No deep-clean project would be complete without a day devoted to windows. Cleaning windows isn’t a whole lot of fun, these tips make it easier.
Clean Your Windows at the Right Time of Day
The first thing to think about is what time of day is best to tackle your project because you want to avoid washing windows when the sun is shining directly on them. Sunlight dries your cleaning solution in its tracks, which makes window washing very challenging and causes streaks.
Use the Best Method
The second thing to think about is how dirty the windows are. This will determine what method is most appropriate in your situation.
If your windows are only slightly dirty, a spray bottle of glass cleaning solution will be the quickest way to go. Use commercial glass cleaner or mix your own using equal parts vinegar and water or three parts water to one part rubbing alcohol.
Spray the cleaner on the glass and then use dry cloths to wipe the glass clean. If you see streaks when you’re finished, repeat the process using a fresh cloth. Sometimes you can buff away streaks with a dry cloth without having to re-apply glass cleaner. If you’re doing a lot of windows, have a lot of cloths on hand because the key to avoiding leaving lint and streaks on your windows is using fresh, dry cloths for buffing.
If your windows are really dirty, the above method will take forever. Instead, mix a window washing solution in a bucket. A simple, effective window washing mixture can be made using a few drops of dish detergent in a gallon of warm water. Alternatively, use a cup of ammonia or vinegar in the water.
Using a cloth or a sponge, wash the window with your solution, rinsing your cloth as often as needed, until all the dirt has been removed. Then buff dry. Switch off your drying/buffing cloth as it gets damp to avoid streaking.
Clean Outside From Inside (if you can)
Depending on the type of windows, you may be able to clean them on both sides (inside and outside) without setting foot outside your house. Tip-in windows can easily be cleaned on both sides from inside the house. That’s a no-brainer.
To clean the exterior surfaces of windows that slide or crank open, open the window and see if you can reach your arm around to the exterior side far enough to wipe the area clean. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. This method might be your only option for cleaning upstairs windows, and in this case you’ll have to do the best you can.
If You Have To Work Outside
Cleaning window exteriors outdoors is sometimes challenging, and sometimes impossible, depending on the nature of your landscaping. Steep grades or dense foliage are typically deal breakers.
If it’s a question of distance, for example awkwardly placed windows or windows that are just beyond reach and impractical to get at with a ladder, a squeegee with a long or telescoping handle comes in handy. Use a squeegee with an attached sponge on one side. Apply your cleaning solution to the window with the sponge side and then pull the squeegee back and forth across the window surface horizontally working from the top down.
Window screens should be removed and cleaned at the same time you clean your windows. They can be vacuumed or wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Window sills and tracks should also be cleaned while you’re at it. If they’re really dirty, first vacuum up loose debris, then wash with a cloth or sponge dipped into a solution of water and all-purpose cleaner, or use your window cleaning solution. Use a toothbrush to get into the edges.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules about window cleaning, so improvise as necessary. When you’re done, take satisfaction in how nice your windows look. Window washing is hard work. Job well done!
Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.