How To Clean Windows: A Cleaning Professional’s Guide

by Kara Richards on February 28, 2019

Learning how to clean windows can save you tons of money, and it’s probably not as difficult as you think it is! Whether you’re trying to clean large commercial windows or small, multi-paned windows, we’ve got you covered with guides on cleaning inside and out. Learn the tools the pros use to get a streak-free shine!

How to Clean Windows: A Cleaning Professional’s Guide

How to Clean Windows

Cleaning windows sounds like a tedious, time-consuming chore, but doing it yourself can save you a lot of money. We’ve rounded up the internet’s best guides on window cleaning for your perusal. Keep reading for some incredible tips and tricks that will have you cleaning better than the pros!

Things Get Serious at This Old House

Garry Jalowka takes window cleaning to the next level filming a window washing video with the team at This Old House. If you get frustrated with details or don’t want to invest in the tools he suggests, you’ll probably want to skip ahead to one of the other window cleaning methods, but if you want to learn how to clean windows the right way, Garry’s your man.

Step One: Prep

The first thing Garry explains is that you should use the right window washing medium. He likesadding dish soap to water because, as he explains, dish soap has wetting agents that will keepthe glass wet for longer. If the water dries too quickly, you run the risk of streaks, which identifyyou right away as less than professional.

It’s worth noting, also, that Garry uses a rectangular bucket that matches the rectangular shapeof his window scrubber–he doesn’t explain, but we assume it’s for convenience. In addition to abucket and dish soap, Garry also uses a squeegee, a window scrubber, which is essentially arectangular sponge with a handle, and three different cloths: a terry cloth, a lint-free towel, and amicrofiber towel.

Step Two: Wipe Down the Frame

Wiping down the frame is important both for visual impact and to keep dirt and grime frommixing with leftover water and making a bigger mess than before. Use the dampened terry clothclean away the dust around the glass.

Step Three: Scrub the Window

Dip your window scrubber into your dish soap and water solution, but make sure to squeegeeoff the excess water with your hands; you don’t want it dripping down your window and making

a mess. Use the window scrubber to wash the glass thoroughly, but keep in mind that you don’twant to soak the window, just gently wet it.

Step Four: Squeegee the Window

As Garry puts it, “the squeegee is the most important tool in the professional window cleaner’sarsenal.” It’s also the most important tool in our arsenal, as well, because learning how to use itcorrectly is the key to streak-free, shiny windows.

You can either pull the squeegee across the window from left to right or right to left, or you canpull it down. If you pull it down, start by using your finger and the lint-free towel to dry a very thinstrip at the top of the window. Then, line your squeegee up at the top of the window and pulldown, repeating from left to right or right to left until the window is dry and streak-free.If you don’t have a lint-free towel or don’t want to use one, you can also use the corner of thesqueegee to make the same dry edge.

Either way, you should hold the squeegee with a relaxed grip at a thirty-degree angle, which willleave about two fingers’ width from the glass to the handle. After you’ve wiped with thesqueegee, you should use a lint-free cloth to dry it, to keep water from dripping on the areayou’ve already wiped.

Step Five: Clean Up Remaining Water With a Microfiber Towel

Your final step is, in Garry’s professional opinion, the most important. Using a dry microfibertowel, wipe away any remaining water. Voila! You’ve got beautifully clean, streak-free windows!

The Pro’s Trick for Quick Cleaning

Quick Cleaning

If you’ve got yards and yards of glass windows to clean, the method we outlined above for how to clean windows might not be the best method. Instead, allow us to introduce you to Anthony Ford and the “S” technique, as seen in this video.

Here, Mr. Ford walks us through a technique that utilizes a bucket, a window scrubber, and squeegee, but makes quick work of all the extra water. After the window has been scrubbed with the scrubber, Anthony starts his squeegee somewhere in the middle of the window and drags it back and forth across the glass, keeping his eye on the uppermost corner of the squeegee.

Drawing the tool back and forth in an “S” shape allows him to remove every streak without leaving excess water. When you’re done with your “S” curve, Anthony recommends using your squeegee on the window ledge itself to wipe away excess water–this, of course, can only be done on metal window frames.

Cleaning Outside Windows With a Hose

Cleaning Outside Windows With a Hose

This video from HGTV on how to clean windows features Ivy and highlights the inefficacy ofusing a window cleaner like Windex. Window cleaner only moves the dirt around, explains Ivy.Here are her steps for getting a streak-free shine:

Step One: Remove Window Screens

Older homes may not have window screens, but if you have a newer house, chances are you’ll need to remove the screens before you can clean the windows. You should be able to simply pull the small black tabs on the bottom of the screens to lift them up and away; use a step ladder or ladder to get the screens that are out of your reach. Set these aside to be cleaned next.

Step Two: Make Your Window Cleaner

Like Garry, Ivy recommends using dish soap and water for your cleaner, but she’s a little more precise in her recipe for a cleaner, and she suggests adding vinegar, as well. Here’s how much of each ingredient you should use:● 4 teaspoons of dish soap● 2 cups of vinegar● 16 cups of hot waterAdd all of these to a bucket, and you’ll be ready to go!

Step Three: Gather Your Tools

Here’s what Ivy suggests you assemble, aside from your DIY window cleaner:● Spray bottle with water● Mop● Garden hose● Microfiber towel● Sponge or scrubbing brush

Step Four: Scrub Your Windows

Using your mop dipped in your cleaner, scrub your windows and even your trim. Make sure you don’t press too hard but do work quickly, so the liquid doesn’t dry.

Step Five: Hose Your Windows Down

Using your hose, spray down your windows so that all the dish soap liquid is removed, as well as whatever dirt and debris you loosened with your mop and scrubbing.

Step Six: Dry Your Windows With a Microfiber Cloth

Your microfiber cloth to dry up any excess water. Make sure you use a microfiber cloth and not a towel; towels lose their absorbency quickly, but microfiber cloths are especially absorbent, even when they’re already wet.

Step Seven: Clean the Screens

Rinse your window screens with your hose, and then gently scrub them with a sponge dipped in your cleaner, using circular motions. Rinse again when you’ve finished, and allow them to dry thoroughly.

Cleaning Your Windows on the Inside

Cleaning Your Windows on the Inside

It’s not just the outside of your windows that get dirty, it’s the inside, too. Even if your windows are being touched by little sticky fingers, they’ll still attract dust and grime that’s floating around inside your home, all of which builds up over time.

Here’s how A.E. Mackintosh Cleaning Services suggests you clean your windows:

Step One: Protect Your Floors

Since you’ll be working inside and around floors, pieces of furniture, artwork, or other items thatcan be easily damaged by water or stray cleaner, it’s important to carefully remove or cover anything you don’t want to get sprayed. Also, make sure you lay down a drop cloth under the windows, so you don’t accidentally harm your floor.

Step Two: Gather Your Supplies

You can use the same solution on the inside of your windows as you do the outside–dish soap mixed with hot water to form a soapy mixture. You will also need several microfiber cloths.

Step Two: Clean Your Windows

Wet a cloth thoroughly in your cleaning solution, then wring it out thoroughly. Very dirty windowswill need more liquid; already clean windows will need less. Wipe your window, wetting it well. Then, use a dry microfiber cloth to dry your window, polishing it as you go, making sure not to neglect the corners and edges.

Clean windows you can see through easily and quickly elevate the look of the entire house. And, if you’re trying to let every square inch of light shine through during the darker days of winter, clean windows can make a huge difference!

Fortunately, now that you know how to clean windows, you have everything you need to keep yours in top shape, without needing to hire somebody. Happy cleaning!

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