What You Need to Do (And Not Do) When Cleaning Windows

woman cleaning window seen from inside wet glass

Cleaning your windows may seem fairly straightforward at first. After all, you just need to wipe them down using window cleaner – right?

Unfortunately it really isn’t as easy as that. In fact you will probably find that your first few attempts aren’t very good, and you may even end up with a window that looks worse than it did before you cleaned it.

If you want to avoid the frustration of having to repeatedly clean your windows until you get it right, there are a few things that you need to do (and not do) while you’re cleaning them.

Work From the Top to Bottom

The best way to clean your windows is to start at the top and then work your way down. People often make the mistake of cleaning from left to right or from the middle-out, and you should make sure you don’t do the same.

If you clean from top to bottom, the drips won’t flow through any part of the window that you’ve already cleaned, and cause streaks to appear or force you to clean them again. In other words it will save you from quite a bit of work, and keep your windows cleaner.

Do Not Clean Windows on Hot and Sunny Days

Hot and sunny days may sound like the perfect time to clean your windows – but they are actually not. In fact you should try to avoid cleaning your windows during that type of weather.

On hot and sunny days, your windows will probably dry prematurely. In some cases there may still be window cleaner on them that dries up too – leaving streaks on the window.

It would be best if you can wait for a cloudy and overcast day before you clean your windows. Or if that isn’t possible you may want to work on windows that are in the shade, and wait for the sun to be less intense.

Get Rid of Dirt and Dust Beforehand

Most of your windows probably have a bit of dust on them, and possibly even some dirt stuck in various places. Before you start to clean your windows with window cleaner, you should first get rid of as much of the dirt and dust as possible.

Depending on the type of windows as well as the amount of dirt and dust, you may want to vacuum them, use a duster, or even brush them down with soap.

The more dirt and dust you can remove, the easier it will be to clean your windows. If there is too much dirt and dust on the window and you apply window cleaner directly, it could turn into a mess.

Use the Right Window Cleaner

To be perfectly honest when it comes to window cleaner, you don’t need a special solution or glass cleaner. Instead your focus should be on finding a cleaning solution that is non-abrasive, so that it doesn’t damage the glass or window frame.

Additionally it may be easier if you avoid window cleaner that is too soapy and produces lots of suds. The soapier the cleaner is, the more likely it will be to leave behind streaks.

One other alternative that you could try is to make your own homemade window cleaner. All that you really need to do is mix one part vinegar with one part water – and put it in a spray bottle to make it easy to apply.

Use Microfiber Cloth

As a rule your best bet to wipe down and clean windows is microfiber cloth. They are washable, highly absorbent, and won’t leave behind any streaks or lint on your windows – which makes them much better than paper towels.

If you want you could try using newspapers as an alternative – but that may not always work. It really depends on the type of paper that is used, as well as the ink.

Use a Squeegee

The most useful piece of equipment when you’re cleaning windows is a squeegee. It may take a bit of time for you to perfect your technique, but once you do it will be an easy way to polish off windows perfectly while leaving behind no streaks.

Be sure to keep a close eye on the condition of your squeegee however, and replace its rubber blades if there is any wear and tear. It would be best if you keep some spares handy at all times – just in case you need them.

Do Not Forget the Corners

While you’re cleaning your windows you should not forget about the corners. A lot of dirt and dust often gets trapped in the window corners, and as time goes by it may get stuck in.

One of the best ways to clean the corners of your windows is by using a cotton swab. If you want you can dip it in window cleaner, and use it to scrub the corners of your windows.

Get a Pole If You Need One

If your house has any windows that are high up, you should definitely invest in a window cleaning pole system. It doesn’t have to be anything too advanced, but should be enough that you’re able to reach and clean your upper windows without having to use a ladder.

Using a pole to clean windows can be a bit tricky, and it will take some practice. However it will still be much faster than if you tried to use a ladder.

Final Words

Now that you know most of the things that you need to do (and not do) when you’re cleaning your windows – you should be all set. Initially you may have difficulty remembering everything, but the more you practice and clean your windows – the more of a habit it will become.

At the end of the day your goal should be to be able to clean your windows quickly and effectively – without having to worry about streaks. Everything that you just learned should help you to accomplish that in the not too distant future.

The following video from Anders Fishing has all you need to know about cleaning windows like a pro!


14 Questions and Answers to Read Before Cleaning Your Windows

Having clean windows all the time is a challenging task, especially if you have a big household. You may very well do it on your own, or hire a professional cleaning company for keeping your windows nice and clear 24/7.

No matter your decision, some basic FAQs will help you clear the issue of clean windows. Asking the right questions and getting the answers will guide you through the cleaning windows process, no matter if you’re doing it or not.

1. Should you clean the windows or hire a professional instead?

Truth be told, it’s not very difficult to clean the windows on your own. However, regular professional cleaning will reduce the risk for your windows to become pitted or etched over time. Professionals will not leave any residues or streaks behind, and they identify a faulty window miles away.

When you go with the professional cleaning, you’re going to save a lot of time. Just make sure you check your wallet before hiring them, nevertheless.

2. Does professional window cleaning service clean better than your housemaid?

No matter how hardworking your housemaid may be, the answer will be “yes” nine times out of ten. It’s common for housemaids and regular people to use paper towels or Windex, which aren’t very efficient for cleaning. The cleaning involves a lot of rubbing the dirt around, which leads to a static charge. The latter only attracts more dirt and can even scratch the glass.

A professional window cleaning service will use professional tools and biodegradable products that leave a beautiful finish. But it doesn’t mean that you cannot buy the professional tools and products and try it on your own, though.

3. Do you have to clean the windows both inside and outside?

In order to have the most sparkling windows, you should clean the windows inside and outside simultaneously. A smudge or a smear on the interior can ruin the whole cleaning.

4. Does professional cleaning service come with supplies and equipment?

When you’re hiring a professional cleaning service, you don’t need to worry about providing them the equipment or supplies. They should come with their equipment (ladder included). They come with everything they need for power washing, window washing, gutter cleaning, and more.

5. Which products are the best for cleaning windows?

The market provides various and numerous products for cleaning. Should you also care for the environment, and you may look for environmentally friendly and biodegradable products. They’re not aggressive and manage to be just as efficient as the chemical alternatives.

6. Is it possible to choose which windows to clean?

When you’re going with professional service, you may choose the cleaning plan that works for your needs and budget the best way. A reputed company is going to provide you several options so you can decide which one works the best for you.

It’s possible to have only the exterior of the windows cleaned, or both the interior and the exterior. Solarium/sunroom window cleaning and storm cleaning are also amongst the many options.

7. How much time does it take when cleaning the windows?

Sadly, nobody can tell for sure how much time it takes as as it depends a lot on the number of windows, the size, and the layout of your home. It also depends on your cleaning skills, if you decide to do it on your own.

Most of the time, it can last from one to several hours for cleaning the windows. If you’re hiring the professionals, they will send out a team with several technicians for cleaning.

One factor is essential, too, when cleaning the windows- the weather. Should the weather worsen (heavy rain, for instance), only the cleaning of the interior is going to be possible. You/the professional team will need to clean the exterior another time.

8. Do the windows remain clean if it rains right after cleaning?

It’s not ideal, but it can happen. When you hire professional service, your windows should remain spotless for a couple of days after cleaning, even if it rains. It’s dirt that ruins the cleaning, but the main. As the dust from tree pollen, landscapes, exhaust collects on the windows, raindrops will move the dirt on the surface of the windows. Once the rain dries, you’re going to be able to spot the dirt.

Long story short, the windows should stay clean even after a rainy day, as pure rainwater dries clean, leaving no dirt behind.

9. Does it make any sense to clean the windows in the rain?

Back in the day, you wouldn’t have cleaned the windows in the rain as you wouldn’t be able to get a beautiful finish. There is also the risk of the slippery ladder when cleaning the windows on a rainy day.

Air pollution is much lower, and professional cleaning service uses professional methods for cleaning. They don’t even need to use ladders, so there is no risk of slippering off the ladder.

10. What’s the story with water-fed pole technology?

If you use pure water, the impurities on the glass are going to be kept in the water, with water trying to get back to the impure state. The water fed poles give the windows a final rinse, leaving the glass entirely sterile.

Minerals from tap water (magnesium and calcium mostly) will lead to white residue on the glass after cleaning. When you remove the dissolved chemicals and minerals in tap water, you get pure water, which will soak in particles from any surface.

You no longer need detergents, the cleaning goes faster, and you protect the environment too. You brush the water on, continue with rinsing it off and enjoy the results. Once the window is dry, it remains clean and without any residue.

11. How often do windows require cleaning?

Throughout a year, windows can get filthy. The minerals and dirt from the rain will collect on the window surface and buildup in time. Organic materials will give stains to your windows (wind dust, insect residue, and so on).

But it’s also the windows inside that can get dirty differently. For example, the windows in the kitchen and the living room are the dirtiest as the humidity is high. It’s one of the many reasons for which cleaning the windows once a year is necessary.

When you’re remodeling your house or do some work, it’s also advisable that you clean the windows. Dirt can include dangerous pollutants that will alter the health of everyone in the house.

12. Is it possible to get rid of the fog from the windows?

In the case of foggy windows, there aren’t many things that can be done. The double-pane thermal windows typically present this kind of issue. It’s because, after some time, the seal keeping the gas between the panes eventually breaks.

As the gas escapes, the moisture will install, leading to the foggy windows. You may request for replacing the windows if the warranty is still valid. If not, you will need to purchase new windows.

13. How should you prepare if you’re calling in the professionals?

When you decide to hire a professional cleaning service, you may want to ease out their job as much as possible. Make sure that you move the pieces of furniture in front of the windows. Try to put aside the small decorative items near the window sill. Not only that, you help the professionals do a better job, but you’re also protecting the items.

14. Is it possible to clean windows from hard water?

It’s a situation where the professionals will do a better job than you. However, it’s going to cost you more as the cleaning process takes a longer time.


About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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