How To Lubricate Home Window Tracks

Over time, you may find that your windows are getting more and more difficult to open. One of the most common reasons for sticking window tracks is the buildup of dirt and debris.

Not only will it frustrate you trying to get them open, but you also run the risk of damaging the frames from too much force.

Smooth opening of your windows can be a straightforward process, and it’s all about getting the area cleaned and then lubricating the tracks.

If you’re looking for an answer to “how to lubricate home window tracks?” read on to discover the best way to do so.

Before Lubricating Your Windows: Cleaning Up

before lubricating your windows cleaning up

One of the most common areas forgotten about when cleaning is the window tracks. It would help if you got them thoroughly cleaned before using any lubricant.

Luckily, you won’t need to invest much time or money to keep your windows working the way you want them to.

Here are some basic supplies you’ll need so you can clean your window tracks:

  • microfiber cloths
  • white vinegar
  • dish soap
  • vacuum cleaner attachments
  • toothpicks and cotton swabs

Start by using either the narrow or brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and dead bugs. Although you won’t be able to remove every speck of dirt, get as much as possible.

If you haven’t cleaned the window tracks in a while, grime can be “stuck” on, but no need to worry. All you need is a little bit of patience with the right cleaning products.

When you have some specks of dirt that are hard to remove, use a little baking soda on it, but let it sit for a few minutes first. Don’t forget to add it to the small corners where grime can be very tricky to remove.

How To Clean Window Tracks

how to clean window tracks

Now that you’ve “prepped” the area, it’s officially time to get down to the business of cleaning window tracks correctly. 

Remember, you won’t restore the window track to top beauty the first time around, so be patient as you might have to repeat these steps several times.

  • After letting the baking soda sit for about ten minutes, get a spray bottle mixed with one part vinegar and one part water with a few drops of dish soap mixed in.
  • Shake your home cleaner with full force, spray it over all areas of the window tracks, and then let the mixture work for several minutes.
  • A damp cloth can be used to remove dirt for most of the tracks, but smaller areas will be tougher to reach. In this case, you can use a toothbrush, a toothpick, or a cotton swab.
  • A damp paper towel with a butter knife can also work to get in the middle of corners or other tight spaces that seem impossible to reach.
  • Wipe the area again clean with a new damp rag. Microfiber cloths will work best when wiping your window tracks because of tiny fibers inside that cling to dirt and residue better than ordinary fabrics.

How To Lubricate Home Window Tracks

how to lubricate home window tracks

As we mentioned before, always ensure your window tracks are clean before applying any lubricant. This is important, or the lubricant won’t do its job well.

It can be tempting to use grease, but make sure you use a lubricant that is made of silicon. This kind of product is versatile and simple to use.

You only need to spray a small amount for it to be useful, but make sure you wipe tracks thoroughly with a rag. Move the window up and down to get the lubricant working and add more as you need it.

Cleaning and lubricating window tracks is a straightforward process that will protect your investment for the long haul.

The Best Way To Lubricate Wooden Window Tracks

best way to lubricate wooden window tracks

Wooden window tracks can pose a different challenge, but no need to worry. Rather than using a lubricant made of silicon, you can use wax and the same solution mentioned previously to clean, but only use a small amount because wood is porous.

Wooden surfaces tend to warp or crack with too much moisture.

After cleaning the wooden track, you can apply plain wax that you’ll find directly from a white candle. Apply a thin layer, then move the window up and down to get the wax spread evenly.

What Products To Avoid On Wooden Or Vinyl Tracks

what products to avoid on wooden or vinyl tracks

It can be very tempting to lubricate your wooden or vinyl tracks with oil that penetrates, such as WD-40, but this can prove to cause more harm than good.

While oils can be good for lubricating metal surfaces, they will only work short-term for wooden and vinyl. Oils can actually attract more dirt and grime, and it will in the end only waste your time.

What Is The Best Lubricant For Aluminum Windows?

what is the best lubricant for aluminum windows

Homeowners often prefer aluminum windows because they don’t need to be painted and rarely need repair. However, this kind of window still needs maintenance like your wooden or vinyl ones.

There are only two reasons why your aluminum windows aren’t sliding freely: either the tracks have been damaged, or they need lubrication.

For aluminum windows, dry graphite lubricant works well. You’ll find it repels dirt and protects the surface from added friction.

Another option is the silicone-based lubricant. It will also work on aluminum because it won’t create corrosion. As a final step, you can apply a thin layer of wax to prevent any rust from forming.

How Often Should You Clean And Lubricate Window Tracks?

how often should you clean and lubricate your window tracks

To prevent algae, mold, dirt, and debris, clean your window tracks at least twice a year. 

The best time of the year to clean window tracks is during spring and before winter (the holiday season). Months just before spring have harsher conditions that create more dirt, mildew, and mold.

If you live in a rural area where dust is more common, cleaning and lubricating the tracks may be necessary more often than every six months.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »