Simple Tips for Cleaning the Window Tracks …

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Of all the jobs I need to do around the house, this would definitely be one of my least favourite and I’m sure a lot of you will feel the same way. It’s a frustrating, fiddly job because most window tracks are very narrow spaces and very difficult to get into. It’s also a job that often gets overlooked because it’s not part of our regular cleaning routine, until one day, you open the window, look down and then die of embarrassment from the state of the tracks … sound familiar!


So here are a few simple tips that I use which will hopefully make the job a little easier:


  • If possible, lift out the sliding part of the window entirely. This will give you better access to the track and the corners. It will also allow you to clean the outside of the window, particularly if you have security or fly screens. Be very careful if removing the window that you don’t break it or injure yourself because windows can be heavy with sharp edges.


  • Attach the brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner, turn it on and sweep it back and forward through the track. It will most likely be too big to get right into all areas of the track but it will still pick up any loose dirt or dust and just might dislodge a bit more.



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  • If the vacuum brush is too large or doesn’t move much dirt, try using a toothbrush or small paintbrush to sweep through the track as you vacuum to suck up the loosened dirt.


  • Once you’ve done this, grab a damp sponge and move it back and forward through the track. I find the best sponge is a standard rectangle kitchen sponge as it’s the perfect width to slip straight down into the track. A cleaning cloth or old face washer wrapped around a butter knife works well also.


  • Finally use a pointy object like a screwdriver to poke the sponge around in the corners to remove any grime. Don’t be tempted to use anything sharp like a metal skewer or knife (although a butter knife works well) which will go straight through the sponge, as you might scratch the window frame or worse still, slip and cut yourself. Alternatively, a dampened cotton tip is perfect for getting into corners or difficult spots.



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The above method should remove most gunk and leave your tracks sparkling but if your tracks need a more intensive clean, here’s what I do:


  • After you’ve removed the bulk of the dust and dirt, spray the tracks with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then wipe off with your sponge. A little bit of bicarb soda or gumption on the sponge will also take care of any stubborn gunk. If you are going to spray the tracks, I always lay an old towel underneath on the windowsill to catch any leaks or splashes.


  • Allow the tracks to air dry. Before reinserting the window (if you did take it out), flip it upside down and clean the bottom of the window and allow to dry. This is definitely worth doing otherwise any dirt on the bottom of the window will fall into your beautifully clean tracks when the window is put back into place … and how frustrating would that be!


And just before I say farewell today, a common question I get asked is “How frequently should I clean the window tracks”?


Well that depends, mostly on how dirty they get. I’m not sure why but I find that some window tracks get dirtier than others. I try to clean mine every 6 months but it doesn’t always happen. I definitely clean them at least once a year and, each week when I vacuum, I usually run the vacuum nozzle or brush along the tracks. This keeps them reasonably clean and removes any obvious dirt (or bugs … let’s not forget about dead bugs …yuk!) before it has a chance to harden or build up. If you’re vacating a rental property, you’ll find it’s one of the first things a good Property Manager will check and it’s a great idea to pay attention to your window tracks if you’re selling your home … presentation makes all the difference.


So tell me, do you have any other tips to share and when was the last time you cleaned your window tracks?


  1. Mmmm you don’t want to see the state of my window tracks, believe me!!!!

    • I think everyone has said that at some stage (me included) … it just seems to be one of those jobs that gets overlooked!