or end of the year cleaning, you might encounter the conundrum of cleaning out double pane windows. Because of the nature of their structure, it might seem rather time-consuming and difficult to be able to properly clean them out. However, Window Washing, a provider of window cleaning equipment in Cape Town explains you should never give in too easily, as there is always a solution to every problem.

Key Takeaways

  • Double pane windows, also known as dual pane windows, consist of two glass panes with a gap in between, making cleaning the inside challenging without proper techniques.
  • Pre-cleaning preparations involve assessing the condition of the windows, gathering necessary tools, and taking safety precautions to prevent damage or injury.
  • Cleaning techniques without drilling include using desiccants, dehumidifiers, or space heaters to address moisture, and alternative methods like inserting a cloth-wrapped wire for dirt and grime.
  • The drilling method allows for deep cleaning by creating a small hole to rinse the interior space, but it requires careful execution or professional assistance to avoid damaging the windows.
  • Window replacement should be considered when the windows are old or severely damaged, as the cost-benefit analysis might favor new windows over complex cleaning procedures.

Understanding Double Pane Windows

Understanding Double Pane Windows

The Structure of Double Pane Windows

Double pane windows, also known as dual pane windows, feature two panes of glass parallel to each other, separated by a space that is often filled with air or an inert gas like argon or krypton. This design creates an insulating barrier that effectively traps heat or cold, depending on the season, thereby enhancing the thermal efficiency of a home.

The gap between the glass panes is crucial; it not only contributes to the window’s insulating properties but also plays a role in sound reduction and minimizing condensation. The space between the panes can vary, and the type of gas used can affect the window’s overall performance.

Durability and insulation are significant benefits of double pane windows, but they require careful maintenance to ensure their longevity. Cleaning the interior of these windows can be challenging due to the sealed gap, which is why understanding their structure is essential before attempting any cleaning process.

Benefits of Double Pane Windows

Double pane windows, also known as dual pane windows, offer a multitude of advantages that extend beyond simple aesthetics. Enhanced energy efficiency is one of the primary benefits, as these windows are designed to maintain a consistent indoor temperature, reducing the reliance on heating and cooling systems. This can lead to significant savings on energy bills, with some estimates suggesting up to 24 percent savings in winter and 18 percent in summer.

Another key advantage is improved soundproofing. The dual layers of glass, separated by an air gap, act as a barrier to external noise, making them ideal for homes in busy areas. Additionally, double pane windows contribute to increased security due to their sturdy construction, which can deter potential intruders.

Other notable benefits include:

  • Reduced condensation, which helps in maintaining clear visibility and preventing mold growth
  • UV protection, safeguarding your home’s interior from sun damage
  • Durability and longevity, ensuring that the windows last longer with less frequent need for replacement

When considering window options, the long-term advantages of double pane windows, such as energy savings and noise reduction, make them a worthwhile investment for homeowners.

Common Issues with Double Pane Windows

Double pane windows, while offering excellent insulation and noise reduction, are not immune to problems. Condensation between the panes, often referred to as a blown window, is a prevalent issue that can obscure visibility and diminish the window’s insulating properties. This moisture accumulation is typically a sign that the seal has failed and the insulating gas has escaped.

Another common concern is the presence of dirt and grime within the panes, which can be challenging to clean without the proper technique. Homeowners may notice that despite the exterior surfaces being clean, the windows still appear foggy or dirty due to contaminants trapped inside.

While these issues can be frustrating, there are several methods to address them without resorting to window replacement, which can be a more costly solution.

The table below outlines the typical problems and their implications for double pane windows:

Problem Implication
Condensation Reduced visibility and insulation
Dirt/Grime Aesthetic and potential health concerns
Seal Failure Increased energy costs

Addressing these issues promptly can help maintain the integrity and performance of your double pane windows.

Pre-Cleaning Preparations

Pre-Cleaning Preparations

Assessing the Condition of Your Windows

Before attempting to clean the inside of your double pane windows, it’s crucial to assess their condition. Look for signs of double glazing failure, which may include condensation, misted windows, draughts, increased energy bills, leaks, cracked glass, or chips. These indicators can help determine the extent of cleaning or maintenance required.

  • Condensation between panes
  • Misted or foggy appearance
  • Presence of draughts
  • Unusual spikes in energy bills
  • Water leaks around the frame
  • Visible cracks or chips in the glass

It’s essential to evaluate these factors carefully, as they not only affect the clarity and appearance of your windows but also have implications for their insulation properties and overall performance.

Gathering Necessary Tools and Materials

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Having the right equipment on hand will make the cleaning process more efficient and effective. For double pane windows, you’ll need a few specialized items in addition to the usual cleaning supplies.

  • Commercial window cleaning solution or a homemade mixture of water and white vinegar or dish soap
  • Soft cloths or sponges
  • Squeegee
  • Ladder or step stool (if windows are out of reach)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective eyewear

Ensure that you have a stable platform to work from if you need to use a ladder or step stool. Safety should always be your top priority.

By preparing all your tools and materials beforehand, you can avoid interruptions and focus on the task at hand, which is to restore the clarity and beauty of your double pane windows.

Safety Precautions Before Starting

Before embarking on the cleaning process of double pane windows, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Ensure the work area is clear of any obstacles that might hinder movement or pose a risk. This includes removing any furniture or decor that could obstruct access to the windows.

Wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves and eye protection, to prevent injuries from accidental glass breakage or contact with cleaning solutions. If you plan to use a ladder, verify its stability and always maintain three points of contact.

When handling any tools or materials, be mindful of your surroundings and operate with caution to avoid accidents.

Lastly, if you’re using any chemical cleaners, make sure the room is well-ventilated to avoid inhaling fumes. Open other windows or use fans to circulate air effectively.

Cleaning Techniques Without Drilling

Cleaning Techniques Without Drilling

Using Desiccants to Absorb Moisture

One practical approach to addressing moisture between double pane windows is the use of desiccants. Inserting a desiccant packet along the edge of the window can help absorb the trapped moisture, potentially clearing up the foggy appearance without the need for drilling.

Desiccants like silica gel are effective in drawing moisture out of the air space between the panes. For this method, you may need a small funnel or tubing to carefully place the desiccant inside the window’s bottom hole.

While this technique can be a temporary fix, it’s important to monitor the effectiveness of the desiccant over time to ensure that it continues to reduce moisture levels.

If moisture persists, consider other methods such as using a dehumidifier or space heater, or ultimately, replacing the windows if they are significantly aged or the issue is recurrent.

Employing Dehumidifiers and Space Heaters

To address the issue of moisture accumulation between the panes of double pane windows, homeowners can utilize dehumidifiers and space heaters. These devices work by reducing humidity levels and increasing the temperature around the window, which can help evaporate the trapped moisture.

  • Dehumidifiers extract water from the air, effectively lowering the moisture content within the room and consequently between the window panes.
  • Space heaters, on the other hand, raise the temperature, which can accelerate the evaporation of condensation.

It’s important to strategically place these devices near the affected windows to maximize their effectiveness. However, this method is not a fix for dirt or other contaminants inside the windows; it primarily addresses moisture-related issues.

While this technique can be effective for moisture control, it is not a substitute for proper window maintenance or cleaning. If moisture persists, it may indicate a seal failure, necessitating professional assessment or potential window replacement.

Alternative Methods for Moisture Removal

In addition to using desiccants and heating methods, there are other strategies to address moisture trapped inside double pane windows. Improving ventilation can be a simple yet effective approach. By regularly opening adjacent windows, you can exchange the warm, moist air trapped between the panes with cooler, dry air from outside, which can help reduce indoor humidity levels.

Another alternative is to seek professional help. If the moisture issue persists despite your efforts, it may be time to consult with experts who specialize in window maintenance or consider a full replacement of the affected windows.

While some homeowners may feel confident in their ability to tackle window issues, it’s crucial to proceed with caution. Drilling into the window or attempting other invasive methods without proper expertise can lead to further damage or the need for complete window replacement.

Drilling Method for Deep Cleaning

Drilling Method for Deep Cleaning

Step-by-Step Guide to Drilling

When opting to clean the inside of a double pane window through drilling, precision and caution are paramount. Start by selecting a drill bit that is appropriate for glass; a diamond-tipped bit is often recommended for its ability to cut through glass without causing damage. Before drilling, ensure the window is well-supported to prevent any bending or twisting that could lead to breakage.

Next, carefully drill a pinhole-sized hole at one of the upper corners of the window pane. The goal is to create an access point without compromising the structural integrity of the window. Once the hole is drilled, you can proceed to rinse the interior space, targeting the accumulated dirt and grime.

Finally, after cleaning, it’s crucial to seal the hole effectively to restore the window’s insulating properties. This can be done using a clear sealant specifically designed for glass, ensuring that the window remains airtight and moisture-free.

Rinsing the Interior Space

Once you’ve drilled the necessary holes, rinsing the interior space of your double pane window is crucial to remove any accumulated dirt and grime. Begin by carefully introducing a cleaning solution through the holes. It’s important to use a solution that won’t leave residue or damage the panes.

  • Insert a thin, flexible tool such as a wire wrapped with a soft cloth to gently scrub the interior surfaces.
  • Carefully rinse the area with distilled water to avoid any mineral deposits.
  • Dry the interior by inserting desiccants or using a hairdryer on a low setting through the holes.

Ensure that all moisture is removed to prevent future fogging or mold growth within the window panes.

After the cleaning process, observe the clarity of the window. You should witness the impressive transformation brought about by a thorough cleaning. This step is essential in restoring the clear view through your double pane windows and extending their lifespan.

Sealing the Hole After Cleaning

Once the interior of your double pane window is thoroughly cleaned, the final step is to seal the hole to restore its insulation properties. Begin by selecting a suitable sealant that is designed for glass and window applications. Apply the sealant carefully to the drilled hole, ensuring that it is completely filled and there are no air gaps.

After applying the sealant, allow it to dry and cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the seal and preventing future moisture ingress. A well-sealed window will continue to provide the thermal benefits that double pane windows are known for.

It is essential to check the seal periodically to ensure that it remains intact and effective over time. If you notice any signs of seal failure, such as condensation between the panes, it may be necessary to reapply the sealant or consider window replacement.

When to Consider Window Replacement

When to Consider Window Replacement

Signs That Indicate Replacement is Needed

Determining when to replace double pane windows is crucial for maintaining home efficiency and comfort. Persistent fogging or condensation between the panes that does not dissipate indicates a seal failure, which often warrants a replacement. Additionally, if you notice a significant increase in your heating or cooling bills, it could be a sign that the windows are no longer providing adequate insulation.

Visual inspection may reveal physical damage such as cracks or warping, which compromise the window’s integrity. In such cases, cleaning will not suffice, and replacement becomes necessary.

  • Fogging or condensation between panes
  • Increased energy bills
  • Physical damage to the window

A window that no longer operates smoothly or has become difficult to open and close should also be considered for replacement, as it affects both security and functionality.

Choosing the Right Replacement Windows

When the time comes to replace your double pane windows, making the right choice is crucial for long-term satisfaction and efficiency. Selecting the appropriate glass type is a significant decision; you’ll need to consider factors such as insulation, noise reduction, and energy savings. For instance, while double-pane windows offer better insulation than single-pane, triple-pane windows provide even greater energy efficiency and soundproofing.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • The U-factor, which measures the window’s insulation effectiveness.
  • The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), indicating how well the window blocks heat from sunlight.
  • The Visible Transmittance (VT), which assesses how much light the window lets through.

It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each glass type against your specific needs, such as climate, home design, and budget constraints.

Finally, consult with certified professionals who can provide quality work and help you navigate the myriad of options available. Their expertise can be invaluable in ensuring that you make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and requirements.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Replacement vs. Cleaning

When considering whether to replace or clean double pane windows, homeowners must weigh the costs and benefits of each option. Replacement can be a significant investment, but it offers long-term benefits such as improved insulation and durability. On the other hand, cleaning can be less expensive in the short term but may require more frequent maintenance.

Cleaning double pane windows can be a meticulous process, especially if moisture or dirt has accumulated between the panes. While DIY methods exist, they may not always be effective and could potentially lead to damage if not done correctly. Professional cleaning services offer a thorough job but come at a higher cost.

The decision between cleaning and replacing double pane windows hinges on the severity of the issues and the age of the windows. If the windows are relatively new and the problems are minor, regular cleaning and maintenance may suffice. However, if the windows are old or the issues are severe, replacement might be the more cost-effective solution in the long run.

Here is a simplified breakdown of the factors to consider:

  • Initial cost of replacement vs. cleaning
  • Longevity and performance benefits of new windows
  • Frequency and cost of cleaning and maintenance
  • Potential energy savings with improved insulation
  • The severity of existing window issues

Ultimately, homeowners should assess the condition of their windows and consult with professionals to determine the most practical and economical course of action.

If you’re noticing drafts, higher energy bills, or your windows are simply not as clear as they used to be, it might be time to consider window replacement. Don’t let old or inefficient windows cloud your view or drain your wallet. Visit our website for a free estimate and to learn how our expert team at Edinburgh Window Cleaners can enhance your home or business with high-quality window solutions. Make the smart choice for your property and ensure your windows are contributing to its beauty and efficiency.


Cleaning the inside of double pane windows may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it’s a manageable task. Whether you opt for drilling a small hole to clean out accumulated grime or use a desiccant to tackle moisture issues, the key is to proceed with caution and care. For those not comfortable with DIY methods, professional help is always a viable option. Remember, while double pane windows offer excellent insulation and noise reduction, they do require careful maintenance. If all else fails, replacement might be the necessary step to ensure your home continues to benefit from the advantages of double pane windows.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are double pane windows?

Double pane windows, also known as dual pane windows, consist of two panes of glass installed side by side within a window frame with a gap between them. This gap is typically filled with air or inert gas, which provides insulation against temperature and noise.

Why is it difficult to clean the inside of double pane windows?

The difficulty arises from the sealed gap between the two panes of glass, which is not directly accessible. Over time, dirt, grime, or moisture can accumulate in this space, and special techniques or tools are required to clean inside without compromising the window’s integrity.

Can I drill a hole to clean the inside of double pane windows?

Drilling a small hole is a method for cleaning the interior but must be done with extreme caution to avoid damaging the window. It’s often recommended to hire a professional for this task to ensure it is done safely and effectively.

What are some non-drilling methods to remove moisture from double pane windows?

Moisture can be addressed without drilling by using desiccants to absorb moisture, placing a dehumidifier or space heater nearby to evaporate the moisture, or using other alternative methods that don’t require compromising the window’s seal.

When should I consider replacing my double pane windows?

Replacement should be considered if the windows are old, damaged, or if the cost of repeated cleanings and maintenance outweighs the cost of new windows. Signs of seal failure, such as fogging or condensation between the panes, may also indicate the need for replacement.

What are the benefits of double pane windows?

Double pane windows offer improved insulation against heat and cold, which can lead to lower energy costs. They also provide better sound insulation, making them ideal for homes in busy districts.