When you want fresh air in your home, you expect your windows to open. Unfortunately, dirt, debris and even paint can interfere with the proper opening and closing of household windows. If your windows have decided to stick, they might need to be cleaned. Here are some simple steps you can take to get your windows moving again.

Loosen Things Up

If paint and debris have sealed your windows shut, you'll need to break the seal. You can take care of the problem using a few simple items you have around the house. First, take a utility knife and run it along the edges of the window frame. This will cut through the seal. Next, place a small block of wood against the window sash – the wood frame around the glass – and gently tap it with a hammer. Continue moving the wood around the sash and tapping with the hammer. The tapping will break the rest of the paint or debris seal so that the window will open. Repeat the process on all of your windows that are stuck shut.

Clean the Tracks

Once the windows are open, you'll need to clean the tracks. Dirty tracks can make it difficult to get your windows open properly. First, use your vacuum to remove all of the dirt and debris from along the tracks. Next, fill a large bowl with warm water and add about ¼ cup of grease-cutting dish detergent. Use a toothbrush or steel wool pad to scrub the tracks. Remove the soap with a soft cloth and then wipe them dry. For best results, you should wash your window tracks at least once every couple of months. However, if you live in an area that experiences high winds, or sand storms, you should wash the tracks more often. While you're cleaning the tracks, be sure to wipe down the weather stripping, as well.

Lubricate the Tracks

After your window tracks have been cleaned, you should apply a layer of lubricant. The best way to do this is with a white candle. The wax candle will lubricate the tracks without leaving a residue that can attract dirt and dust. Open your windows all the way, and then run the candle along the tracks. Be sure to get along the edges of the tracks, and inside as well. Open and close the windows several times to spread the wax along the tracks.

If your windows aren't cooperating, use the simple tips provided here to get them moving again. If your windows are looking weather-beaten, or they're no longer providing protection from the elements, speak to your contractor about replacement windows.