This guide on how to clean windows will give you the tips you need to know on how to clean windows effectively. Windows are sometimes forgotten in the throes of spring cleaning, but they deserve just as much attention as the bathtub or the stained carpet.
A clean window will result in a brighter house. You’ll benefit from more and brighter sunlight once the dust has been wiped away, and you’ll be amazed at how different the view looks once it’s clear.
I’m not saying you need to wash your windows every day, but when you’re in the zone and deep cleaning the rest of your home, make sure you also spend some time at the windows.
If you can, it’s best to clean windows on a cloudy day. If it’s too bright outside the soap and water will dry too quickly, leaving smears on the glass windows. The good news is, spring weather is usually perfect for window cleaning.
Not sure where to start? I’ve created a window-cleaning guide with information on cleaning the inside and outside of your windows. It’s easier than it seems! Let’s get started.
Window Cleaning Supplies
Any dish soap will work! Grab your supplies and get ready.
Always start by gathering your supplies and making sure that you have everything you need in order to clean the windows properly. You don’t want to get stuck half way through and end up with streaks across the glass or a half-washed window! You’ll need:
- Bucket of warm water
- Dish soap
- Vinegar or store-bought window cleaner / window cleaning solution
- Spray bottle
- Dry towel, lint free cloth or paper towels
- Swiffer mop
The inside of your windows will probably be much cleaner than the outside, so it’s a good idea to start to clean windows inside. Here’s how.
Prepare for Cleaning Windows
First, make sure you have all the necessary supplies to clean windows. For cleaning windows, you’ll need plenty of wash clothes, rags, or paper towels. Mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water in a bucket. For cleaning windows that may be too high to reach on your own, you can use a swiffer mop.
Start by rinsing the windows with the soap and water and a clean towel. Ring the towel out so it isn’t dripping but is wet, and rub down the window. Depending on how dirty the window is, you may need to go over it a couple times.
Use a rag to wipe away the initial dirt on the windows. Make sure to also wipe down the frames while you’re at it.
Use a second towel, lint free cloth or a rubber squeegee to dry the window off for a streak free finish. Use long, strong movements in one direction to avoid streaks on the clean windows. If the window still looks especially dirty you can rinse and dry a second time with your squeegee or lint free cloth.
Place the white vinegar in a window cleaning solution spray bottle and spray the windows, starting at the top and working your way down. White vinegar is one of the best window cleaners for cleaning windows, and it’s cheap and easy to find. You can also use a window cleaning solution or window washing product designed for home window cleaning, such as Windex or the Laundress.
A spray bottle is the best way to ensure even distribution of vinegar on the window.
Wipe off the vinegar using swift motions in the same direction as you dried the window. You may need to spray and wipe the same area a few times if there are difficult smudges. This is the final step, and therefore one of the most important. Use solid motions and make sure you aren’t leaving drips or streaks.
Chances are, the exterior windows are much dirtier than the interior windows. Outside, the windows might pick up dust, dirt, pollen, rain splatters, or even dead bugs. Because of this, you’ll need to take a bit more time outside. Of course, this also means that the exterior cleaning will look instantly better.
In preparing to clean the exterior windows, you might want to make sure you’re wearing clothes that can get dirty. Gather all the same supplies that you used for cleaning the inside windows, plus a swiffer mop if your windows are high and a few extra rags since they’ll get dirty faster.
Even if your windows don’t look that bad, closer inspection can reveal layers of grime that block light and make the rest of your space look dirty as well. A lot of this dirt comes from outside, so it’s important to clean both sides of the window.
Start by rinsing the outside of the windows using a rag and soapy water. I suggest having two rags for this. Start with one that will pick up the bulk of the dirt and pollen. Next switch to a second wet rag and clean once through again to pick up the remaining dirt.
Don’t let the window sit wet for long, since the air and sun will dry it before you can wipe away the water and leave streaks and watermarks.
Keep a dry rag handy and wipe away the soap and water immediately. This is even more important outside than it is inside. Because the window is exposed to more wind and sun, the water will dry quicker. If the water dries on its own instead of with a dry rag, you’ll end up with streaks on the glass.
Always start at the top of the window and work your way down, using smooth, strong motions from one side to the other.
This stage is the same inside and outside. Starting at the top of the window, spray the vinegar across the glass.
Using solid, strong motions from side to side, wipe away the vinegar, taking care not to leave behind any streaks or drips.
Post your cleaning, your finished windows should be clean, clear, and free of streaks and smudges.
Once you’ve finished wiping down the inside and outside of your clean windows, take a step back to admire your work. I guarantee you’ll be impressed with how much brighter and cleaner the rest of the house feels once there’s no longer dust and pollen on the windowsill.