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How to Clean Your Windows and Make Them Streak-Free

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

How to Clean Your Windows and Make Them Streak-Free

Introduction

Having clean, streak-free windows can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your home. Dirty windows can make your house seem dingy and unkempt, while sparkling clean windows allow more natural light to enter and create a brighter, more welcoming space. Achieving that crystal clear look may seem daunting, but it’s easier than you think with the right techniques and tools.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share my proven process for washing windows so they come out gleaming every time. I’ll cover everything from assembling the necessary supplies to specific cleaning methods and troubleshooting streaky windows. With just a little time and effort, you’ll be amazed at the transformation clean windows can make in your home’s appearance.

Gather the Proper Supplies

The first step in the process is gathering the appropriate supplies. Having the right tools makes the job much easier and helps prevent streaks. Here are the key items you’ll need:

  • Squeegee – A window squeegee with a sturdy rubber blade is essential for wiping away excess water and liquid cleaner. I recommend one with a handle at least 12-14 inches long so you can reach the middle of large windows.

  • Clean rags or paper towels – Have plenty of these on hand to wipe window frames and sills and for a final buffing. Microfiber cloths work especially well.

  • Spray bottle – Use this to apply your cleaning solution to the glass. Get one that has an adjustable nozzle.

  • Mild dish soap and water – Mix a couple drops of soap per quart of warm water. Dish soap is effective at breaking down grease and dirt.

  • White vinegar – Adding 1/4 cup vinegar per quart of water helps remove tough mineral deposits and detergent residue.

  • Plastic scraper – Helpful for removing stuck-on grime and bugs. Cover edges with painter’s tape to prevent scratches.

  • Extension pole – Useful for cleaning hard to reach windows. Look for one with a rotating head to angle your squeegee.

Gathering all these supplies ahead of time ensures you’ll have everything you need to thoroughly clean and eliminate streaks.

Prepare the Work Area

Before getting started, take a few minutes to prepare the work area around your windows:

  • Clear area of obstructions – Remove curtains, blinds, and any furniture or items blocking access to windows.

  • Protect nearby surfaces – Cover floors and furnishings with plastic sheeting or drop cloths in case of drips or splashes.

  • Check outdoor conditions – Avoid washing windows in direct sunlight or if rain is expected. Cool overcast days are ideal.

  • Start at top floor – For multi-story homes, begin washing at the uppermost level and work your way down. This prevents dirt and drips from resettling on already cleaned windows.

Prepping your workspace allows you to freely access the entire window area and protects your belongings. Don’t let a cluttered area rushing you or ruin your clean windows!

Wash Windows and Glass in Sections

The key to streak-free windows is washing them in manageable sections rather than trying to do the entire surface at once. Follow these steps:

1. Spray cleaning solution onto glass

Apply your cleaning mixture of dish soap, water, and vinegar to the window pane using a spray bottle. Avoid saturating the glass—a light misting is all you need.

2. Wipe with a vertical motion

Use a damp rag or paper towel to wipe the cleaning solution over the glass. Wipe up and down in long vertical strokes.

3. Rinse section with squeegee

Use your squeegee to rinse the same section you just cleaned. Hold at a 45° angle and pull down to remove all liquid.

4. Wipe window frame and sill

Use a dry rag or towel to wipe down the window frame and sill to remove any drips or spills.

5. Move to adjacent section

Shift over a few inches and repeat the spraying, wiping, and squeegeeing on the next window section until complete.

Doing just a portion at a time makes it easier to fully clean and squeegee the glass before liquids dry and leave streaks. Take your time and do a thorough job on each section.

Troubleshoot Streaky Windows

Even using the right methods, you might still end up with some pesky streaks on your glass. Here are some tips for troubleshooting and minimizing streaks:

  • Wipe down window frames and sills first if very dirty – Dirt can run down onto the glass.

  • Allow glass to fully dry between steps – Wiping or squeegeeing before liquids evaporate can push around dirt.

  • Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight – This causes solutions to dry too quickly.

  • Use firm pressure and overlap strokes when squeegeeing – Lightly dragging can leave streaks.

  • Consider filtering hard water – Mineral deposits in tap water leave behind spots as they dry.

  • Finish with a dry buffing – Lightly rub the entire window with a dry microfiber cloth.

With practice, you’ll get the hang of the proper technique needed to prevent annoying streaks and stains. Don’t get discouraged! Even professional window washers have to touch up their work sometimes.

Conclusion

While it may seem like a daunting chore, washing your windows doesn’t have to be frustrating or leave you with streaky results. By assembling the proper supplies, prepping your workspace, washing in sections, and troubleshooting problem areas, you can achieve sparkling clean windows that allow more natural light into your home. Just take your time and use firm, overlapping strokes with your squeegee. With a little elbow grease, you’ll be amazed at the crystal clear transformation. Your home will seem brighter, more inviting, and make a great first impression.

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