Indoors or outdoors, window cleaning is literally and figuratively “a chore”! But we’ve got a bunch of great tips for cleaning your windows both indoors and for that twice-a-year outdoor window cleaning you’re probably not looking forward to.
A Few General Window Cleaning Tips
- Believe it or not, cleaning your windows on a sunny day can leave streaks. Try cleaning when it’s cloudy instead.
- Don’t forget the window screens when you wash your windows. Keeping your screens clean and well-maintained will help you in the long run.
From the inside, you can use the vacuum with a brush attachment to clean dust and debris. Rips and tears will only get worse, so take care of them quickly. You can purchase window screen kits to repair them yourself, or you can take them to the shop.
Once or twice annually you will remove the screens and wash with a soapy solution, hose down, and replace after they’ve dried. Also, as you pull them from the windows, keep them organized so you know which exact window to return them to.
- A fun and handy window cleaning trick is to use condensed bottles of air to blow out debris from crevices, corners, and window tracks. You can get them at most stores, including office supply shops because they’re often used for computer keyboard cleaning. Just be ready for the debris to fly in every direction! You can also try suctioning debris with your vacuum hose first.
Now, grab your choice of cleansers, microfiber cloths, a trusty squeegee, hose, and some elbow grease, and let’s get started.
Indoor Window Cleaning Tips
- Start with the window frames, window sills, and tracks first. You’ll be cleaning away spider webs and dead bugs, debris of unknown origins, and dust before going to the glass so that you don’t inadvertently track this grime back onto your glass while wiping.
Spray these areas with your glass cleaner, general purpose cleaner, dish soap and water solution, or vinegar/water solution, wipe with a cloth, and dry with another.
- Check the clean frames and sills for black mold spots caused by condensation and leaks. If you find mold, you’ll want to find ways to remedy that immediately with better ventilation and humidity control appliances.
Also to note, if you find mold on your windows, you’ll need to check the window treatments thoroughly. If you find mold, they will need to be scrubbed clean, and if cloth, they will need to be replaced. Do not take black mold lightly, your health depends on it.
- Wet the window with your solution of choice. By now you have your favorite glass cleaner in mind, but just in case, you don’t always need to use a store-bought brand. You can use white vinegar diluted with water in a spray bottle, or a few drops of dishwashing liquid like Dawn in warm water works wonders.
For the interior windows, you might shy from using a bucket and only use a spray bottle. You can purchase those nearly everywhere cleaning products are sold.
On the interior, you may decide not to use a squeegee and instead use a cloth or wadded up newspaper to better control the dripping. Have a clean, dry towel handy for drips either way.
You’ll use a lint-free cloth, a squeegee, or newspaper to work the solution around the glass, then buff dry with another cloth. Check for streaks!
Outdoor Window Cleaning Tips
- If you’re the lucky one, you have tilt in windows for easy cleaning. We are jealous!
Otherwise, please be safe! If you will be using a ladder, you should have a spotter next to you at all times to stabilize the ladder. At the very least, let someone know in advance that you will be cleaning and plan to call them by a certain time to let them know you’re off the ladder and safe. That way, if you miss your call-in time, they will know you need to be checked on.
If you won’t be able to use a ladder, try a telescoping or long-handled squeegee. This may be a bit back-breaking or neck-twisting, and it takes a lot of time since you have to wipe the squeegee blade with a cloth after each pull, but luckily exterior window cleaning is typically done only once or twice a year!
- Start with the window frame area first, and always start on the highest windows and work your way down to ground level.
You might decide to use the jet setting on your garden hose before tackling the remaining grime by hand. Either way, you’ll be cleaning away debris, spider webs, dead bugs, and dirt before going to the glass so that you don’t inadvertently track this grime back onto your glass while wiping.
Whether you have used the hose first or not, you’ll be spraying these outside areas with your general purpose cleaner, dish soap and water solution, glass cleaner, or vinegar/water solution, wiping with a cloth, and drying with another.
- Wet the window with your solution of choice, either with a spray bottle or a cloth from a bucket. As mentioned above, you probably have a favorite store-bought glass cleaner already, but it’s worth trying other things to see what you like as well. You can use white vinegar diluted with water in a spray bottle or bucket, or a few drops of dishwashing liquid like Dawn in warm water works wonders.
- It’s so easy to use a squeegee on exterior windows, then continue to use a cloth or wadded up newspaper to get into the corners and tight spots that the squeegee misses. Buff those windows dry with another cloth (lint free, of course!) and check for streaks! Nothing is worse than finishing the job, putting the ladder away, and noticing streaks. You’ll either put up with streaks for another six months or have to get back on the ladder.