Cleaning your windows is one of those tasks that feels almost insurmountable. It’s obvious when they need to be cleaned, but it’s also obviously going to be a lot of work. Still, you’d love to have a clear view out the window one of these days—especially since that’s primarily how you connect with the world in 2020.
So what is the best way to clean a window? Here are some techniques to enjoying sparkling clean windows.
Streaks are due to residue left behind
Streaky windows are the ultimate frustration of washing windows. As hard as you try, as much as you scrub, it’s all too easy to finish the job and see streaks marring all your hard work. This need not be the case. Streaks can be prevented with a little bit of practice and knowledge of why they form in the first place.
Streaky windows occur when residue from cleaning product is left behind. This can happen if the water evaporates too quickly, such as on a hot, sunny day, or if the water isn’t fully removed. The type of towel you use also makes a difference. Towels that aren’t very absorbent will just smear dirt and residue all over the window, while other towels can leave behind dust or lint.
Clean your windows on a cloudy, cool day
As previously mentioned, if water evaporates too quickly it will leave behind streaks. So this is one of those tasks you’ll want to reserve for a cloudy day, and one that isn’t too hot. You could also do the job in the morning or evening, when the sun isn’t too intense.
Collect your cleaning supplies
You’ll want to collect all of your cleaning supplies before you start. This includes a sponge or brush; a squeegee, which is a tool with a flat, thin rubber blade; an absorbent microfiber or lint-free cloth that will be used for drying; a clean cloth; a bucket filled with cleaning solution and a large towel to protect your inside floors.
Clean off dirt and dust first
Before you wash your windows, you will want to clean off the accumulated dust and dirt first; otherwise, you’ll just be smearing the dirt around. Vacuum and dust the inside windows, frames and corners. For outside windows, you’ll want to remove dirt and grime using a sponge and water mixed with a splash of dish detergent or vinegar.
A squeegee helps remove water quickly and well
I swear by squeegees. There’s a reason pro window washers favour these thin, blade-like tools. A squeegee is used to remove water quickly and precisely, which prevents streaking. That’s the advantage of a squeegee. The drawback is that using one makes it harder to not to drip water all over the place.
But that’s why it’s important not to use too much water when washing your windows and to put down some towels to protect your inside floors.
Make your cleaning solution
Two simple, easy options for cleaning solution include a few drops of dish detergent in a bucket of water or ten parts water mixed with one part white vinegar. You can also use a commercial window washing solution.
Apply cleaning solution with a sponge
The next step is to wash the windows with cleaning solution and a sponge. The sponge should not be sopping wet. A little bit is enough. If you are washing an indoor window, be sure a towel is lining the floor and be careful to avoid getting the window frames wet.
Use a squeegee to remove water
Take the squeegee, which should be damp (to keep the blade from skipping across the glass) but not sopping wet, and draw it across the top of the window, from left to right and top to bottom. It’s important that the blade be sharp (you know, as sharp as rubber can get), so be sure to have some replacement blades on hand, as they need to be changed periodically.
Next, wipe off excess moisture from the corners and frames with an absorbent microfiber cloth. Ta-da! You now have clean windows. Once the sun comes out again, be sure to spend a few minutes enjoying your achievement: Drink in the outside world through your sparkling clean windows.