One of the more frustrating parts of Spring Cleaning is figuring out how to wash windows without leaving streaks. I used to put this chore off until I couldn’t stand seeing the grime any longer.
Then one Spring I decided that I wasn’t going to bother, so I hired a window-washing crew to clean all 35 windows in my house. They finished in just under an hour, inside and out!
While I was thrilled to have the job done so quickly, the cost of it just about knocked me off of my feet. Fortunately, one of the crew was nice enough to give me DIY pointers. His advice was so good that I’ve been washing our windows seasonally ever since.
So, before you decide to skip washing your windows, read these steps. This homemade window cleaner and the method described are so effective that you’ll never dread cleaning windows again.
How to Wash Windows Without Leaving Streaks
The professional window-cleaner told me that one of the mistakes most people make is thinking they need a commercial cleaning product. There’s not much to cleaning windows properly, he said, and it’s a very inexpensive way to make your home look fresh.
Tips to Streak-Free Windows
• Due to changes in paper and ink formulas, using newspapers to clean windows is not as effective as it used to be. Chamois cloths are now synthetic, too, so they don’t have the same absorbency they once did. Stick with a sponge and squeegee.
• Don’t wash windows while the sun is shining on them, or when the glass is still warm from the sun. Heat will make the window cleaning solution evaporate before you’ve removed grime, and that will leave streaks. Wait until an overcast day when there’s no rain in the forecast.
• Before washing your windows, use a broom to clean away cobwebs and debris. Then, open the windows and clean the sills inside and out.
• Place a towel on the window sill to catch drips when washing indoors.
• If you have double-hung windows that can be tilted indoors for easy cleaning, you’ll also want a stool or chair to rest the pane against while you work. Clean the top sash first, then the bottom.
• The sponge on most squeegees isn’t sturdy enough to scrub well. Use a large natural sponge to wash the windows instead.
• Rinse the sponge thoroughly in the bucket of glass cleaner after each window. Wring it out gently — you don’t want it dripping all over, but you also don’t want it too dry.
• For small, divided windows a rubber kitchen spatula makes a great squeegee.
Homemade Window Cleaner
You will need:
- Clean broom or long-handled duster
- Large bucket
- 1 gallon of warm water
- Liquid dish soap (not moisturizing) — Dawn is great
- Natural sponge
- Lint-free cloths like these microfiber cleaning cloths
1. Combine 1 gallon of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent in the bucket.
2. Dip the sponge into the soapy water and gently wring out the excess. Scrub the outside of the window well, making sure you get into the corners and edges near the frame.
3. Firmly pull the squeegee horizontally once across the top of the window. If it squeaks, add a tiny bit more soap to the water — the soap acts as a lubricant in addition to removing dirt.
4. Wipe the squeegee completely dry on a lint-free cloth before making the next horizontal pass. Overlap the first pass by an inch or so. Continue working until you reach the bottom of the window.
5. Use a cloth to dry any drips.
6. Clean the inside of windows following the same steps but, work the squeegee vertically. This way, if you miss a spot you’ll know which side to re-do.
Remove spots and fingerprints from windows as part of your weekly cleaning routine. This homemade glass cleaning spray can be made in advance and kept on hand for quick touchups.