Dirty windows are an eyesore to any home. They can also lead to problems with energy efficiency. One way to keep your windows clean is to use the services of cleaning Pros. But you can also handle cleaning windows yourself if you have the right tools and cleaning products.
If you’re ready for some cleaning windows DIY, check out our Pro tips to learn how to properly clean and maintain your windows and window screens!
Cleaning windows supplies
Before you start, you’ll need the following supplies. These are the right tools and cleaning solutions for every job.
WHAT ARE YOU CLEANING
House windows (indoor)
House windows (outdoor)
Car windows (outside)
Car windows (inside)
How to clean windows without streaks
One of the most common complaints about a home’s windows is that they are streaky and dirty. If you want to make sure your windows are clean and clear, follow these steps to learn how to clean windows from the inside.
First, what causes streaks on windows? It’s usually your cleaner. Anything that leaves a film behind on the window can make it streaky. How fast your cleaning solution evaporates can also lead to streaky windows. If you’re cleaning windows on a hot day, the liquid can evaporate very quickly. This leads to uneven wet and dry sections, which causes streaks.
To avoid streaks when you’re cleaning windows, follow these Pro tips. And when cleaning windows indoors, don’t forget to put down some old towels to catch any water drips and prevent damage to your walls or window sills.
Step 1: Use ammonia or alcohol-based cleaners. These cleaning solutions don’t leave a film on your glass that causes streaks. A solution of white vinegar and water (see below) is also a good choice, as is soap and water.
Step 2: If your window is dusty or dirty, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove excess first. This reduces the chances of leaving any streaks behind.
Step 3: Wash the window from the top down using your cleaning solution. Be generous with your solution to avoid it from evaporating too fast and causing streaks.
Step 4: Treat difficult marks with a little rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth. Don’t use a razor to remove stubborn marks, as it could scratch the glass.
Step 5: Use a squeegee to remove all the cleaning liquid. Alternatively, use a clean, lint-free cloth. You can buff away any remaining water with newspaper. Newspaper makes a great cleaner because it’s lint-free and very absorbent.
Pro Tip: Not all newspaper is created equal. While most newspapers use soy-based ink that doesn’t run, some use petroleum-based ink. This kind of ink could leave smears or stains behind. To test your newspaper, hold a page with heavy printing (like a headline) for a minute. If it stains your fingers, don’t use it on your windows.
It’s not just windows that have glass surfaces. Learn how to clean your electronic devices the right way with more of our Pro tips!
How to clean windows with vinegar
White vinegar is an amazing all-purpose cleaner that won’t leave your windows streaky. Our cleaning Pros love it! Vinegar is cheap, safe and easy to use, and non-toxic to the environment. It’s every cleaning Pro’s secret weapon against dirt.
To clean your windows with vinegar, make a 50/50 mix of hot water and white vinegar. Use a bucket or bowl and apply your cleaning solution using a sponge or microfiber cloth. Then follow the tips above for cleaning your windows.
If you prefer to use a spray bottle to apply your solution, it needs to be weaker. The mild acid in vinegar can damage the mechanism of the spray bottle over time. To keep your equipment working for longer, make a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts hot water. Once you’ve finished cleaning, flush your spray bottle with clean water to remove as much vinegar as you can. This will reduce the damage to the spray mechanism.
How to clean window screens
There are several ways to clean window screens, depending on how accessible they are, and the equipment you have available. Cleaning window screens can be as simple as running a lint roller over them to remove any dirt and debris. You can also use the hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner if there’s more buildup on your screens.
To most effectively clean your window screens, follow these steps.
Step 1: Remove window screens from windows.
Step 2: Use a vacuum cleaner hose attachment to remove most of the dirt and debris from the screens. Don’t forget to flip the screens and clean both sides.
Step 3: Make a solution of hot, soapy water and immerse the screens if you have room. Let them soak for 10-15 minutes to loosen dirt and stains.
Step 4: If you can’t soak the screens, just use a large sponge to wash both sides of the screen.
Step 5: Use a microfiber cloth and fresh water to clean the soap off the screens. You can also use a garden hose to rinse your screens. Just keep the water pressure low to prevent pulling the screen out of the frame.
Step 6: Use newspaper or an old towel to dry the screens before reinstalling.
If you need to clean screens on upper floors without removing them, use a hose or invest in an extending brush.
Keep cleaning! Learn how to clean your window blinds and shades with our Pro guide.
How to clean windows outside
It’s not just indoors that dust and dirt can collect on your windows. From rain streaks to mold and pollution grime, your windows attract a lot of dirt. The best time to clean windows outside is when you’re also cleaning the window screens. This gives you a chance to complete two jobs at the same time!
Like with indoor windows, you’ll get the best results if you remove any dust and dirt before cleaning. Use a clean microfiber cloth to wipe down the glass. You can use a mop with a telescopic handle to reach the top of large windows without a ladder. Remember if you use a ladder, don’t lean too far to the side, as you’ll upset your balance. Always climb down and move the ladder.
Once the window is free from dust, use the vinegar solution above or hot, soapy water to clean the window. Use a large sponge or lint-free cloth to apply your cleaning solution generously to the glass. Then clean in a circular motion from the top down.
Use a squeegee to remove the cleaner, or hose the window off with fresh water. For best results, dry the window with a microfiber cloth or squeegee to prevent streaks from forming.
How to clean windows in a car
Your car windows can also get dirty over time. The easiest way to clean the exterior is through a car wash or by following the above steps for cleaning exterior house windows. But how do you clean the inside of your car windows?
- First, use a microfiber cloth to remove dust, smudges, and fingerprints
- Next, make a mixture of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle using the recipe above
- Spray the solution onto the cloth until it’s just damp, not wet
- Use the cloth to clean the windows with circular motions
- Buff the glass until dry with newspaper or a clean microfiber cloth
Pro Tip: Fumes from cleaning solutions can quickly build up inside a closed vehicle, so avoid any commercial window cleaning products that contain bleach or ammonia.
It’s not just your car windows that attract smudges and fingerprints. Check out our complete guide to cleaning high-touch surfaces now!
Tips for cleaning windows with a squeegee
Squeegees are great tools for cleaning windows. They make it easier to reach every part of a window quickly, and the blade will remove all the dirt and water without damaging your window glass. There’s a reason the Pros use them! However there is a trick to using squeegees right, so follow our Pro tips to learn more.
- The simplest way to use a squeegee is in straight lines. Start at the top of the window and pull the squeegee straight down to the bottom. Repeat to cover the whole window, making sure the lines slightly overlap so you remove all the soap and water.
- Cleaning Pros use a fanning method. This reduces the risk of lines or streaks between each cleaning stroke. Start at the top, and keep the squeegee in contact with the glass at all times as you move from side to side down toward the bottom. It might take some practice to get this method right!
- Always ensure your squeegee blade is clean and straight. If the rubber feels wavy, it’s time to change the blade. Each blade is good for 4-6 hours of use.
- Fit new blades so the rubber extends beyond the metal edge of the squeegee. This prevents any damage to the window frame.
- Don’t press the squeegee hard against the glass. Use light pressure. It should glide effortlessly.
- Squeegees make great cleaning tools in all kinds of situations. Try them on your shower doors, tile walls, glass-top stove, and mirrors!