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How to Care for Wood Windows and Doors

The secret to helping wooden doors and windows last for years on end is a combination of proper care and maintenance. The elements can have harsh effects on wooden doors and windows, and without adequate maintenance, they can sustain significant damage in a relatively short period of time. These are a few tips you can use to keep your wooden doors and windows in tip-top shape.

Cleaning the Wooden Areas

Because windows and doors are situated on the exterior part of the home, their outer parts see their fair share of grime, soot, and dirt. If these types of contaminants are left to build up on the exterior parts of wooden windows and doors, they will likely produce damage in the long run. This is especially true for acidic contaminants that will break down wooden finish over time.

To clean the exterior side of your wooden windows or doors, create a lukewarm solution that consists mostly of water and very little soap. Using a dust free cloth, gently scrub away any dirt build-up on the windows/doors. Once you have cleared away the grime, allow the affected areas to dry. Apply a wood finish that is suitable for your particular type of wood in order to add a layer of protection.

When cleaning the wood, be sure that you are not using any products that have vegetable oil, waxes, or petroleum in them.

Cleaning Painted Wood

If the exterior parts of your windows/doors are painted, it's a good idea to use a brush with a long handle and soft bristles in combination with lukewarm water to clean them. If dirt and grime build-up is significant on the painted wood areas, you can use the solution of light soapy water to break it up. Always clean windows and doors from top to bottom to avoid streaking, and make sure that the cleaning solution is completely wiped away before allowing any surfaces to drive. Long term contact between cleaning solutions and wooden surfaces can damage the finish and/or paint.


If you happen to find any damaged areas, such as scratches, you can likely mask the cosmetic flaw with a similar tone in primer and paint. Next, examine the caulking between the frame and the house to ensure that it is still sealed. If you find any loose caulking, reseal it with new, fresh, and high-quality caulk.

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