The best way to clean windows for a streak-free finish

Here’s how to clean windows without leaving scratches and dust all over.

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There’s nothing like seeing the sun’s beautiful rays entering your home and brightening it up. This is why it’s essential to regularly clean your windows; it’s up to you to keep your home spick and span! 

Cleaning windows sounds like a simple chore. But if your best effort often results in leftover grime and dried-up soap streaks from left to right, this guide will teach you how to clean windows like a pro.

Cleaning different types of home windows 

Whether you plant clean balcony-style windows, picture windows, or window screens, cleaning them requires, for the most part, the same steps and cleaning products. But it’s still vital to check what kind of windows you have at home to prepare the right cleaning supplies. After all, windows aren’t just basic squares or rectangles made of glass; They come in different sizes, shapes, and materials. 

Window cleaning supplies

Cleaning products and tools on a window sill

Like any cleaning job at home, you’ll need a few things to get it done. Depending on how many windows you plan to clean in one day, make sure you have enough cleaning supplies. This way, you don’t reuse old ones and spread bacteria and grime on other windows.

  • Squeegee - A smooth, flat rubber-edged blade set on a metal handle that scrapes dirt off the glass

  • T-bar window washer - Similar in appearance to a squeegee, this one has a longer handle and cloth head (usually microfibre), so it absorbs the liquid on the window without completely removing it.

  • Soft-bristled brush - The gentle version of a bathroom scrubbing brush. This one can help break down dirt and grime without scratching the glass.

  • Buckets - These will catch dirty window grime, so you can properly get rid of them later.

  • Lint-free cloths or towels - This type of cloth prevents streak marks when you wipe down a window.

  • Rubber gloves - To protect your hands from drying cleaning solutions

  • Window cleaner or dishwashing liquid - Opt for streak-free window cleaners. If you can’t find one, mix 8 litres (2 gallons) of water with one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid to make a DIY window cleaning solution. 

  • A ladder - If the windows in your home are high, you’re going to need one

What is the best way to clean windows without streaking?

Pick a cloudy (not rainy) day. You might think a warm, sunny day is ideal for window cleaning, but it’s the opposite. The hot temps can lead to streaks since they can dry the cleaning solution faster and leave unwanted water marks. Therefore, cleaning on a cloudy day, especially in spring or fall, is the best way to clean outside windows, glass windows, or any other type of window.

How to clean windows from the inside and outside

If you always have to search for how to clean windows without streaking, we’ve got the answer for you in four easy steps!

1. Clean screens first

Cleaning window wire screen with a sponge

Cleaning window screens is easy, which is why it’s best if you finish them first before moving on to the glass. 

Here’s how to clean window screens: 

  • Remove the screens from their slots. 

  • Next, pressure-wash them with water before spraying them with a cleaning solution.

  • Once the screen is saturated in solution, run the hose or pressure washer over it and leave it out to dry before placing it back in the window slot.

2. Brush off the dust on the window and windowsill

Brushing off dust on windowsill

Using a soft-bristled brush, gently wipe down the dirt, dust, and grime on your windows. Make sure you’re going in one direction to avoid spreading it everywhere. 

You can hose it down if you’re cleaning your window from the outside. But if the grime is thick, use a long mop to dislodge the dirt.

Tip: After cleaning the dust off your windowsill, you can apply a layer of floor wax to prevent future dirt buildup.

3. Mist your window with your cleaning solution

Spraying glass detergent on window

If your window is small, apply enough solution to the whole area. But if the window is big, apply it in sections to avoid having the solution dry on the glass. 

Whether using a store-bought window cleaner, a professional window cleaning solution, or a DIY solution, you must not put too much, as the bubbles and water droplets can leave marks.

4. Wipe from top to bottom with a lint-free cloth or squeegee

Cleaning window indoors with squeegee

Once your window is wet with solution, wipe it clean in one direction—top to bottom. If you’re using a towel, make sure it’s lint-free or microfibre so it won’t leave mini shreds of lint. 

Cleaning your window from the outside? You can use a squeegee or T-bar window washer! If you opt for a squeegee, make sure you wipe it clean after every pass on your window.

Common window cleaning mistakes

If cleaning windows wasn’t your favourite thing to do before, it’s probably because you made one of these mistakes—don’t fall for these next time!

Choosing a sunny day to clean windows

As mentioned above, when cleaning windows, you want to avoid overly hot and sunny days because the temperatures can quickly dry your solution and water, leading to streaks.

Using old cotton rags to wipe windows

They can spread lint everywhere. Your best bet is always a lint-free cloth like a microfibre towel since it’s super absorbent, reusable, and leaves glass shine- and streak-free.

Cleaning ALL windows in one day

The world won’t end if you don’t clean all your windows in one day. You can do it one room at a time. If you live in a less-polluted neighbourhood, you can opt to clean your windows once or twice a year. But if you live in the city or near a major road, you might have to clean them regularly, say, once a month.

Using a squeegee for inside cleaning

A squeegee doesn’t absorb water, so where does it go when you wipe it down? On the floor. This is why squeegees are best for outside window cleaning. But if you insist on using one, make sure you have a bucket underneath it to catch whatever liquid it moves.

☞ Also read: How much does window cleaning cost?

Never worry about keeping windows clean

The best way to clean windows doesn’t require a complicated process; all it takes is a few cleaning supplies, the right weather, and some arm work. Need help with cleaning high windows or routine cleaning when you’re too busy to do it yourself? You can always hire a window cleaning service to do it for you!

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FAQs on window cleaning

It’s best to clean on days when the weather isn’t too hot or cold—or in the fall or spring. Very hot temperatures in the summer can make window cleaning harder since your cleaning solution could evaporate faster, leading to streaks or using up too much product. On the other hand, extremely cold temperatures in the winter can leave frost on your windows. When that happens, it’s best to let the frost melt before cleaning it off to prevent breaking your windows. 

A general rule is once or twice a year, but you may have to clean it more if you live in an area with a lot of dust or pollution.

Yes. Ever wonder how to clean windows with vinegar? This ingredient has an acidic nature, making it the perfect tool to break down hard-to-remove grime and chemical film (an effect of many store-bought window cleaners) from your windows. 

Cleaning windows with vinegar is easy! To make your own DIY window cleaning solution, mix 1 part white vinegar with 1 part distilled water. If you’re planning to clean extremely dirty windows, combine two cups of water, ¼ cup of white vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

Yes, newspapers were preferred for cleaning windows without leaving streaks. But it’s not always the best or most efficient way. Some newspaper inks can leave behind black smudges that are hard to clean. A squeegee or microfibre cloth is a better investment for your cleaning needs, given that many households don’t get newspaper subscriptions anymore. Microfibre cloths are great for cleaning windows, as they are highly absorbent and gentle on surfaces. 

Professionals use basic window cleaning tools, such as a squeegee, sponge, dish soap, and lint-free cloths. You can make a DIY solution out of 8 litres (2 gallons) of water with 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid or detergent to clean windows.

Of course! A magnetic window cleaner is a plastic tool with two magnetic parts that stick together from both sides to make cleaning windows inside or outside your home easy. The size you’ll need depends on your type of window.

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