Exterior Windows

How To: Clean Window Tracks

Don't let a dirty, dusty frame detract from your view. Clear the grime from your window tracks quickly with this helpful how-to.
How to Clean Window Tracks

Photo: istockphoto.com

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Dirty window tracks can spoil even the sunniest views. Whether you leave your windows open or closed, the tracks inevitably become a catchall for dust, insect corpses, mildew, and even mold. Regular upkeep is a necessity, but, unfortunately, window tracks can be awkward to clean with your typical arsenal of tools. But have no fear! Follow this guide for how to clean window tracks properly with supplies you likely have on hand.

Tools & Materials

Bobvila.com may earn a commission from purchases made through these links.

Note: If you haven’t already, clean your windows before addressing the tracks, or else you risk more filth trickling into the window tracks as you wash the glass.

Step 1

Open your window as wide as it can go. This can be done with or without your window screen in place, but we recommend removing the screen and setting it aside. (As long as you’ve got the screen out, it’s a good idea to clean it. Simply tap off the dust, give it a hard spray with your garden hose, and dry it with a clean rag.)

Step 2

Grab a dust-busting mini vacuum (or a regular-size vacuum with a narrow nozzle attachment), and suck up all the loose debris and dead insects from the window tracks. A brush attachment is optional, but not necessarily recommended for this part—while it will effectively loosen caked-on dirt, it will also get the brush quite dirty in the process.

Find trusted local pros for any home project
How to Clean Window Tracks
Photo: istockphoto.com

Step 3

Generously sprinkle an even dusting of baking soda into the window tracks. Try to avoid creating lumps or piles of the powder.

Step 4

Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz generously into the window tracks until the baking soda is uniformly saturated. A chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar will cause the powder to foam and fizz. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 5

As the baking soda fizzes, spray the vertical window tracks along the sides of your window with more of the vinegar-water mix. Put on rubber gloves, and scrub from the top of the vertical track down to the bottom with an old toothbrush. Make sure to get into the corners of the window tracks.

Step 6

Now, turn your attention back to the bottom of your open window. Brush from one end of the track to the other, scrubbing the corners and grooves thoroughly to effectively clean window tracks.

Step 7

Press a piece of paper towel into the top of the vertical track. In a steady and continuous motion, wipe all the gunk toward the bottom of the track. Take a fresh piece of paper towel, and repeat the process on the bottom track, wiping from one end toward the center. If either track still appears dirty, spray with more of the vinegar-water solution, and wipe again with more paper towel.

Step 8

Wrap the blade of a butter knife in a clean, dry rag, and work it into all the corners and nooks of your window tracks. When the rag starts collecting dirt, adjust it to expose a clean piece.

Step 9

If needed, do a final light spray with the vinegar solution, then wipe with a clean rag. Tidy up your materials, pop the butter knife into the dishwasher, and enjoy your cleaner-than-ever window tracks!