How to Clean Your Windows

Glass Panel Door InstallationWindows get dirty, especially the outsides. It’s fairly easy to clean the interiors but the exteriors can be a bit trickier. Ideally, you want to clean them thoroughly at least twice per year, both inside and out. Homeowners tend to dread this task largely because most use paper towels or newspaper with spray cleaner to do the job and it takes far more effort and a lot of time.

Many people are surprised to learn that using paper towels or newspaper is not the best way to get your windows clean. Generally, you’re just moving the dirt around – pushing it from one side to the other and jamming it into the corners. You also end up putting a static charge on the glass, which attracts more dirt and dust. After all that effort, your windows will look dirty again in just a few short weeks.

Instead, use the same tools that the pros do: a squeegee. They’re easy to use and will make your windows gleam. Here are a few methods for different types of windows that will completely alter your living space and make window cleaning a breeze.

You need larger tools for larger windows styles like picture & bay. Using a strip applicator soaked in soapy water will remove dirt without scratching the glass. You don’t need to buy a fancy expensive cleaning solution, either. Simply use a bit of dishwashing liquid in a bucket of clean, warm water. You don’t want suds because that will leave a film on the window.

Once you have soaped up the window, start at the top left of your window and pull your squeegee in a reverse S pattern – if you’re left handed, start at the top right. After each stroke, wipe the squeegee blade with a clean rag. Soak up any remaining water (it sometime collects in the corners and edges) with a dry chamois and wipe the windowsill with a clean rag.

For windows with divided panes you will need a squeegee that fits within the divisions. If you can’t find the right size you can cut a squeegee to fit.

Use a sponge for multi-pane windows. Natural sponges work best because they are firmer and more absorbent than synthetics. Using the same solution (dish soap in warm water), rub it into each pane making sure to get into the corners to loosen the dirt. Pull your squeegee down each pane using a single stroke. Wipe the blade after each stroke so you don’t get streaks. Dry the corners with your chamois and a clean rag for the sill.

If you have hard water or other mineral stains on your glass – this will happen over time from rain and runoff from building materials – you will need a little more to get it clean. Use fine steel wool and water to pre-clean the windows. This will rub away the stains so you can continue with the cleaning methods outlined above. This will leave your windows very clean and crystal clear.