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How to Maintain and Clean Wood Windows?

Does your house have old aesthetic wooden windows, or have you recently introduced newer wood windows to your place?

This article is dedicated to prolonging your wood window’s life and keeping your place’s beauty alive!

The durability of the wooden frames is solely dependent on maintenance and cleaning. Are You Wondering if there are some functional, easy-to-do tips to prevent a wood defect?

What would it take to maintain and clean wood windows easily?

You may start by doing regular monthly inspections of the frames, and cleanings will deter a lot of damage.

This article will convey the best possible ways to keep a check and help you keep your wooden frames in good performance order, and assure that they remain beautiful for years to come.

By an estimate, well-maintained wood windows can log for 30 years or more!

Why is Wood Windows Susceptible to Damage?
We expect windows at our places to be intact, knowing that they confront harsh weather and other potential environmental changes throughout the year.

They may undergo damage from factors like weather, temperature, age, and other external forces.


The vital contributing factor to window damage is usually temperature. When alternating temperatures affect your windows, cracks commence in windows because of expansion and contraction.

When the direction of the house is likely to receive direct sunlight, you must give extra attention to wood withering or cracking due to excess heat. Periodically oiling or waxing the wood may help in preventing it from damage.


Homes by the beach or places near a water source, wood windows may experience a lot of moisture. It will require regular sealing for safeguarding the wood window.

Water and Snow

Wood window frames are prone to damage from constant wetness, evident in areas with heavy rain or winter snow. The chance of window rotting increases with prolonged wetting incidences.

But it has been possible to install wooden window frames in these climates by installing an overhang or canopy over the window frame to block water from reaching down and knock any snow buildup over the edge.

Common Problems with Wood Windows

Common problems occurring from lack of maintenance of wood windows include:

  • Cracks: Cracks are like ‘weather checks’ in the wood that begins when bare wood is exposed to the weather extremes. It starts as a tiny hairline crack but soon, the sun exposure causes the inner wood crack to widen.
  • Mold and Mildew: Mold in wood windows may begin to grow at the bottom of the windows. The mold can sometimes be visible, very prominently, and sometimes it is hidden. When mold is colored, it can be noticed quickly. Sometimes the mold that grows is of the same color that can hardly be distinguished from the window frame. Considerable amounts of mold can cause potential harm to you and your family’s health.
  • Wood discoloration: A small amount of stain on your windows makes them unattractive, but is not severe. Accumulated mold can be one of the reasons for the discoloration of the wood window. Water damage in the window may result in dark discoloration that is not easily removable.
  • Peeling paint and stain: You may notice paint start peeling off from window sills because of moisture under a painted surface. Water penetrates wood surfaces from the unpainted surface. This results in a continuous cycle of moisture absorption and drying: these repeated swelling and shrinking cycles of wood cause the paint to leave the surface.

How to Clean Wood Windows by Yourself?

Everyone has a perception that it is hard to get wood windows repaired. And of course, repair and restoration work depends on the type, condition, and age of the wooden frame. But with these simple regular maintenance tips, you will be able to overrule the defects mentioned above or damage to your window.

Clean Your Wood Windows Regularly

Regular cleaning is a practice that will guarantee that no dirt or lose dust settles on your wooden windows.

  • Start by fixing up a plastic sheet or a cloth on the ground. Remove the loose dust on the window sash with a dry (clean) cloth or you may use a brush. Make sure you scrub every part and corner of the window, counting the lower and upper sash.
  • After dry cleaning is completed, dip the cloth in water. You can soak the fabric in ordinary dish soap or any particular cleaning product for washing wood. You may use these dry and wet cleaning methods for any wood window frames.
  • The most efficient mix is a soft detergent, lukewarm water, and a sponge. Keep your cloth damp, not entirely soaked, to prevent soapy water from flowing down the wood frames and into your windowsill. Switch to the clean water as you proceed with cleaning (even change the fabric, if it gets dirty). The frame needs to be completely dried before finishing. You must use another dry cloth to wipe the glass and frame again. This will make sure that there is no soap water residue left to trap moisture.
  • Extra tip: If your window frames are too grubby, you may add a teaspoon of baking soda to detergent or soap water. For white-painted window frames, you can use slightly diluted bleach for stains. But avoid using bleach as it can cause discoloration of windows and will dry them out.

Cleaning Varnished Windows

If your varnished windows are getting dull with time, then it’s an indication that they need a good clean.

  • You can use a soft bristle brush to extract the dirt on windows.
  • After the dust is removed, take a dilute solution of washable liquid and warm water to wipe any marks or dirty areas of the window. You may add a spray bottle to the kit to do the cleaning job efficiently.
  • For stubborn stains, use fine sandpaper to pull out the top layer of varnish. Re-apply once the frames are completely dry to prevent the applied varnish from “bubbling” and rotting wood.

Cleaning Waxed or Oiled Windows

As mentioned for varnished or any wood windows, diluted liquid wash can be accompanied by dry cleaning.
But most of the commonly used detergents at home are slightly acidic. So it is important to re-apply the oil or wax on windows regularly to maintain the wood and restrict weather damage.You’ll surely get satisfying results after performing regular cleaning of wood windows by these methods.

Check for any Signs of Damage

Once the cleaning of a wood window seems satisfying, you need to watch for any fault on your wood window. The signs of damage you may come across are:

  • Cracking
  • Peeling paint
  • Moisture between window panes
  • Loose or ripped caulking Weatherstripping damage

Cleaning and checking are crucial steps in the maintenance of your wood window frames. Checking them twice a year will help you all spotting visible differences in the wood. You may consult the nearby wood window maintenance contractor for a budget-friendly repair.

Best Maintenance Tips for Wood Windows

Removing Mold and Mildew

As mentioned earlier, using bleach to lift mold spots on painted wood is valuable. But bleach shouldn’t be used for stained, varnished, or oiled wood windows. It can do more damage than good to the appearance of your windows. Instead, you may try diluted vinegar.

  • Mix water and vinegar in a ratio of 4:1 (water: vinegar).
  • Soak the mold spots.
  • Leave the solution for a few minutes.
  • Clean

If mold and mildew build inside the window, try a hand-on dehumidifier as mold collects on wood window frames with moisture. A dehumidifier works proactively by removing extra moisture from inside your home. Reduced moisture at your place will decrease the chance of mold growth and related health issues to family members.

Fixing Minor Cracks

As explained above, wood windows undergo a cycle of swelling and contraction with changing temperatures and weather. If you notice an initiation of a crack forming, clean it and use exterior wood filler to fill it. Once it is dry, make the spot smooth. Weatherstripping is another way to go for sealing doors and windows that will make your home warmer with no gaps allowing the cold outside air in. It will trap the inside warm air in the winter season.

Fix Cracked Caulking

The caulking on the edges of wood window frames is to be checked often. When you notice signs of cracking, broken caulking, you must trim the old caulking and re-seal the same with a heavy-duty exterior caulk. Caulk is the perfect material for stuffing cracks and gaps in the home’s windows and other stationary components.

Fixing the Problem of Foggy Glass

Whenever a window’s seal is broken or loose, moisture will find its way to cause foggy or frosted glass conditions. You may contact professionals to resolve the issue, whether by replacing glass or restoring if possible by re-seal.

Refinishing Wood Window

If your windows start to flake or fade, you will surely opt for refinishing the wood window. It is recommended to refinish your windows every two or three years. Also, exterior window elements need refinishing more often as compared to interiors.

  • Step1: Prepare the wood surface- Do little sanding using 180-grit or fine sandpaper, then remove the sanding residue before applying the finish.
  • Step2: Clean the glass- Use little mineral spirit to remove sawdust or grease on the glass. Consider cleaning glass with any preferred window cleaner (maybe vinegar-based).
  • Step3: Before applying the finish- If your window has a removable glass, please set it aside as per the instructions. Fill in all fissures or cracks with wood filler and sand the surface with a putty knife. Leave the patch to dry overnight before proceeding to refinish.
  • Step4: Choosing the right finish- Be careful while choosing the right finish for your wood window and consider what it already has. For example, some paints potentially block the sun and promote moisture accumulation. When it is time to choose paint for your wood window exterior frames, your choice should be oil-based paint with primer or latex-based products. For finishing interiors, keep the health of the family in a priority. The best choice will be zero or low VOC (volatile organic products) products. Water-based sealants are a healthy choice for the air quality of rooms.
  • Step5: Applying the finish- Apply a uniform thin first coat of your choice of finish (stain, varnish, latex-based, or oil-based enamel paints) to the preset smooth, dry wood. Let the first coat dry. Leave it undisturbed for 1-2 hours. You may apply a second coat safely after it is dried completely.
    The natural finish fades quickly on the bottom of the window and the window’s sill. Refinishing makes your wood window come alive again with the combination of simple steps, i.e., scraping, sanding, and repainting.

Risks of Cleaning Wood Windows

Cleaning wood windows not only make them look charming but also prolong their life. But some practices may take you to the downside of cleaning.

Pressure Washing Your Window Frame

Why would I wash my wooden frame with a pressure hose? We know this may look like a silly suggestion, but it may prevent a significant loss on your part.

A gentle reminder: pressure washing is detrimental to your wood windows’ health. The pressure of the water makes the glass in your windows vulnerable to breaking. Also, it causes the frames to buckle. Water cracks up the seals and paintwork peels out.

Use Liquids Sparingly

We recommend using a damp cloth all around the wet cleaning. Because varnished, waxed, or oiled windows are susceptible to damage using liquids, after cleaning with the liquid wash, never forget to dry all window parts with a dry, lint-free cloth (don’t use woolen material). This will give a smooth finish without reflecting any watermarks or crystallization signs.

Bottom Line: How to Maintain and Clean Wood Window

Simply no one will like to invest hours in cleaning windows to keep them gleaming. The article is dedicated to summarizing the best practical tips and precautions that can save you money and time. The extended lifespan and appearance of wood windows are guaranteed. The name dictates our work nicely; CHOSEN wood window maintenance is a trusted window contractor. We are up for any repair or restoration work on your wood windows. Our work will enhance the way your preserved historic window piece looks. We will love to answer your queries on the cleaning and maintenance of wood windows. We understand the essence of aesthetic appeal that wood windows evoke is hard to beat and is valuable to you.