You asked. We answered.
One of the most popular questions we are asked is how to properly clean windows. We love getting this question because, like any proper cleaning freak, we have a well-prepared answer.
And we understand why you’re asking. There’s little more annoying than cleaning your windows only to discover more streaks when you step back. As if your mission was to make them look worse than they started!
If you find yourself in this boat, ignore your instinct to give up completely and rewatch an old episode of Friends. Getting your windows sparkly clean merely requires a little trickery. And no, outsmarting your dirty window doesn’t require you to think like your window. There’s a better way. Actually, there are five better ways, and here they are.
Microfiber towels are to windows what tigers are to the wild. That is to say, they are aggressive, smart, and they will outlast almost anything. So put down those paper products (napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, newspapers, begone!) which only leave behind trails of lint, and in some cases, actually scratch the surface of your windows. (Don’t even get us started on newspapers, which leaves behind a gross, inky coating.)
When you clean your windows, you’re going to want to use a microfiber towel, which is made up of a super soft, synthetic material that never scratches. The ultimate moisture absorber, microfiber towels make sure streaks are a thing of your past.
Okay, you guys. We’ve geeked out on cleaning windows long enough to know that the direction in which you wipe is critically important. As you know, every window has two sides: an interior and an exterior. To eliminate streaks, or at the very least, to know which side they’re on, you should change the direction of your wipe on each side.
For example, wipe left to right when you’re cleaning the inside of your window and wipe up to down when you’re cleaning the outside. You’ll be able to easily and quickly isolate where the streak is coming from this way, cutting down the time you wipe, step back, wipe, step back, and so on.
Someone smart somewhere once said that you’re only as effective as the tools you use. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why when we once observed a professional window cleaner hanging perilously outside our office window using a squeegee, we couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it before. Why not use the same professional tools at home? Now, we subscribe to the good ole squeegee technique whenever we’re cleaning. Pro tip: if you do decide to squeegee, make sure to turn it sideways so that any water dripping will go down and not across your tool.
All cleaners inside your spray bottle are not equal. We highly recommend making a solution of your own, using ingredients you likely already have stashed away in your kitchen. When it’s our glass on the line, we mix up a concoction of warm water and highly concentrated dish soap like Dawn. That’s ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 2 cups of water to dilute the mixture. Use this soap and water mixture to pretreat your dirty windows to eliminate grime. Then rinse off any soapy residue with regular water.
To disinfect your windows and leave your glass panes streak free, mix ¼ cup vinegar with 2 cups of water to finish the windows. (Pro tip: Dropping in 10 to 15 drops of essential oil is optional but can be a great way to spruce up the scent of your DIY cleaning solution.) After shaking the mixture thoroughly, spritz it on your glass and get ready for cleaning magic.
Don’t go all rogue now and start cleaning your windows during a time of day when it’s impossible to get the job done right. Wait for a dry, cloudy day so that you can clearly see any dog nose prints, city grime, bug splatters, or bird droppings. This will definitely avoid that sink in your gut feeling when you clean all the windows only to see the next day that you’ve completely missed spots, or worse, made them more streaky. If this hasn’t convinced you, cleaning your windows on a sunny day will simply dry the cleaning solution on the window before you’ve had a chance to wipe it down, creating the dreaded water droplet effect. No thank you.
There’s a lot to be said for perfectly clean windows. They bring a polished, clean look to your entire house and allow you to take full advantage of whatever views inspire you most. Follow these handy tips to get the best results and should you desire to, let us know how it goes.
All done cleaning the windows in your home and you’re just jonsing to do some more? Extra credit: Go clean your car windows! And if you’re still seeking out the sweet satisfaction of slaying streaks after that, tackle your mirrors and shower doors. Clean all the glass!!