Mould problems around windows are very common but often go unnoticed. While it’s common for aluminium window frames to gather dirt and grime over time and lose some of their shine, they can be vulnerable to mould growth.
Mould on your windows is not something you want to see. The good news is this can be overcome with good cleaning and maintenance!
This guide explains how to clean mould from your aluminium window frames and how to prevent mould growth in future.
We also have other aluminium window maintenance guides, such as how to remove cement from your aluminium window.
Do You Have Mould In Your Home?
The mould you find in your home is an airborne spore that thrives in humid, damp conditions. Mould can look like spots and is often black, grey or greenish. But it can also be brown, purple, white, pink, yellow and orange. The humidity level can influence the colour of mould.
Generally, mould infestations are higher in winter, as we tend to keep our windows and doors closed. By doing this, we rob our home of proper ventilation, and condensation bucilds up over the days.
If you spot mould on your aluminium window sill and frames, there’s a chance the window has condensation buildup or is leaking. Identifying the potential leaks and condensation buildup can show the next steps you should take to remove the mould.
Why Mould Grows On Aluminium Windows
Unfortunately, aluminium windows are a proverbial magnet for mould. To see why you must understand condensation comes about and how this leads to mould on aluminium windows.
Generally, condensation on windows forms due to a buildup of excess moisture. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold.
Condensation happens when moist (warm) air hits the cold surface of the glass or aluminium frame. Moisture buildup in your home can come from many sources. Everyday processes like breathing, cooking, showering, and washing dishes increase condensation. Other water sources inside your home, like fish tanks, can also worsen moisture buildup.
This problem worsens during winter when the outside temperature is lower. At the same time, ventilation within your home is reduced due to closed windows and doors.
Aluminium windows are particularly vulnerable to condensation. These windows have a high u-value, meaning they transfer heat and cold well. uPVC and wooden window frames have less thermal transfer and are less likely to have a buildup of condensation.
Often, condensation buildup gets trapped between the meeting spot of the glass and frame. Mould then sees this as an ideal home and quickly takes hold.
Be sure to inspect the top, bottom and side of the window for cracked sealant or caulk that could be letting moisture in. Also, check your windows during and after rainy weather, as it will be easier to spot potential leaks.
Why Mould Is A Problem
Mould can pose a health problem, especially for people with an existing respiratory problem. People with allergies, asthma or weakened immune systems are also vulnerable. High levels of condensation cause mould spores to grow and lead to health problems due to poor air quality.
It’s essential that you don’t ignore even the slightest sign of mould around your window sills and frames, or anywhere in your home for that matter. If mould is not removed, it will spread by releasing microscopic spores to the rest of your home. This damage can lead to additional mould remediation expenses as well as leave stains and cause musty odours.
While in most cases, mould around windows doesn’t become a major problem. It is best to perform due diligence and prevent growth on your windows from the get-go to avoid costly and time-consuming tasks if the mould worsens.
A Few Tips Before You Begin
Before you begin cleaning the mould from your window frames, here are a few suggestions:
- If the mould in question covers a large area of your window(s) or you suspect it’s black mould, it may be time to call in an expert. Mould remediation and water mitigation professionals can determine how extensive the mould is and the appropriate solutions for removing the problem.
- If you’re using commercial or homemade cleaning products, be sure to test them on a small part before applying them to the whole frame. This is important to check for any reaction that could potentially damage the aluminium, such as discolouration.
- Ensure your cleaning detergents are non-alkaline and have a PH level of 7 or less to avoid damaging the aluminium.
Important Safety Considerations When Cleaning Mould
Before tackling the mould, the most important thing to remember is your health and safety. Exposure to damp and mouldy environments may cause health problems. Some people are sensitive to mould, so it’s best to protect yourself.
Consider all these safety measures before you begin cleaning mould from your windows.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment (gloves, mask, goggles) to protect your eyes, nose, mouth and skin.
- Avoid touching the mould with your bare hands or breathing in mould spores.
- Do not clean the windows on a rainy, windy or very hot day.
- Open all doors and windows when you are working, and leave as many open as you safely can when you leave.
DIY Remedies For Cleaning Mould Off Aluminium Window Frames
Some of the best methods for cleaning mould from aluminium frames utilise the power of everyday household products.
Here are four effective methods for cleaning mould off your aluminium windows. After this section is the step-by-step process of using your chosen cleaner to remove the mould.
Method 1: Vinegar and water
The natural acids in white vinegar have been proven effective in removing 82% of mould species. Vinegar is often used as a natural, non-toxic way of killing household mould.
Cleaning vinegar is the best type for killing mould as it contains 6% acetic acid. White vinegar will also work just fine as it has 5% acidity.
Before cleaning the mould, remove any dirt or dust on your window frames.
- Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Let it sit for 1 hour.
- Use a clean cloth or sponge to gently scrub the mould.
- Rinse the frames with water and dry them with a drying cloth.
Method 2: Mild detergent
A versatile cleaning option for most aluminium forms is a mixture of water and mild detergent. Mix two cups of warm water with two tablespoons of mild detergent, such as a dish detergent, to create a cleaner.
You can pour your homemade solution into a spray bottle for easier application.
Mild detergents cannot kill mould but can be used to remove visible mould. When added to water, dish detergent acts as a surfactant that helps detach mould and mould spores from surfaces, making them easier to clean off.
Method 3: Lemon juice and baking soda
Lemon juice and baking soda are other natural household cleaners that can be used to clean mould, dirt and grime off aluminium. Lemons are high in citric acid and have natural antibacterial properties. Baking soda is an alkaline substance with pH levels between 8 to 9, which is higher than most moulds can tolerate.
As a result, a mixture of the two can be considered a safe and natural mould killer.
- Mix 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of lemon juice and ¼ cup (45 g) of baking soda to make a paste.
- Apply to the mouldy area and scrub off the mould with the help of a cloth or sponge.
- Let the paste dry completely.
- Once the paste is dry, remove it with a damp sponge on the inside and a water hose on the outside for easier cleaning.
Method 4: Water and bleach
Chlorine bleach is a potent biocide commonly used to kill mould spores. Once diluted with water, it is safe to use on aluminium surfaces.
Before applying this mixture to the whole frame, test a small part that’s not directly visible. This is important to check for any reaction that could potentially damage the aluminium, such as discolouration.
Do not mix bleach ammonia-based cleaners.
- Mix no more than 1 cup of household bleach with 3.7 litres (1 gallon) of water at a ratio of 1:10.
- Apply the diluted bleach solution to the mouldy surface.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Gently scrub off the mould with a soft cloth or sponge.
- Rinse with water and dry the surface thoroughly.
How To Remove Mould From Your Aluminium Window Frames
Follow this step-by-step guide to thoroughly and safely remove the mould from your aluminium window frame.
Things you’ll need:
- Cleaner of choice (vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda, mild detergent or bleach)
- Bucket/Garden Hose
- Spray Bottle
- Microfibre cloths
- Washing up liquid
Step 1: Wet the affected area
With all your protective gear on, it’s time to start cleaning your aluminium window frames. For the inside, use washing-up liquid to remove any dirt and grime before tackling the mould. Use a wet cloth to wipe down the frames.
Once done, fill the empty spray bottom with room-temperature water and saturate the affected area. Spores are less likely to spread when you wet the mould. Be sure to spray the area around each spot of mould growth.
To clean the outside, use a hose or bucket of water to remove dirt and grime and to wet the mouldy area.
Step 2: Gently wipe away the mould
Allow the water to saturate the mouldy area, and spray on your prepared cleaning solution. Spray in an even layer if you’re using a homemade product such as water and white vinegar. Give your cleaner time to work before you begin to rub it.
Using a sponge or cloth, gently but thoroughly clean the affected area. It is best to use a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth when cleaning, as aluminium can scratch easily during the cleaning process.
If this does happen, we have a guide on how to remove scratches from aluminium window frames, which can help you repair the frame and get it looking brand new again.
You may need to repeat this step twice as mould may appear to fade at first and then begin to darken again. Don’t worry: a second round will often solve the problem.
With a second round of cleaning the area, be prepared to wipe it a little more thoroughly. Be sure to use a fresh cloth for each application.
Once the physical mould growth is removed, it becomes a little easier to control.
Step 3: Clean and dry the area you’ve treated
After the cleaning, you will need a final scrubbing down of all surfaces using a fresh cloth to remove any leftover debris. Clean down all the surfaces, including the window panes, tracks, joints and grooves.
Drying the area is key to ensuring your clean works. Use a clean, dry cloth and remove any lingering hints of moisture. If you’re treating tight spots, open your window and allow sunshine and wind to aid the drying process.
Once you’ve completed your clean, place all used products in the trash, seal the bag tightly and throw it away in the outside bin. Any tools can be immersed in a mixture of bleach and water to kill any remaining mould spores.
If your aluminium window frames still appear dull, you can use a polish to make them shine.
How To Prevent Mould In The Future
Mould is quite fragile and can easily be killed by most acidic and abrasive chemicals. However, these often don’t get to the root of the problem. A small area left untreated can cause another infestation.
The good news is that prevention is much easier (and better) than dealing with the problem.
To prevent recurrence and keep mould growth at bay, here are some steps you should take:
Reduce humidity and increase airflow
To prevent window sweating and stop mould growth, reduce your home’s humidity levels and make sure it is properly ventilated.
This is especially important for damp areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. Hot showers, boiling pans and steaming food all release moisture and contribute to condensation. If the air can move freely through these spaces, there’s less chance of moisture settling on the windows and causing mould growth.
You can use a dehumidifier or a fan to decrease humidity in a space. Dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels, making your home less hospitable to mould and mildew.
Clean your windows regularly
Weekly window cleaning should be included as part of your regular cleaning routine. Cleaning includes dusting and vacuuming to stop mould from growing back.
As you know, aluminium is particularly bad at preventing moisture buildup, so it’s essential you clean your window sills, frames and tracks.
Window tracks can accumulate dust and moisture more easily. Many window tracks have small holes to drain water out, but these holes can become blocked by dust and cause mould.
Routinely wipe down wet areas with a dry cloth to prevent moisture buildup from turning into mould.
Follow our blog for more tips and advice on how to clean aluminium window frames.
Clean or repair leaks
Locate and seal any gaps between the window frame or any small points of separation around the framework that may be causing a leak.
It’s also wise to inspect your roof and gutters for proper drainage. Any leaks from these can lead to mould production, as well as more serious structural and insulation problems. Leaks or other drainage problems typically occur after a heavy storm.
After a storm, take a moment to wipe down the aluminium window framework, including the window sill, tracks and panes. For the most part, sunlight will help dry out the moisture, but some tight spots can harbour moisture.
You may need a professional to make more extensive repairs, but the money is well worth it.
These methods can also be applied to aluminium doors and door frames. Here are more tips on aluminium front doors.
Consider repair or replacement
If a leaky window frame is the culprit, you may need to repair or replace your aluminium window. Damaged caulk is often to blame.
If your aluminium windows or doors are in poor condition or you’ve noticed mould growing, it may be worth replacing the window altogether. Stronger, high-quality window frames insulate better, resulting in less condensation and mould.
Remember, mould can also grow around your doors. If you’ve also been experiencing this problem and cleaning doesn’t seem to solve it, it may be time to replace your doors.
Aluminium doors from UK Aluminium Bifold Doors ensure optimal thermal efficiency and weatherproofing, so you won’t have to worry about leakages, condensation or mould!