If you have smudge-prone windows, it’s time to try out these pro-level window cleaning tips. Streak-free windows will allow more natural light into your home and keep your houseplants happy.
A squeegee is your best weapon against unsightly streaks. Use a long-handled squeegee like the Ettore squeegee (our top pick in our guide to the best window squeegees) and keep it clean between uses.
1. Use a Squeegee
A squeegee is one of the best tools for getting crystal-clear windows without any streaks. However, if you don’t use it correctly, you could end up with muddy smears rather than a clean finish. To help avoid this, make sure that you’re using a high-quality squeegee and that it’s fitted with a fresh rubber blade. The blade should also be wiped frequently to remove any dirt and dust build-up.
Before attempting to use the squeegee, make sure that you have thoroughly wet the window with your cleaning solution. You’ll want to apply enough solution so that there are no smears or patches of dirt left behind. Then, once you’ve wet the window, start by running the squeegee across it in a horizontal strip at the top of the window. Repeat this step on the other side of the glass and then once again in a horizontal strip down the middle of the window.
As you’re squeegeing, be sure to wipe the blade of the squeegee periodically with a dry cloth to prevent it from smearing the dirt on the window instead of removing it. You should also make sure that you’re keeping the squeegee at the correct angle to avoid any drips or smudges.
Streaks and smudges are the bane of every window cleaner’s existence, but they’re easily avoided with the right technique. Try the following tips for perfect, streak-free results:
When you’re washing windows, always be sure to use a clean microfibre cloth or lint-free rag. Paper towels can shred and leave lint, while old rags can cause scratches on the window panes. In addition, rags can leave behind muddy water streaks from dirty cleaning solutions soaking through the cloth and onto the glass surface.
You should also only use mild detergents or household cleaners, and not harsh chemicals. These can damage the protective coating on your windows and cause them to yellow over time. If you do have to use a commercial product, always make sure that it’s designed for windows and that the label states that it’s safe to use on them.
2. Clean the Frame First
When it comes to cleaning windows, it’s often the frames and tracks that get neglected. However, if these aren’t cleaned first, they can drip dirty water onto clean windows and cause streaks.
Start by sweeping the tracks and frames with a brush or vacuum cleaner attachment to remove loose dirt. A toothbrush can be used to scrub any stubborn grime, and a cloth can be used to wipe the rest. If there is any dirt remaining, use a wood-cleaning product for wooden frames or specialist cleaner for uPVC ones.
Next, spray a glass cleaner or plain vinegar on the windows. When spraying, aim for the center of the window to avoid getting any solution on the edges or non-glass surfaces. Then, using a lint-free cloth (microfiber is best), wipe the entire surface to remove any stubborn stains or grit. Be sure to rinse your cloth regularly so it doesn’t become too dirty.
Finally, squeegee the window. Remember to work from the top down to prevent any drips, and always use a high-quality squeegee for a flawless finish. When drying, use a dry lint-free towel such as a microfiber cloth or a chamois leather to avoid any smudges or streaks.
There are loads of gadgets out there that claim to make window cleaning easier, but it’s possible to achieve great results without them. For example, cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch swears by the Vileda Windomatic (available on Amazon), which acts like a super-charged squidgee to leave windows sparklingly clean and streak free.
You can also try a few other smart window cleaning hacks to speed up the process or help you tackle difficult-to-reach spots, like the tops of stairwell windows. For example, many people find that a cotton swab is the perfect size to reach into the corners of windows or narrow gaps between doors and frames. And a simple trick for avoiding streaks is to vary the direction in which you wipe the windows – rub in circular motions, then switch to horizontal and vertical swipes. You can even buff the finished windows with a clean chalkboard eraser to remove any last marks or smudges.
3. Use Micro-Fibre Cloths
In addition to being more environmentally friendly than paper towels and old rags, microfiber cloths are also lint-free, which will help you keep your windows streak-free. You can find them at most hardware and janitorial supply stores. When you use them, make sure to launder them with a liquid fabric softener and not an alcohol-based one. Otherwise, they may lose their absorbency and become prone to streaking.
A microfiber cleaning cloth can make the difference between a sparkling clean window and a muddy mess. It can pick up dirt and dust particles that other cloths might miss, which will result in a more thorough cleaning. It can even be used as a drying towel, which will prevent water spots and streaks from forming on the window. To keep your cloths lint-free, wring them out as much as possible before you use them.
To avoid getting streaks on your windows, dry them with a microfiber cloth immediately after washing. You can also spritz your windows with cleaner just before wiping them, as this will help to dissolve any dirt that might be trapped on the glass. When wiping the windows, be sure to do each side of the window differently. For example, if you’re washing an inside-outside window, wipe one side horizontally and the other vertically. This way, if you notice any streaks forming, you’ll know whether they’re on the inside or outside of the window.
If you have a hard-to-reach window, try using a cleaning sponge that attaches to the end of a telescoping pole. This will allow you to reach high windows without having to teeter on a ladder. Remember to use a light touch and avoid excessive pressure. Excessive pressure can scratch the surface of the window and leave streaks.
Another common mistake when washing windows is skimping on the cleaner. You need enough cleaner to dissolve and suspend the dirt so that it can be wiped away without leaving any muddy residue on your window.
4. Wipe the Edges
Many of the best window cleaning tips from experts include a quick wiping around the frame and sill. This will help to remove any dust or cobwebs and will also give you the chance to see how much dirt has been left behind, especially on the corners. Cotton washcloths are inexpensive and efficient for this task, as they can be used to wipe away the dirt before bringing in your microfiber cloths.
After you’ve finished wiping the middle of the glass, and ensuring that you’ve removed all residue and streaking from the corners, use one side of your towel to wipe along the edges. This is where a lot of watermarks and grease will often remain, so make sure you take the time to carefully clean these areas.
If there are any stubborn marks that just won’t budge, a little bit of white vinegar mixed with water can be very effective. Apply with a soft sponge or a non-scratch scrubbie (these Scotch-Brite non-scratch ones are great) and leave to sit for a few minutes before wiping again. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times to get the really stubborn marks off.
When it comes to drying the windows, the best thing is to use a dry, lint-free towel or a microfiber cloth. Paper towels can leave lint and can even scratch the surface of your window, so it’s well worth taking the extra step to use a better tool.
A lot of experts swear by gadgets such as the Vileda Windomatic, a window vacuum cleaner that works like a supped-up squeegee. However, you can achieve equally impressive results on a budget with soapy water and a good quality squeegee.
Keeping your windows clean isn’t hard to do, so follow these simple tips and you’ll have a beautiful view every day without the need for expensive gadgets! It’s a good idea to get into the habit of washing your windows twice a year, as this will ensure that they stay in pristine condition for as long as possible. Having the right cleaning tools at hand will also mean that you can quickly and easily tackle your windows whenever they need a good clean.