How to Clean Windows Like a Pro
Clean with no streaks and no stress
Sparkling clean windows bring more light into a room and help a home look fresh and clean. Glass windows attract dust and pollutants both inside and outside. While the task of cleaning windows can be time-consuming, most of that time involves moving ladders or furniture to access the window or removing and replacing screens. The actual cleaning can be done quickly and efficiently with just a few tools and cleaning products.
Read on to learn how to clean your windows correctly.
How Often to Clean Windows
In most homes, the windows should be cleaned at least twice per year—spring and fall. You may find that the windows in some rooms need more attention. Windows over kitchen sinks can become splattered or show specks of grease from cooking. Of course, for the best-looking windows, clean them when you see dirt accumulating or at the beginning of every season.
What You'll Need
Equipment / Tools
- 2 0/2 to 4 microfiber cloths
- 1 stepstool or ladder
- 1 squeegee
- 1 duster
- 1 spray bottle
- 1 vacuum with hose or hand-held vac
- 1 container commercial glass cleaner
- 1 bottle distilled white vinegar
How to Clean Windows
Remove All Obstructions
To make cleaning easier, remove all interior curtains, blinds, and shades. This is a good time to wash or clean these items while they are off the windows. Move furniture away from the windows so that you can easily place a step stool or ladder to reach the top of the window.
On the outside of the home, remove storm windows or screens. Give them a thorough cleaning or store them away for the season.
Dust the Windows
This may sound like extra work but going over the window with a duster will remove loose soil and cobwebs. There's no need to push that dirt around while you clean.
Clean the Tracts and Sill
If the window opens, it has tracts that allow it to slide up and down. Dust these tracts and the window sill or use a vacuum with a hose and crevice attachment to remove dirt and insects.
Choose a Window Cleaner
You can use your favorite commercial window cleaner or make your own. A simple homemade window cleaner can be made by filling a spray bottle with a 50:50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water.
Start at the Top
Whether you begin cleaning inside or outside, always start at the top of the window. By working your way down, you'll catch any drips that appear.
Lightly spray the cleaner on the glass and let it work for at least 30 seconds to start cutting through the grime.
Remove the Soil
To remove the cleaner and the soil from the window glass, you can use a squeegee or a lint-free microfiber cloth. If you are using a squeegee, wipe it with a microfiber cloth after each stroke to remove excess dirt and moisture. Squeegees work best on large picture windows but do not work well on small panes.
If you are using a microfiber cloth, fold it into a small square or rectangle and keep moving to a clean section of the cloth as the soil is transferred.
While cleaning the window, work in one direction. Use horizontal strokes on one side of the window and vertical strokes on the other side so you can tell which side needs a touch-up if streaks remain.
Clean the Window Sills
Once the window is clean, wipe down the sill with a damp microfiber cloth to remove smudges. Check outside window trim and framing for rot and make repairs as necessary.
Reassemble the Window Components
Once the glass and sill are sparkling clean, reassemble the outside screens and interior window dressings.
Tips to Keep Your Windows Sparkling Clean
- Never use paper towels or lint-shedding cloths for cleaning.
- Dust windows before spraying on the glass cleaner to remove loose soil.
- Give the glass cleaner time to cut through the soil before wiping it away.
- Clean windows on an overcast day.