Jeffrey the Barak Objects

Jalousies, or louvered windows. The best way to clean them.

By Jeffrey the Barak.

I have hundreds of jalousie panes to clean at home. I live in Hawai’i where they are very popular, as they are good for allowing the trade winds keep the house cool.

Cleaning these multiple panes of glass is hard work, so over the last few years I have tried as many different ways as I could think of to make it a less than diabolical job.

I will start with the conclusion, so you do not have to read this whole article if you don’t want to.

The best way: damp Magic Eraser followed by dry microfiber towel.

This method is fast and easy, makes no mess, and uses no soap or window cleaning products.

Method: Open the jalousies and use a melamine pad, (either a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or generic equivalent). Wet the pad under the tap, wring it out and then wipe the top of a pane with circular motions. This top side is the outside side and will be the dirtier side. Quickly wipe the bottom (inside side) with a brief left and right motion with the same eraser, and then dry both sides with a dry and clean microfiber towel.

Repeat for every pane. You will need to rinse, squeeze and re-wet the eraser pad after a few panes. The result is no smears, no haze, and no excess water. It is fast, clean and easy. Use no pressure, just a light touch is all you need during both stages.

Other ways to do it, and I’ve tried all of these plus a couple more:

Pressure washer or garden hose from the outside.

Okay this sounds like fun, but if you’ve ever observed jalousies in a hurricane, you will know that water under force will simply come right inside the house. You have to have a second person inside with a big towel. The only good thing about this method is you wash the screens in place, but really, it is a lot of effort and you will never have enough towels to dry up the mess.

The results are unfortunately disappointing. There will be haze.

Windex brand or similar window cleaning product, or car windshield wash, wet application, followed by a squeegee and towel, or just towels.

These window cleaners may or may not work better than plain water or soapy water, but only if the glass is cold to the touch, which is unlikely in Hawai’i. The windshield fluid is actually better and less expensive than the window cleaner, but the squeegee is not really suited to multiple tiny panes held at each end with a clip, and in practice, this method always results in hazy glass. Using newspaper rather than towels creates an even bigger mess as jalousies tend to shred up paper.

As above with a barely damp towel application.

Sadly this still results in haze, and unlike melamine pads, stubborn dirt does not always get dislodged. After a few panes, the towel will deposit as much mess as it removes, and the glass will dry hazy.

I have tried other methods, too ridiculous to share here, but the bottom line is, the damp Magic Eraser and dry microfiber towel, are the dream pairing for this potentially miserable job.

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