Pitch in and tackle do-it-together home improvement projects

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, March 25, 2012

(ARA) – Why do-it-yourself (DIY) when you can do-it-together? Now DIYers are teaming up with friends, families or companies to tackle home improvement and spring-cleaning projects.

“Tackling home improvement or maintenance projects is a great way to work together with others in your community to accomplish more in less time,” says Kathy Krafka Harkema, spokesperson for Pella Windows and Doors.

How about tackling a do-it-together project like tree-trimming, landscaping or gardening projects to help spruce up the neighborhood? Share tools and labor with friends to clean up the backyard, build a deck or patio, or paint outdoor areas. Get the kids involved in chores like planting trees, spreading mulch or washing decks, patio furniture or your windows. Join together to get all the windows in the neighborhood sparkly clean.

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About 69 percent of men and 74 percent of women are likely to clean and wash their windows during spring cleaning, according to the 2011 National Spring Cleaning Survey by the American Cleaning Institute. But many are unsure of how to do it.

“Make conducting a quick home check-up and cleaning your windows part of your spring home improvement checklist to create a better view and help enhance your home’s potential energy efficiency,” Krafka Harkema says. “Team up with your neighbors so everyone’s windows look good. Use the right tools, cleaners and equipment to do the job safely and correctly.”

Window washing tips

Follow these tips from experts at Pella on how to clean windows and insect screens:

* Delegate members of your team to different jobs to maximize efficiency.

* Use a premixed vinegar and water solution (one part white vinegar for 10 parts water) and a soft, lint-free cloth to wash window glass.

* Apply a generous amount of cleaner and rinse with clear water if streaks remain.

* If needed to remove grease, oil, tape adhesive, crayons or paint marks, apply a solvent such as acetone or mineral spirits to a paper towel. Wipe clean using a dry, clean, lint-free cloth.

* Avoid ammonia- or alcohol-based glass cleaners that can leave streaks or a film that attracts moisture and dust.

* Avoid using a razor blade to scrape off stubborn marks on glass – permanent scratches may result.

* To remove dust and dirt from screens, simply vacuum with the upholstery brush.

* For grease spots on kitchen or patio screens, use hot water and a mild detergent.

* For a flat screen on a storm door or patio door, remove the screen and wash with soap and water. Or use a drapery brush attachment on a vacuum.

Remember, cleaning windows from inside your home is safer than standing on a tall ladder. Consider replacement windows with a tilt-in feature, like Pella double-hung windows, or extra-wide openings between the sash and frame, like Pella casement windows, to make window cleaning easier.

Hate cleaning your blinds? Replace worn-out windows with Pella Designer Series windows or patio doors with optional shades or blinds between glass to virtually eliminate the need to dust or clean them. For more home improvement ideas, visit Pella.com or call (888) 847-3552.