Window Cleaning Tips to Brighten Your Life

Easy tips to clean your windows with supplies you already own without having to hire a window cleaner.

By Patrice Frantz

 

The experts say windows should be cleaned twice a year. But unlike Christmas and the Fourth of July, it's not something that's anticipated with great glee. And if you’re not one of those lucky folks who can hire it out, it can be an unwelcome chore. 

 

But like many unpleasant tasks, having a plan and the right equipment can make cleaning your windows not so daunting a task.

 

The Right Equipment

  • A broom
  • A vacuum

 

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  • A garden hose
  • Vinegar

 

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  • A cleaning brush
  • A bucket

 

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  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A high-quality squeegee

 

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  • A sponge or a strip applicator with a cloth head
  • A chamois or other microfiber cloth

 

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  • A lint-free cloth
  • Newspaper
  • A ladder with a stabilizer

 

Procedure

The first step is to clear excess debris that collected on the window by using the broom to brush away things like webs and dust. If necessary, spray outside windows with the garden hose to eliminate loose crud. Inside, be sure to vacuum window sills and crevices before starting the washing process.  

 

Next, pre-treat any tough spots with a dose of vinegar. Pour undiluted vinegar onto hard-to-remove substances and let it soak in. The acidity in vinegar makes it an excellent cleaning product and is especially good at breaking down residue from stickers. Once loosened, the residue should come off in the washing process or with the help of a brush, although stubborn stickers may have to be removed with a razor.

 

If you choose to use dishwashing liquid over vinegar, it's important to not overdo it. It only takes 1 teaspoon of dish liquid to 2 gallons of water for a solution strong enough to clean your glass. If you prefer using vinegar, just use equal parts vinegar and water.

 

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Next, don't forget about screens. A clean and shiny window will not hide a dusty dirty screen. Remove screens and spray them well with a garden hose. Then, using a cloth or sponge, wipe them down with your window-cleaning solution, rinse, and let them dry.

 

Now for the windows. This method works inside or out. When working inside, however, have a rag or towel handy to avoid damaging wood or other surfaces with cleaning solution or water. Dip either a sponge or strip applicator into a bucket of cleaning solution and wring out the excess. Use this to give the window a good scrubbing, covering the entire glass surface. Natural sponges are preferred over synthetic sponges because natural sponges are less likely to scratch surfaces. 

 

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Work the squeegee across the glass, pushing the dirty water and suds to the uncleaned area. You can do this in a horizontal or vertical direction, depending on your preference or the size of the window. Some use an S-shape motion for picture windows. Clean the blade of the squeegee with a lint-free cloth often for best results. Having a good quality squeegee with a sharp rubber blade is imperative for great results. They come in various sizes depending on your needs (i.e. picture window versus pane windows.)  

 

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Run a clean lint-free cloth around the edges of the window pane to eliminate any remaining cleaning liquid. Then use a slightly damp chamois or microfiber cloth to absorb and dry away any residual on the glass. It's best to do one window at a time. Complete the process in full before moving on to the next window. If you're using a ladder, be sure to use a stabilizer for safety.

 

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For a finishing touch that will make your windows gleam, go over your newly-cleaned window with a crumbled piece of newspaper. This buffing will be the crowning glory on a job well done.