The Coachella Valley is awesome during the winter.
While everyone else on the continent is continually trying to thaw out their car door so they can get to work, we bask away in our wonderful desert breeze trying to forget what snow is.
But, as we both probably know, there is no snow here; just sand. Lots and lots of sand. With that sand comes a healthy dose of wind giving us an occasional look at mother nature’s epic sandstorm action.
I’ve seen it so bad that sand was coming in through the seals of my car door! Unfortunately, your weather sealing on your sliding glass door/every window in your house that opens ever, doesn’t magically stop this. Every time you get your windows cleaned, make sure that the cleaner is vacuuming out the tracks, because…
1. That Sand Will Turn To Mud
It’s pretty common sense, but I’ve seen it dozens of times. A window washer in Palm Springs will haphazardly start scrubbing away at windows with blatant disregard for the tracks or sills. Obviously, even with constant upkeep, a sizable amount of sand will gather in every crevice of that window. Then, with the addition of just a little water, you’ve created a mudslide.
This isn’t necessarily devastating, especially if the mud is leaking out on the outside. But, if left unchecked, that mud can leave very difficult stains in the exterior stucco. Even worse, it can easily stain walls or floors inside your house if the technician hasn’t taken the proper steps to avoid this.
Make sure that your window cleaner is planning on cleaning the tracks out and that he does so before a squeegee even touches a pane.
2. It Will Make Your Sliders Become Stationary
Your sliding glass door is not an overly complex apparatus. It’s a window with casters on a track that has a big seal all around it to keep the outside, well…outside. I’ve seen huge sliding glass doors in Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells that have become a chore to budge because of sand build-up inside the casters.
Too bad I never pursued magnetic levitating sliding doors!
The craziest thing of all? It’s 100% avoidable. The more that sand is being vacuumed away on the regular, the fewer chances it has to gum up your precious (and expensive) sliders. If you have a maid service or clean yourself, make it a point to have those tracks cleaned every few weeks. Because if you don’t…
3. It Looks Terrible And Will Just Get Worse Looking
I’ve been cleaning these tracks out for some time now. I know the houses that have had tracks that were well-cared for and the ones that weren’t.
It’s not exactly a mystery.
In addition to the sand and eventual mud, grease will start to build up (especially if you are constantly lubricating your casters) and it can start to turn all sorts of weird colors. Once this happens it becomes much more difficult to clean thoroughly.
My Tracks Look Terrible—What Now?
If you have tracks that are black (or yellow…or some other color they shouldn’t be) with nasty window fallout I’ve found that a degreaser works pretty well in addition to some elbow grease. Some of the ones that I’ve found that work well is Greased Lightning and Spray Nine (can get at Home Depot for like $10).
After soaking the affected track, let it sit for a few minutes to loosen that stuff up. Then, take a screwdriver (flathead) with a rag over it and start cleaning away! It will take time—sometimes the process will need to be repeated a few times, but your window tracks should look new!
If you’re not into being on your hands and knees cleaning out your sliding glass door tracks, give me a ring! I’m in the Palm Desert/Palm Springs Area from October to April! Always and option 🙂