Everyone loves a crystal clear window, but getting there isn't fun. If it seems that no matter how hard you try to have a sparkling, streak-free window, you're haunted with smears and smudges, this article is for you.
Although cleaning windows is not a difficult task, there are some things that you can do to ensure your windows are as clean as possible. Professionals recommend that you clean the outside of your windows at least twice a year. Many people choose to do it seasonally.
Follow these tricks and tips for easing the frustration involved in this chore.
To get your windows really clean on the outside, you need to start with good equipment. Buying the cheapest will only result in disappointment.
Tip # 1: Choose High-Quality Equipment
It's best to have a large bucket that's wide enough to fit a mop and a squeegee. Rectangle buckets work great.
Not all squeegees are created equal. For doing outside windows, this is the most important tool of all. Some reputable brands to consider include Unger, Sorbo, and Wagtail. All of these offer durability and come in a variety of sizes.
Scrapers work well to attack caked-on gunk such as insects, varnish, and paint off of windows, however, you have to be very careful how you use them. The wrong technique could damage your window. Be sure to get a scraper that has replaceable blades. A small 3-inch size will do the trick.
Some people like to use vinegar and warm water while others claim that it's not too effective because it doesn't bubble up. Because of this, many people use plain dish soap like Palmolive. If you're using a squeegee, suds are especially important to help the rubber pass over the glass. The also make it easier to see the areas that need more work, since the bubbles separate where there is dirt on the window.
Also called a washer or a wand, a mop consists of a sleeve attached to the end of a T-bar. When the sleeve gets dirty, you can just take it off and wash it. Be sure to purchase a mop with a sleeve that is about 14 inches long and has good water retention.
Tip # 2: Use Cold Water
Don’t make the mistake of using warm water -- it evaporates too quickly. It's best to fill a 5-gallon bucket about halfway with cold water and then put in a few squirts of detergent.
Tip # 3: Scrub First
Get the mop wet and scrub the windows to lift all the dirt. Use the scraper to remove any caked-on dirt, insects, etc. Be sure to press the scrapper blade in a forward motion, not backward, as this may cause scratches.
Tip # 4: Squeegee From the Top Down
Although you may not think about it, there is a proper technique when it comes to using a squeegee. Always begin with the squeegee at the top of the window and work in a horizontal path. If you tilt the squeegee, water will be forced out of the bottom. Dry the blade with a clean cloth after each stroke. Be sure that each stroke overlaps the other by about 2 inches. After you're finished with the window, dry the edges with the cloth.
After cleaning exterior windows, interior windows will seem like a walk in the park. Here are a few tips to keep yours sparkling.
Tip #5: Dust Before You Clean
You can save yourself a lot of trouble if you dust the windows, sills, and even screens before you get right to the glass. There's no sense in leaving all of that dirty and having sparkling glass. If necessary, you can even vacuum out the sills (especially if it has been a long time since you have done this).
Tip #6: Clean On a Cloudy Day
If you clean on a really hot and sunny day, your cleanser or soap will dry too quickly and leave streaks behind.
Tip #7: Make Your Own Cleanser
Just as with cleaning your outdoor windows, choosing the correct cleaning tools when working inside is critical. Many people prefer to use window cleaner spray and a lint-free cloth to clean interior windows. While this works, the best tools for cleaning indoor windows are often the simplest. Choose your cleaner wisely; commercial brands are often overpriced and don't perform nearly as well as some homemade versions. Try combining the following for a streak-free, toxin-free shine each time:
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup isopropyl alcohol
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups water
- 8-10 drops lemon essential oil
Mix everything in a spray bottle and shake each time you use it as the ingredients will settle. Wipe off with a clean microfiber cloth for best results.