Boy cleaning window

How to Clean Sliding Windows

A sliding window is one that, rather than opening outward on a set of hinges like a casement window, is formed of glass panels which slide sideways (or up and down) atop one another.

How Do You Remove Sliding Windows for Cleaning?

Most sliding windows are built so that they can be lifted all of the way out of their tracks, for ease of cleaning. If you’re cleaning an upper-floor window, this is really useful.

In most cases, there will be one mobile panel and one fixed one. You’re going to be removing the mobile panel by sliding it along until it moves beyond the blocks (those little obstacles built into the track). Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to lift the window up, and then down and out.

Lay the window on the floor on top of a soft surface. Old towels are ideal for this. You’re going to be cleaning the glass with a mixture of white vinegar and water. Mix a couple of tablespoons in with around half a litre of water. Apply the solution with a spray bottle and then use a scrubbing brush to remove any obvious bits of dirt and grime. You can then polish the surface using scrunched-up newspaper. It’s caustic enough to achieve a smooth finish, but not so caustic that it’ll damage the glass.

How Do You Clean Sliding Windows without Removing Them?

In some cases, removing the entire window and cleaning it might be impractical. If it’s the middle of winter, for instance, you might not want to let that much cold air into your house. Thankfully, there are ways of cleaning the window that don’t involve disassembly.

Cleaning the outside of a window is probably best achieved with the help of an extendable mop and squeegee, preferably with a hose built-in. Remember to move from top to bottom to avoid unsightly drips. If you’re feeling brave, you might consider breaking out the stepladder – just be sure someone’s holding on to the bottom while you’re working.

If you’re looking for a short-term solution, you could always give the outside of your window a quick blast with a pressure-washer, or a pressurised garden hose – just be aware that this approach won’t achieve that sparkling finish.

How Do You Clean Sliding Window Tracks?

If you’ve removed the windows, you might as well take the opportunity to clear out the tracks. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to loosen any trapped debris. Once you’re done, apply some wd40. You can work it into the track by simply moving the window back and forth. This will ensure that the sliding mechanisms remain clean and protected.

casement window

What Are Lipped and Flush Casement Windows?

The most popular variety of window in Britain is the casement window. Casement windows open outward on hinges, and offer several advantages when compared to sliding sash windows. Casement windows can, for example, incorporate compressible seals, which run around the edge of each panel and ensure that the window is appropriately air-tight when closed.

Casement windows come in two varieties: lipped and flush. If you’re in the market for a new window, it’s worth considering both of them. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the differences between lipped and flushed windows, to help you assess which will be the better match for your property.

What Are Lipped Casement Windows?

So called ‘lipped’ casement windows are the type most people think of when they hear the term ‘casement’ window. They stand slightly apart from the window, because they incorporate another layer of sealing.

This solved a problem affecting many early flush casement windows: leakage. The flushed windows of centuries gone by would lack this extra layer of sealing, so whenever it rained, moisture would find its way indoors. This would result in unpleasant consequences – most notably, damp.

When lipped casement windows were invented, they offered a solution to this problem. As such, you might hear of lipped casement windows described as ‘stormproof’ casement windows. The majority of lipped casement windows today are of the uPVC variety, but you can still get timber ones, too. Aluminium, being a naturally strong and thin material, isn’t so compatible with the chunky design of a lipped casement window.

What Are Flush Casement Windows?

flush casement windows

Flush fit windows are those which sit level with the frame. They’ve been in widespread use since the 19th century, when all frames were made from timber. As such, a flush-fitting casement window often makes a great match for older properties that will benefit from a more traditional look. That said, a modern home might equally benefit from a flush window – particularly if you’re a fan of straight lines and symmetry.

Modern flush casements are just as effective as lipped casements at excluding draughts and moisture, as they incorporate the two layers of sealing into a smaller space. They’re also offered with all the glazing options and trickle vents you might expect from a modern window. As such, when deciding between the two, appearances should be your number one consideration.

Should You Choose Flush or Lipped Casement Windows?

Once upon a time, the two varieties of window differed noticeably in performance, but thanks to modern materials and engineering, this is no longer the case. Both flush and lipped casement windows provide ample weather-sealing and plenty of glazing, meaning your choice will mostly come down to personal preference. Take a look at both designs and see which one you like the look of best.

sliding window

What Are Sliding Windows (and Should You Choose Them?)

When windows first came into common use, they were mostly of the outward-opening casement variety. Barring a spell of popularity for the sash window in the 19th century, they’ve remained the number one choice for most homeowners ever since.

Some settings, however, demand something a little bit different – a sliding window, for example. Rather than opening outward on hinges, sliding windows (you’ve guessed it) slide back-and-forth atop one another.

How Do Sliding Windows Work?

Let’s start by explaining how sliding windows open and close.

Each window is comprised of sliding panels (or sashes) that are able to freely move in either direction (or up and down). The panels are positioned atop durable rollers (often made from brass), and can be lifted from the frame entirely for maintenance purposes. While traditional vertical sash windows incorporate hollow channels on either side (which house a system of counterweights), horizontally-opening sash windows have no need for this extra machinery. As such, they tend to be more durable, and offer a greater area of glass.

Why Choose Sliding Windows?

So, why choose sliding windows? Well, there are several key benefits to choosing horizontal sliding windows. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Simple Design

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a sliding glass window is its simple construction. There are no springs, pulleys or hinges to worry about. With less moving parts, there are fewer things to go wrong – and that means that sliding window mechanisms demand less time and money be spent on maintenance and repairs over the years.

Note that this isn’t the case with vertically-sliding sash windows, which are hung in position using a system of weighted pulleys.

Easy to Use

A sliding window doesn’t require much strength to open. Each sash is lightweight, and can be easily moved from one position to another. They also don’t require that you reach too far outside the window – which, if you’ve ever had to lean across a kitchen counter and struggle to close a casement window, you might appreciate.


Sliding windows tend to make a good match for extra-wide openings, as it’s easier to manufacture larger panels. As such, if you’ve got a wide open view you want to accentuate, a sliding window might make a great match for your living space. Having plenty of glass will also allow more natural light to enter the room, making it appear more spacious.

Visual Interest

Finally, we should mention that sliding windows tend to lend a room that little extra wow-factor. Pick the right one, and it’ll be among the first things that your guests notice when entering the room. If there’s a great view behind it, then so much the better. Now, this is an advantage that will depend largely on your personal preference, but if you like the look of a sliding window, the chances are it’ll work well in your home.

Sliding Windows vs Casement Windows

If we’re considering installing sliding windows, then it’s only fair to compare them to their biggest rival: the casement window. These are the outward-opening, hinged windows that we’ve already mentioned.

Casement windows are a popular choice for a reason: they’re simple to operate, great to look at, and inexpensive. You take the handle, push the button, and crank it open. You’ll often find that casement windows are recommended for smaller openings, but the truth is that many British homes incorporate casement windows as part of a larger window.

You might have a portrait-shaped casement panel on either side, with a single narrow casement panel running horizontally across the top. There are plenty of arrangements available to suit every taste and interior – while both horizontal and vertical sliding sash windows offer less possible configurations.

Casement panels offer several features that sliding panels lack. We’ll run through these as we look at the downsides to sliding windows.

Disadvantages of Sliding Windows

A sliding window, in almost every case, cannot be opened completely. That is because the glass panels move atop one another, so there’s always some area of glass present in the window. Casement windows, on the other hand, can be opened fully for maximum airflow. Theoretically, you might get around this by hollowing out an area of wall adjacent to the window – but this isn’t something that most homeowners are prepared to consider, as it would be very expensive.

Another notable drawback of a sliding window is energy efficiency.

Casement windows are lined with compressible seals. When the window is closed, these are squashed to form a tight seal against the window-frame, through which cold air cannot pass.

This is impossible on a sliding window, as you can’t squash something while sliding freely against it. As such, sliding windows must make use of flexible brush-style seals instead. These aren’t as energy efficient, and you may feel a draft during winter. You should therefore factor heat-loss into your budget when you’re looking for installation quotes.

Cleaning the exterior of a sliding window presents a problem as well – as some of them are difficult to remove. This isn’t universally so, however, and you might well encounter the same problem with upper-storey casement windows; the back of which can be just as tricky to reach from the inside.

So, Should You Choose Sliding Windows?

Sliding windows are a refreshing alternative to the much more common casement window. They offer many advantages, several of which will appeal to certain sorts of homeowner. That said, there’s a reason that casement windows are so popular. If you’re worried about heat-retention in the home, then a casement window may well be the more economical choice – but for ease of use, simplicity, and simple good looks, it’s difficult to beat a sliding design. As we’ve mentioned, sliding windows make a fantastic match for wider windows, so think about the existing dimensions of your opening before making a decision.

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