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The Best Way to Clean Windows

The most seemingly simple chores are the ones many of us get wrong. Case in point: Cleaning windows. It may look easy, but in fact, even the most experienced spring cleaner could benefit from a refresher course on how to clean windows.

The Best Way to Clean Windows
The Best Way to Clean Windows

Cleaning the Inside of Windows

  1. Test the temperature. One of the best pieces of advice for how to clean windows is to pick a cloudy day. The absence of sunlight will help to minimize the chance of streaks because heat makes window cleaning solution evaporate faster than you can wipe it off. Lack of glaring sunlight also enables you to better see—and better clean—the windows. To quickly test the temperature, touch the window glass. If it’s hot to the touch, wait for a cooler day.
  2. Fill a bucket or large pot with clean, cool water and add a few drops of liquid dish soap.
  3. Place a large bath towel beneath the window to catch any spills.
  4. Use a clean microfiber cloth or sponge to go over the surface of the window, starting at the top and working down to the bottom. Don’t forget to wipe down the frame as well, both inside and out. No window washing job is complete without using your vacuum first. Dust and dirt can accumulate inside the sills of your windows, and once that gets wet, you’ll be left with muddy streaks to clean up. That’s why an essential step in cleaning windows properly is to hook up the vacuum first, using hose attachments to clean out the interior side of your windows.
  5. Spray the window thoroughly with the vinegar and water solution, or if you prefer, a commercial window cleaning product (such as Zep or Windex, both available on Amazon, or any of the other best glass cleaners we recommend). Another option is mixing one capful of ammonia with two gallons of water.
  6. Using a clean, lint-free towel (or the black-and-white pages of a newspaper), dry the window completely using a Z-shaped motion. You also can use clean paper towels to dry the windows, if you prefer.
  7. If dirt or streaks remain, spray and dry again. (Dirty windows typically require two rounds of spraying and drying.)There are few things that can ruin freshly cleaned windows quicker than gobs of left-behind lint. Instead of paper towels, utilize a lint-free option, such as clean coffee filters, crumpled newsprint, or a microfiber or flour-sack towel. Alternatively, try a small squeegee with a sharp, nick-free rubber blade. This fool-proof trick will make you feel like a professional window cleaning service.

Keep in mind: It is best to work on a cool, cloudy day so that the soapy water and window-cleaning solution do not dry on your windows.

How to Clean Windows with Vinegar

There are many DIY window cleaner recipes available, but our favorite starts with a vinegar base. To make your own glass cleaner, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/3 cup vinegar
  • distilled water

For best results, look for vinegar that says “made from grain” on the label. Funnel the ingredients into a 32-ounce spray bottle and lightly shake to mix. Spritz onto a lint-free cloth and clean your windows.