Window films come in a variety of styles and are designed for multiple purposes. Some window films are expressly designed to add privacy by creating a frosted appearance or by adding decorative camouflage through the use of intricate designs. Window privacy films are generally low-maintenance, but they require special care and handling to protect them from being damaged and to prolong their lifespan. Below are several things you should keep in mind so your window privacy film will provide years of decorative and functional value for your home:
Follow proper installation procedures
The best thing you can do to increase the lifespan of your window privacy film is to use manufacturer recommendations for installation. Take care to thoroughly clean your window glass as directed, and use the appropriate chemicals and materials for installation.
Wait until the privacy film has cured
Window privacy films need a set period of time to cure; this means that following installation, there will be a number of days or weeks for adhesives to properly dry or moisture to evaporate. While this specific period of time can vary depending on the manufacturer, it is usually safe to clean privacy film after 30 days have elapsed following installation. Contact the film's manufacturer for assistance if you need to know the exact time period.
Use a mild cleaning solution
For cleaning window privacy films, use a mild solution of water and an appropriate cleaning agent. Shampoo designed for infants is an excellent choice since it usually contains no dyes or harsh chemicals. To make your own window privacy film cleaning solution, combine 1 teaspoon of baby shampoo with 1 quart of water; gently stir the solution with a spoon or coffee stirrer to avoid creating bubbles.
Spray the cleaning solution on the film, but avoid over-saturating the surface. After wiping away the soapy solution, spray distilled water on the film to rinse away the soap. Distilled water will prevent water spotting and will not leave other mineral residues on the film.
Never use any cleaning solutions that contain ammonia, bleach or other caustic or acidic substances. These cleaners will permanently damage the film and the glue backing.
Wipe with a lint-free, soft cloth
As you are washing and drying your window privacy film, you should use a cleaning cloth that is inherently lint-free and soft. Cotton is an all-purpose fiber appropriate for cleaning and drying, and it won't leave scratches behind on the film. Avoid using artificial fiber towels that may scratch or tear films, and do not use paper towels or newspaper print for cleaning.
Avoid direct contact with the film
Window privacy films will also last longer if they are not touched or handling is kept to a minimum. The oils from your hands can break down the sensitive plastic and vinyl composition of privacy films and cause staining. Repeated touching and handling also can detach the film from the glass or create bubbling.
If you find a need to handle window privacy film, it is ideal to wear soft cotton gloves whenever possible so your skin's natural oils will not be transferred. Be gentle while washing and drying, and use a patting motion with the cloth instead of scrubbing. Keep children and pets from touching the film as much as possible.
Minimize direct exposure to ultraviolet radiation
While window privacy films are designed to serve as a visual barrier, many are not made to resist harsh ultraviolet radiation. The more you can minimize exposure to the direct rays of the sun, the longer your film will last. Ways of blocking solar radiation include the use of strategic landscaping placement, installing shutters and using darker window screens.