Make Your Glass Sparkling Clean With These Methods and Tips

From the Top Tools to the Ideal Time to Clean

the right way to clean glass windows
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Many of us pay for a service to have our windows cleaned, but that can become very expensive. Cleaning windows, mirrors, and other glass around your home on your own isn't a difficult task, but getting it done efficiently and streak-free can be a challenge. Oftentimes we spend hours spraying and wiping only to be left with windows that look almost as dirty as they were to begin with. A few tips and the correct tools, however, can make this dreaded task simpler, leave your glass surfaces sparkling clean, and save you a lot of money in the long run.

  • 01 of 08

    Clean From Top to Bottom

    If you really want your window or mirror to be streak free, clean from the top to the bottom. Because the cleaning solution can drip, you want to use gravity to your advantage and let the cleaner drip into areas you haven't washed yet. Begin at the top and work your way down to make sure that no drips will happen on the glass surfaces that are already perfectly cleaned.

  • 02 of 08

    Wash Windows on a Cloudy Day

    You may think this should be the opposite, that you could see the dirt on the glass better if the sun were streaming in. The sun, however, can prematurely dry the window washing fluid, leaving residue and streaks. If you wait for a cloudy day to wash your windows, the cleaning solution will remain until you wipe it away and you will end up with a brilliant streak-free shine.

  • 03 of 08

    Use a Squeegee

    It is amazing what a difference this one simple tool makes on glass surfaces. Sometimes the first wipe of the cloth doesn't remove all of the cleaning solution and having to re-wipe areas of glass is a guarantee that you'll have streaks. Using a squeegee, however, makes it effortless to polish each section of the window. A long-handled squeegee is a must if you will be doing tall windows, and it will do double duty in cleaning shower walls as well.

  • 04 of 08

    Clean Corners With Cotton Swabs

    Just when you thought cotton swabs couldn't have another use—did you know they are ideal for cleaning those hard to reach areas of the windows in your home? No matter how hard you try, residue seems to build up in the corners of the glass, and it can be very difficult to get to that residue unless you have the right tool. A cotton swab is a perfect size and does the trick!​

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  • 05 of 08

    Try an Old T-Shirt

    Don't donate or throw away those old concert t-shirts—use them to clean your windows instead. Old t-shirts are ideal for cleaning glass because they won't have any lint residue and they are just absorbent enough to get a window polished clean. Plus, using old tees instead of paper towels is a great way to save money on housekeeping costs—and is good for the environment.​​

  • 06 of 08

    Try Homemade Window Cleaner

    Sometimes homemade solutions do the best job—and are more economical and won't contain unknown chemicals. To create your own glass cleaner, mix together 1 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 cup water, and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Using isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar together makes a quickly evaporating spray glass and mirror cleaner that competes with national brands. This can also be used to give a nice shine to hard tiles, chrome, and other surfaces.

  • 07 of 08

    Use Newspapers (or Don't)

    There are many people who love to use newspapers to polish their glass surfaces. It does work and can work well, but many people don't like getting newsprint on their hands. The newspaper also doesn't hold up very well when it gets wet. But if you are finding that towels and cloth just aren't for you, it is worth giving it a try. And if you are happy with how the glass looks but not how your hands look, you can simply wear gloves!

  • 08 of 08

    Avoid Woodwork

    Many glass and window cleaners can cause damage to the framed wood areas of our mirrors and windows. Be careful not to allow drips onto the wood that can damage these surfaces; you can place a small cloth on the wood or windowsill to absorb any drips. Avoid spraying too much cleaner at once—instead, spray the window in small sections working from the top down to the bottom of the glass.