How to Clean Windows to Get That Streak-Free Shine
Cleaning Windows at a Glance
- Tools and materials: Washing solution, squeegee, sponge, microfiber cloth
- Step 1: Prep cleaning solution
- Step 2: Remove exterior screens
- Step 3: Spray solution
- Step 4: Wipe or squeegee away
Nothing ruins the view from your favorite window faster than sticky fingerprints, dirt and streaks. A dirty window is annoying to look at and it can also block natural light. Cleaning a window is easy, though it’s challenging to do so without leaving a streaky mess behind. But with the right cleaning solution and tools, you can restore your view and cross one more thing off your spring-cleaning checklist.
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To get a flawless shine, you’re going to want to learn from the best — window washers. So, take notes.
Clean Like the Pros
What do professional window cleaners do to get the glass streak-free? The secret lies in the window squeegee. Rubber blades on squeegees glide over windows, quickly removing the excess cleaner without leaving streaks.
The window washing solution professionals use for window cleaning varies, from professional-strength glass cleaner to homemade solutions. A vinegar and water solution is a common homemade glass cleaner. You can also use dishwashing detergent in water for suds that help your squeegee glide across the glass.
Tools and Materials
For professional results, use a sponge or microfiber cloth to wash the windows. Choose a window squeegee with a sturdy rubber blade to wipe the solution off the windows. Stock up on replacement blades for quick changing when they get dull or nicked. You also need a large bucket to mix the solution. If you want to spray the solution onto the windows, grab a clean spray bottle.
Prepare Your Cleaning Solution
The best solution for window cleaning is a simple mix of water and dishwashing detergent. Fill your bucket with fresh, cool water. Hot water evaporates quickly, which would give you less time to clean. Squeeze in a few drops of your dishwashing soap to create a sudsy solution.
Another option is a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts cool water. This solution is easy to mix right in a spray bottle.
How to Clean Windows — Inside
Whether you have original windows or brand-new energy-efficient windows, the cleaning process is the same. Choose a dry, overcast day for the best results. Hot sun beating down on the windows can dry the solution too quickly and leave streaks. Put a towel down at the base of the window to catch drips.
If you're using a spray bottle, spray a generous amount of the window cleaner spray on the glass. Otherwise, dip your sponge or microfiber cloth in the solution. Squeeze out the excess so it doesn't soak the window frame. Wash the glass panes with a sponge or cloth, removing all dirt and fingerprints.
Use the squeegee to wipe the solution off the windows, starting at the top. Use horizontal strokes at a slightly downward angle. Dry your squeegee blade after each pass with a clean microfiber cloth. Use a cloth to dry the edges and corners of the windows.
If your windows have several panes or small sections, using a squeegee isn't as effective. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe off the cleaning solution. Squeegees work best on picture windows with large panes of glass.
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How to Clean Windows — Outside
Some windows tip inward so you can clean the outer surface from inside your home. Look for release tabs along the interior of the window. Clean the exterior surface just like you did with the interior windows. Apply the window washing solution and use your squeegee to wipe it away.
Another option is to clean the windows from the outside. A step ladder might be enough to reach first-floor windows. Use a sturdy extension ladder for second-floor windows. Place the ladder on flat ground and ensure it's stable before climbing it. Remove the window screens carefully.
Spraying the windows with a hose first can loosen some of the dirt. Then, spray on the cleaning solution or use a sponge mop to apply the outdoor window cleaner all over the window. Use the sponge to scrub the windows.
Working from top to bottom, use the window squeegee to wipe away the cleaner. Dry the squeegee with a towel after each pass. Give the window screens a spray with the hose before putting them back on the windows.
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