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Simple Ways To Clean Windows

Updated Nov 22, 2022

Updated Nov 22, 2022

Home > Windows > Simple Ways To Clean Windows

Over time, grime, dirt, and pollution build up on your indoor and outdoor windows blocking sunlight and your view. The only thing worse than dirty windows is streaky windows after you invested time and energy into cleaning them.

So, how can you avoid streaks and end up with sparkling clean windows?

Here are the best simple ways to clean windows and avoid ugly streaks, marks, and drips.

1. Use the Right Products

It’s tempting to grab your bottle of Windex and any old cleaning rag you have on hand. However, using the wrong cleaning supplies will leave you with streaky, waxy windows, no matter how perfect your technique is.

Start by assessing your window cleaning solution options. Many commercial window cleaning products leave a waxy buildup on windows over time, dulling the shine and making your glass look foggy. As a result, we recommend making a simple homemade window cleaner using natural ingredients like white vinegar, lemon juice, and dishwashing liquid combined in a spray bottle.

If your home has hard water, use distilled water for the recipe to prevent buildup. Not only will you save money by making your own cleaning product, but these ingredients are typically better for the environment and safe around kids and pets.

Next, you’ll want to consider what cleaning tools you’ll use to achieve streak-free windows. It would be best to avoid paper towels, sponges, and fuzzy cloths because these can all leave “fuzzies” or bits of paper stuck to your windows, ruining your hard work.

Instead, use a microfiber cloth or lint-free cloth to clean your windows without streaks. Alternatively, you can use a squeegee. Double-check that your squeegee has a new, sharp rubber blade for the best results. If you have high windows, look for an extendable window squeegee to keep yourself safe from falls.

2. Remove Dust and Dirt from the Windowsill and Frames First

woman cleaning window blinds in her home
Image Source: Canva

Before cleaning the windowpane, remove dust and grime from windowsills, screens, and frames first. Otherwise, you’ll end up sullying your clean window glass when you go back to clean these later.

Do not spray cleaner on top of dirt and grime directly. Instead, remove debris and dirt with a small broom or vacuum to prevent a muddy mess on your window. If you have cobwebs or find dead insects, clean these areas carefully while wearing gloves to avoid stings or unpleasant surprises.

If you have plastic or vinyl window frames and sills, use cleaning wipes to clean them quickly. Otherwise, use a spray cleaning solution and a cloth to wipe away the dirt. Always double-check that the cleaning solution is OK for use on that type of surface.

3. Choose an Optimal Time to Clean

Don’t choose a sunny day to clean your windows. A blazing sun will dry the window cleaner quickly, resulting in hard-to-remove streaks. Ideally, choose a cloudy day or time when the windows are shaded to wash windows.

4. Cleaning Your Windowpanes

After preparing your windows and gathering your supplies, take the following steps to clean your windows. Please note that you should follow this order closely to avoid streaks:

  1. For exterior windows with buildup, scrub the glass thoroughly using water and a little dish soap. Use a sponge or rag to scrub dirt and grime off the glass. If you have tree sap or bug droppings, use a fine nylon scrub pad on wet windows to clean these away. Always test the scrub pad on an inconspicuous part of your window to double-check that it doesn’t scratch the surface.
  2. Use a squeegee to direct excess water off your windows as you go. Dampen the squeegee in a water bucket, then wipe it across your window in either a horizontal or vertical direction (it doesn’t matter which way as long as you stick to the same direction for the entire window.) Then, clean the squeegee in the bucket of clean water and wipe off excess moisture with a dry lint-free cloth.
  3. Repeat step two and work your way down the window as you clean to avoid overlapping previous strokes while you direct excess water.
  4. Wipe any excess water on the bottom edge of the window with a clean cloth. Switch to a new cloth as soon as the one you have is no longer dry. 
  5. As you clean, check for gaps in the window’s frame, broken glass, or putty that needs to be replaced. Replacing or repairing these sections prevents pests from infiltrating your home and keeps your utility bills lower.

For indoor windows, you’ll want to follow the same steps. Don’t forget that squeegees are just as effective inside as outside. The only thing you’ll want to consider is if you need to use different types of cleaning products indoors. If you have family members sensitive to certain smells, like vinegar or essential oils, children, or pets, verify that the products you’re using are safe for use around them before cleaning.

Window Cleaning Safety Tips

woman cleaning a window outside her home
Image Source: Canva

Ask a family member or friend to spot you if you need to use a ladder or step stool to reach indoor or outside windows. Do not use the ladder if it’s wobbly. Clean windows aren’t worth the risk to your health and well-being. If you have high windows and aren’t comfortable on a ladder, consider hiring professional window cleaners or asking a friend or family member for help.

In addition, never use a damaged scraper or squeegee. When replacing scraper blades, be cautious handling the sharp razor as this can cause serious injuries. Never leave the scraper unattended, especially if you have kids or pets. We also recommend wearing safety glasses to protect your eyes when using the scraper or squeegee blade on glass.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning glass can be tricky if you’re not using the right tools or techniques. Fortunately, a bit of research on the best step-to-step cleaning tips can save you a lot of time and frustration.

Remember that working on a cloudy, humid day is ideal because it will prevent streaks from forming in direct sunlight. Always take your time as you clean to save yourself from having to go back over windows with streaks.

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