One of the best things about looking out the window is seeing the view outside, taking in the garden or the cityscape… and then you notice the glass surface is smudged.
No, you can’t ignore that – it’s time to start washing windows.
Skip the commercial window cleaners and just use a solution of white vinegar and water for streak-free windows. For the tracks and sills, mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid or detergent into water. To clean easy-to-reach windows, you can just use a sponge or clean cloth. For larger windows or hard-to-reach ones, try a squeegee!
You don’t need to clean all the windows in one go, but you do need to wash windows regularly. Here’s your handy guide on how to clean windows with a streak-free finish.
Make Your Own Window Cleaning Solution
You can use glass cleaner, but it’s better to avoid harsh chemicals. Meanwhile, window cleaning solutions with ammonia or alcohol can leave streaks, or even a film that attracts dust.
Instead, just use white vinegar! Mix 1 part vinegar to 10 parts warm water, then put the window cleaner solution in a spray bottle. This will give you a streak-free finish when you clean.
Vinegar has an acidic composition, which means it can break down the streaks and smudges that accumulate on your window surfaces.
How Often to Clean Windows
For high-traffic or highly-exposed areas, such as the living room, bathroom, and kitchen windows, clean every 1–2 weeks.
For other living areas such as the bedroom, you can clean every 3–4 months.
The Best Way to Clean Windows
To clean your windows, you’ll need the following:
- Microfibre cloths, soft sponges, or paper towels
- Vinegar cleaning solution in a spray bottle
- Clean water
Once you’re armed and ready, it’s time to get your windows clean.
Before you wet the surface, use a soft cloth to remove dust and dirt build-up. This will remove any loose dirt on the surface that could smudge or scratch as you clean.
Saturate the entire surface with your vinegar window cleaner. You can also opt to work in small areas at a time, but this could be less efficient.
Avoid getting the solution on any wood, vinyl, or fibreglass frames since you could discolour the finish. You can be extra careful by saturating the sponge or cloth directly instead of the window surface.
Use a lint-free towel or cloth to work the window cleaning solution over the entire surface, especially the dirty spots. Work quickly so the mixture doesn’t evaporate and streak the glass.
You can either “rinse” with a damp cloth, or just directly dry the window with a clean cloth. Work quickly to prevent streaks, and do one window at a time.
Of course, the easiest and most low-effort way to clean windows is to leave it up to expert house cleaners! They know all the tricks of the trade and can get your window glass sparkling (plus other glass surfaces such as shower screens).
Cleaning Windows with a Squeegee
A squeegee blade is excellent for cleaning large dirty windows. Again, make a cleaning solution using one part distilled vinegar to ten parts warm water, but this time mix it in a small bucket.
Dip a clean sponge or squeegee into the mixture and saturate your windows. Act quickly to avoid the solution evaporating and leaving streaks.
Then use a clean, damp squeegee to wipe the solution off the windows. Go top to bottom, one side to another for a more efficient clean. And of course, wipe off the squeegee in between swipes!
Cleaning the Outside of a Window
Much like cleaning the inside of a window, you can use a microfibre cloth or soft sponge to clean the outside. Use the same vinegar mixture (1:10 vinegar to water) and spray the outside.
You’ll want to work more quickly since the outer surface is more exposed to sunlight, so the liquids will evaporate quicker. Rinse the window surface, then dry.
How to Clean Unreachable Windows
If you can’t reach a window – such as one that’s high up – try using a long-handled squeegee or sponge mop. Use one to saturate the surface with your cleaning solutions, then another to dry. Be careful and make sure to stretch in between so you don’t strain your shoulders!
Cleaning Window Tracks and Sills
Use an old toothbrush to loosen the dirt and dust from the window tracks, then use a window vac or crevice nozzle attachment to pick up all the debris. Finish with a clean cloth to wipe the last of the dirt.
For cleaning window sills, you can just use soapy water! This is especially useful for vinyl or wooden frames, which can be discoloured by vinegar cleaners. Dip a damp cloth in the soapy water and wipe down the sill, then dry with a dry cloth afterwards.
Tips for Cleaning Windows
No matter how tough the cleaning process is, do not use a razor or any kind of metal or plastic blade to scrape off stuck-on material or stubborn marks. This can permanently scratch and damage your windows.
You can use a rubber blade to remove stubborn dirt or other build-up.
Always use a lint-free cloth while cleaning. You can also use paper towels if a microfibre cloth isn’t available. Never use steel wool.
Channel your inner Karate Kid and wax on, wax off – meaning rub in circles or multiple directions! This will help minimise the streaking on windows and other glass surfaces.
And of course, rinse with clear water and wipe to remove any marks.
Now that you know how to clean windows, you can step back and admire your streak-free glass – and the view beyond. Just remember to clean again when the surface starts getting dirty!