5 Ways to Clean Outside Windows Before Winter

Window cleaned outside with blue sponge and soapy water

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Dirty windows can significantly limit the amount of sunlight that enters a room, and that can make your space especially dim on short winter days. So it's important to do a thorough windowing cleaning prior to winter.

Here are five ways to get your windows sparkling clean inside and out.

  • 01 of 05

    Use a Magnetic Window Cleaner for the Outside

    Red magnetic window cleaner passing over outside window with soapy water

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

    Cleaning the exterior side of windows that don't unlatch and lower into a room is no easy task, especially when they're too high to be reached via the ground or a short ladder from the outside.

    But you can try a magnetic window cleaner. Tools such as this wash both sides of a window at once using microfiber cleaning cloths to wipe off any liquid cleaning product you use. Folks who own these gizmos say it takes some practice to get the tool to glide smoothly. For example, pushing it around too quickly while cleaning can disconnect the magnets.

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  • 02 of 05

    Try a Mop to Extend Your Reach

    Mop covered with microfiber cloth passing over outside window with on part vinegar

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

    A standard mop can make washing exterior windows a snap because it will extend how far you can reach while standing on the ground. You can use it inside too for high windows.

    Try this recipe for getting glass sparkling clean: Mix 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar in a small bucket. Then, dip a clean microfiber cloth or mop head into the solution, and attach it to the mop handle. Scrub your windows with the mop.

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  • 03 of 05

    Pick Up a Telescopic Pole

    Squeegee cleaning off soapy water on outside of window

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

    If the reach of a mop won't cut it, try using a U-shaped telescopic pole. It will allow you to clean the exteriors while standing inside. Most cleaning pole sets include two attachments: a squeegee and circular sponge with two cleaning cloths.

    Get these best results with the following tips:

    • Dry brush the windows with a dry rag that covers the circular sponge. Eliminating some of the dirt this way first reduces the muddy mess a spray cleaner will create later.
    • Spray the glass with several coats of a powerful window cleaner. Look for a product that cuts through crud and grease and dries to a streak-free shine.
    • Wipe the cleaner from the windows using clean rags that you slip over the circular sponge.
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  • 04 of 05

    Vacuum and Wash Window Screens

    Vacuum with brush head attachment cleaning screen outside bathroom window

    The Spruce / Almar Creative

    Dirty window screens can also reduce the amount of natural light in your home. One of the best ways to clean them is to pop them out, bring them outside, and hose them down with water.

    Don't have an outdoor space? You can leave the screens in place and do this instead:

    • Wipe off dust using a microfiber cloth or a disposable dust cloth.
    • Vacuum each screen using a brush attachment.
    • Mix 1 part water with 1 part vinegar in a spray bottle, and lightly spray the screen toward the outside. Then, wipe the screen with a rag immediately after spraying.


    You can rinse each screen one at a time in a bathtub or shower after dusting and vacuuming for a more thorough cleaning.

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  • 05 of 05

    Let a Robot Clean Your Windows

    Winbot window cleaning robot working on a skyscraper.

    Several companies produce robot window cleaners that function like robotic vacuums but for windows—including the Winbot by Ecovacs Robotics (pictured).

    Here's how most robotic window cleaners work:

    • Place the safety pod and harness that's attached to the machine on the inside of your window. It will catch the appliance if it falls.
    • Attach the cleaning pad, and spray with cleaning solution. The appliance has two built-in squeegees.
    • Flip the on switch.
    • Position the cleaner on the window (inside or out). Before the gizmo starts cleaning, it will scan the window to find out the best path to take.
    • Once the window is clean, the appliance will return to the starting position.