I love cleaning windows. At least I used to back in Germany. Over here – not so much. And that is because window cleaning in the US is so much less gratifying. Not because the windows get less dirty and you wouldn’t see the difference. The difference is in the windows themselves.
Germans love their windows open. Even when it’s raining or when it’s starting to get cold. Maybe that is why you will find tilting windows everywhere. Closed at the bottom, open at the top, they render a room fresh air at all times, usually without any rain getting inside. They also open like doors – mostly to the inside of a room. I do wonder, though, how people clean windows e.g. in the Northern German city of Celle – there the windows of old town houses open to the outside. Which is excellent to obstruct burglars (Clang – take this one into your head, Mister!). But I’d prefer not to hang outside, waist over the sill on a fourth floor, and try to reach the outside pane for cleaning. Even just closing such windows probably happens only under risk of death.
Windows over here are certainly less dangerous than those from Celle (unless you count in those cathedral ceilings with floor to ceiling windows or any kind of skylights). For some cases, you simply need professional gear to clean windows thoroughly – but even then, some places escape you. Sliding windows always have parts nobody reaches. Which takes away from my satisfaction. Or you hire a professional window cleaner – but will they take a window apart to reach the places where the frames overlap? I highly doubt it. Also, it’s hard to get all the dirt out of the sliding frame. Whenever you move the window over a freshly cleaned place, you can be sure that you reapply dirt from underneath the pane.
Another part of the German window I really miss – window sills. Not just because they are often wide enough to be usable for potted plants (my German kitchen sill used to be an herb garden). They are usually made from sealed marble or granite – which means you can simply wash them down and keep them clean as well.
Is it a wonder Germans love their windows and window sills? I remember some that looked like conservatories. I remember bedding hanging out of windows for airing. Or people spending hours at times hanging out in their windows (windows widely open), making conversation with whomsoever from the neighborhood passed by. (Here goes the image of the reserved German, right?)
Along with German windows comes a curtain system that I sorely miss. I don’t like threading my kitchen curtains over an extendable curtain rod that is weirdly resistant when it comes to putting it back up again. I loved my little wheels that were attached to the curtains even during laundry and that I pushed back into the rails straight under the ceiling. Here, I’m dealing with juggling two and more rods, curtains on, depending on how many layers I prefer at a window. Maybe that is why so many homes here have no curtains at all?
Well, it’s time for my fall window cleaning. You want holiday guests to be able to take a look out of the windows, right? I guess I will head out to Lowes and check for more professional window cleaning gear and give it a try. At least, I’m not living on a fourth floor.