Before you get started, Homer recommends fully committing to your window-cleaning project—and that means stepping outside, too. “Whenever possible, clean both the interior and exterior glass on the same day, so you can spot check your work more accurately,” she says. Of course, if you’re renting an apartment, it’s best to leave the outdoor cleaning for the rental association to take care of. But if you’re a proud home owner, go for it (but bring a friend for safety—you don’t want to ruin your weekend by falling off a ladder). And if you have newer windows that tilt inward, consider yourself lucky because the job just got easier.
Below, Homer walks you through her window cleaning routine, a step-by-step guide to getting the task done as effortlessly as possible, while pointing out the most common mistakes people make that leave their windows looking streaky.
The Tools You’ll Need To Clean Windows
“To clean glass windows beautifully, all you need is some quality microfiber towels designed for glass, a decent squeegee with a T-bar scrubber, and some dish soap. If you are deep cleaning neglected windows with hard water spots, you might also need a Magic Eraser and some Bar Keepers Friend, but only for that first restorative clean,” says Homer.
If your windows are caked with paint from a recent home improvement project, a plastic or metal razor blade will also be necessary to really get that squeaky clean look.
The Most Common Mistake With Window-Cleaning
If your windows just aren’t as clean as you’d like them to be, Homer says it’s probably because you don’t have the right tools.
“Wiping windows with linty cotton towels instead of microfiber, using balled up newspaper instead of a squeegee, and so on can turn a simple task into a long and frustrating job,” she says. “If you want to enjoy cleaning your windows instead of dreading it, just plan ahead and invest as little as $20 buying some quality microfiber towels designed for glass and a decent squeegee to make your work 1,000 times faster and more fun.” (That’s what we all want out of window washing, right?)
How To Clean Your Windows: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Prep the area
If your windows are near furniture, artwork, or other things you care about, make sure to move or cover them so they don’t get harmed in the cleaning of your windows.
2. Clean your window frames
Before you start on the glass itself, clean the window frames with all-purpose cleaner and a towel so that dirt won’t fall off the frames and dirty your windows while you’re trying to make them clear as new.
3. Soap your windows
Grab a bucket of water and add just a few drops of dish soap. Dampen your t-bar scrubber and wipe your windows in straight lines going from top to bottom.
4. Engage the Squeegee
Pull your squeegee in straight lines straight down the glass. At the end of each pull, wipe the squeegee with the towel and repeat the same strokes. Do this until the window looks clean.
5. Look for imperfections
Check your window for any smudges or streaks. If you find one, wipe it away with the glass towel.
6. Wipe away any excess water and reassemble the room
Remove any moisture on the window frames or windows before re-assembling your living room and removing any protective elements. Sing it with me, everyone: You can see clearly now, the streaks are gone!
Window-Cleaning Starter Pack
Stash your cloth towels for now and use these streak-free options instead.
Besides being fun to say, a squeegee is infinitely useful. You can use it to clean glass coffee tables, tile floors, or tile bathroom walls.
You’ll only need a few drops of this soap to transform your windows—and you can use the rest to wash your dishes.
Besides using these sponges to scrub your windows, you can also set them to work on the scuffs on your walls or remove soap scum from your shower.
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