The Best Way to Clean Your Windows

Window washing is one of those tasks that people generally avoid. It should be done twice a year, but it’s such a chore that it often gets put off. Part of the reason it’s regarded as an unappealing job is that we’re doing it wrong!

Using newspaper or paper towels and spray cleaner takes a lot of effort and scrubbing to get windows clean. The rubbing motion simply moves the dirt around and puts a static charge on the glass — attracting more dust and dirt.

There’s a better way to do windows. You never see professional window cleaners struggling with newspaper and Windex. Take a page from their book and clean your windows like a pro.

Gather Your Tools

  • Strip Applicator: looks like a squeegee but has a cloth strip instead of rubber
  • Squeegee: a rubber-edged blade on a handle — a scraping implement
  • Lint-free cloths: to remove any spots not taken care of with a squeegee
  • Rubber gloves: to protect your hands
  • Sponge: natural or synthetic
  • Dishwashing liquid or white vinegar
  • Hacksaw & utility knife: if you need to customize the size of the squeegee
  • Nylon scrubber sponge: for stubborn spots

Picture Windows

Prepare a mixture of warm water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid or white vinegar. Use the strip applicator to soak up the prepared water and run it over the entire pane of glass. Starting at the top left, run the squeegee over the window in a reverse “S” pattern. At the end of every stroke, wipe the blade with a lint-free cloth. Tip: Don’t wash your lint-free cloths with fabric softener. This will cause streaks on the windows.

Wipe any remaining water around the edges of the window with your lint-free cloth or a chamois.

Multi-Pane Windows

Windows with multiple panes are best washed with a sponge, natural or synthetic. A natural sponge will be firmer and more absorbent, but either will do. Use a similar solution of dish soap or vinegar and water as a cleaning solution. Be sure to work the sponge into the corners of the panes.

If you don’t have a squeegee that is the size of the panes, you can DIY the squeegee you have. Trim the squeegee channel with a hacksaw (don’t forget to file the cut edges smooth) and trim the rubber blade with your utility knife.

With the correctly sized squeegee, you should be able to run it down each pane of glass in a single stroke, wiping the blade clean after each one. Remove any leftover soap or streaks with your lint-free or chamois cloth. Wipe down the muntins and sills. Tip: If washing the inside of your windows, put a towel on the sill to prevent water from dripping down the wall or onto floors.

Tough Dirt

If you have bird droppings or tree pitch on your windows, a nylon scrubber pad should take care of them. For tougher mineral stains, try fine 000 steel wool or oxalic acid mixed with water as a paste. Rub very gently until the stains are removed

Once you’ve mastered the art of cleaning your windows like a pro, you’ll never say, “I don’t do windows,” again.