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How to Clean Windows
Like the Pros

December 6, 2021

You know your freshly mowed lawn looks fabulous, but when you gaze through your window, you see a film of dirt and cobwebs instead of vivid shades of green. Not precisely the curb appeal you’re after, is it?

Do you keep your curtains closed when you don’t have to? Do you turn away in shame when the sun can’t get past the grime? You are suffering from window cleaning denial. We get it. The Maids understands that window cleaning often finds its way to the bottom of many seasonal cleaning to-do lists. That’s why you should learn how to clean windows like a pro. If you know how to do it properly, odds are you’ll clean your windows more often.

The Best Way to Clean Windows Inside

How can we say we know the best way to wash windows? For over 40 years, The Maids has cleaned homes all across North America. What we’ve learned is the foundation for our 22-Step Cleaning Process and makes us uniquely qualified to keep your home and windows clean and beautiful. Here are our field-tested tips for how to clean windows followed by a few green cleaning recipes for window washing solutions:

  1. Pick a cloudy day. The best way to clean windows begins with the right weather. Since bright sun will dry your cleaning solution before you can properly clean the windows and leave them streaky, it’s best to wash windows on a cloudy day.
  2. Grab your homemade window cleaner of choice and some microfiber cloths, and let’s get to work.
  3. Start at the top. Spray your window and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth. Work your way down and then wipe down the frame inside and out.
  4. Make window cleaning marathons easier. If you’re cleaning multiple windows, you may find filling a bucket with your cleaning solution to be more convenient. Use one microfiber cloth to wash the windows and a dry one to make them shine.
  5. Let it shine. To give your windows sparkle, polish the glass with a clean cotton T-shirt or a clean blackboard eraser.
  6. Clean the screen. Remove window screens and spray them with a hose. Use a brush and your water/vinegar solution to clean them up. For light cleaning, vacuum screens to remove dirt and dust, and then wipe the screen with a damp cloth.

If you need to do a deep cleaning on your windows, check out our guide for cleaning window sills and tracks to make the job easier.

The Best Way to Wash Windows Outside

If you want your windows to shine inside and out, you’ll need to know how to clean windows on the outside of your home too. We can help with that! Outside windows are trickier than inside windows because you’ll probably need a ladder, a tool for getting up high, or both.

Here’s the best way to clean windows outside:

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  • Choose a cloudy day when the weather forecast doesn’t call for rain.
  • Rinse your outside windows with a hose and then fill a bucket with water and a few drops of dish soap.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to wash the window and a microfiber sponge mop for extra reach.
  • Rinse the windows with a hose.
  • Use a squeegee to remove the rinse water and you’re done!

If you cleaned your window screens when you washed the inside windows and they still look dirty or rusty, you can remove them and clean them outside. Mix ¼ cup dish soap with ½ gallon of water and use a sponge to wash both sides of the screen. Rinse the window screens with your garden hose, let them air dry, and then reinstall them on your sparkling clean windows.

Cleaning outside windows is a simple process but not an easy one. No amount of curb appeal is worth getting hurt. If you’re not comfortable getting up high to clean your outside windows, use an extended arm for your window squeegee or use a strong rinse that will help remove much of the dust and dirt. With some vinegar, a little elbow grease, and an overcast afternoon, you can get your windows squeaky clean.

Homemade Window Washing Solutions

First, we’ll start with three field-tested DIY window cleaners that are inexpensive, safe, and as good as commercial window cleaner:

Vinegar and Water

For DIY window cleaners, use distilled water instead of tap water to prevent spots and stains. This simple glass cleaner uses just water and vinegar, but you can add a few drops of essential oil for a pleasant aroma. Distilled white vinegar is a natural cleaner and disinfectant, and it’s an essential ingredient in this proven homemade window cleaner. Here are the only three ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 10 drops of essential oil

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and give the bottle a good shake before you begin washing windows. Label the bottle and store it in a safe place.

Rubbing Alcohol, Vinegar, and Water

Rubbing alcohol is a window cleaning ingredient that will cut through buildup and evaporate quickly to help prevent water spots and streaks. Use rubbing alcohol labeled “made from grain” for the best results, and keep in mind that isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Here’s what you’ll need:

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

Mix the three ingredients in a clean spray bottle and shake vigorously. Label the bottle as “alcohol window cleaner” or something similar and store it safely out of reach.

Dish Soap and Water

Dish soap is perfect for cleaning windows with residue and buildup, and you only need a few drops of dish soap to get the job done. If you’re cleaning inside windows, use a spray bottle and if you’re washing exterior windows, use a bucket. Here’s all you’ll need:

  • 16 oz hot distilled water
  • 4 drops dish soap

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle or bucket and swirl the solution around gently to keep the suds down. Label the bottle and store it safely.

We hope our guide for how to clean windows makes it easier for you to enjoy crystal clear windows more often. For more helpful tips and tricks for all kinds of cleaning around the house, check out our other handy guides.

And if you decide window washing isn’t for you, our professional window cleaning service can tackle the job quickly and easily. From window washing to floor cleaning, The Maids offers many residential cleaning services that are affordable. Learn more when you get your free estimate.

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