Cleaning windows is never a fun job, but it has to be done. Most people hate doing it themselves because they always leave streaks or can never get it right. Use these tips to help make your windows shine.
Not very many people like cleaning windows because the results are seldom satisfying. Most people struggle to get their windows really clean and streak-free. But you can’t just keep skipping the chore forever. Eventually, it has to be done.
Luckily, it’s not that hard to get your windows clean and streak-free, and doing so is more a matter of know-how than elbow grease. That’s good news, right? All you need is the right tools, the right timing, and a little DIY window cleaner, and you’ll soon have the clearest windows on the block.
Use the Right Window Cleaning Tools
If you’re learning how to clean windows properly, you first need to know what tools to have on hand. If you’re lucky enough to have new, modern windows that allow you to tilt the sash inward for cleaning, then all you’ll need is some window cleaner, a squeegee and some sponges or rags. You’ll also want something to dry your windows with — paper towels, newsprint, microfiber cloths or swatches of an old cotton percale sheet will work well.
Have windows that can’t be tilted in? A power jet wand and cleaning sprayer will work to clean the exterior. Do you have splatters of paint, tree sap, adhesive residue or other tough stains to remove from your windows? Grab some steel wool, razor blades or a small buffing wheel, and some mild abrasive like Soft Scrub or Bar Keepers Friend. Need to remove silicone caulk? Magic erasers work well for this, and you can buy cheap, generic ones on Amazon.
Get the Timing Right
Is there a wrong time to wash your windows? Well, kind of. It’s best to clean your windows on an overcast day, when there is no direct sunlight. Sunlight causes streaking and spotting on the glass.
Make Your Own Window Cleaner
Commercial window cleaners can leave residue behind that causes streaks. The best way to clean windows is to make your own window cleaning solution. The first time you clean your windows, mix two cups of water with ¼ cup of white vinegar and ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Mix it in a spray bottle or cleaning sprayer and apply to windows that have been rinsed with clean water. Every time you clean your windows after this, simply mix one cup of hot water with one cup of white vinegar and apply in a spray bottle to freshly rinsed windows.
Wash Away Streaks
Wash your windows by first rinsing dust, cobwebs and debris from the glass with water. Spray the outside of your windows with a power jet wand and the inside with a spray bottle. Then apply the cleaning solution and use a scrubber, sponge or rag to work on stains and trouble spots. Use steel wool or a buffing tool for stubborn stains, and use a razor blade to scrape away splattered paint.
Make sure to use two different scrubbers, sponges or rags — one for the outside of your windows, and one for the inside. The outside will be dirtier, naturally, and using a separate rag will help keep the inside clean and prevent the spread of bird feces and other unsanitary materials into your home. Use another separate rag to clean sills and frames.
Once you’re done spraying and scrubbing, use a squeegee to remove excess water. Hold a sponge or cloth below the squeegee to keep fluid from dripping onto the floor. Finally, dry your windows, frames and sills. Use a microfiber cloth, sheet of newsprint, swatch of cotton percale or paper towel to prevent streaks. If you start drying the window and streaks appear at first, don’t panic. Just keep rubbing the glass until they go away.
Aside from streaks, another annoyance of household window cleaning is lint. If you don’t know how to clean windows, you might grab the wrong kind of cloth, such as a cotton terry towel, to dry your windows and leave bits of lint stuck all over the glass. Using the right kind of towel or cloth to dry your window glass prevents this. Cotton percale and microfiber are the best fabrics to clean windows. Newsprint or brown, commercial-style paper towels also work well.
Cleaning windows can be a thankless task, but if you’re the kind of person who struggles to get a streak-free shine, don’t despair. All you need is the right tools and these window cleaning tips, and soon you’ll be seeing the world clearly once more.