The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows (2023)

Cleaning windows can be a struggle, especially when it’s time to finally clean the outside. We know window cleaning is almost nobody’s favorite chore, but there’s no reason it should be more complicated than it is. To help keep window cleaning simple, here is our guide to cleaning your home’s windows, inside and out, like a professional.

Get the Windows Ready for Cleaning

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows (1)

Before you start, you should ensure you and your home are prepped and ready for cleaning. Since you’ll be using cleaning products and water, you’ll need to protect the areas around your windows. Here are a few things to keep in mind when prepping:

  • Lay a towel down under the window you’ll be focusing on, and make sure you have a few extras on hand just in case.
  • Remove any dust and loose debris from around the windows with a vacuum or by wiping down the area with a damp cloth.
  • Pull up any blinds on the windows and give those a good dusting to keep them from redistributing debris on the newly cleaned windows later.
  • Move any curtains out of the way. Shake them out outside and maybe toss them in the wash or a quick tumble in the dryer if they are fabric.
  • If your windows have removable screens, you’ll want to get those out of the way. Make sure to label them so that you can put them back correctly. It could also be a good idea to rinse the
  • screens with a hose and allow them to dry in the open air before replacing them.
  • Have all your cleaning supplies ready. You’ll need: Microfiber cloths (Note: We don’t recommend paper towels or newspapers as these are more likely to leave streaks, haze, and lint on the glass.), a squeegee, a spray bottle, glass cleaner or cleaning solution of choice and water.

DIY Window Cleaner

If you’ve tried just about every glass cleaning product available and haven’t found one that works, you most likely have the solution at your fingertips. Here are some of our favorite DIY window and glass cleaning solutions:

1. Vinegar

This method is our best recommendation, and it’s super simple! All you’ll need is white distilled vinegar and some water, plus your spray bottle. In the spray bottle, combine 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water and then shake it gently to mix it together. The acidity of the vinegar is what makes this so effective as a glass cleaner, plus it can kill bacteria and cut through tough grime. We told you this method was easy!

2. Lemon Juice

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows (2)

If you don’t like using (or smelling) vinegar around the house, that’s okay. We know vinegar can be pretty strong and harsh on the nose, so here’s your solution. All you have to do for this DIY method is replace vinegar from the previous recipe with lemon juice. The acidity of the lemon juice is a bit stronger than vinegar, but it is just as effective and definitely smells better. Who doesn’t appreciate their home smelling lemony-fresh after cleaning?

3. Dish Soap

There are a few ways you can incorporate dish soap into DIY cleaning solutions. You can easily use it on its own by adding a few drops to some clean water, giving you an effective window cleaner. Another effective way to use dish soap is by adding a drop or two to either of the previous recipes for a pretty powerful cleaning boost.

4. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Another way to combat the scent of chemicals or vinegar is by adding essential oils to your DIY recipes. Our favorite essential oil to use is tea tree because not only does it smell amazing, but it also fights against bacteria and helps prevent mold growth. You only need to add a few drops to your DIY cleaner to see the difference, so we suggest using essential oil with our favorite vinegar method for the ultimate cleaning solution.

Cleaning Inside

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows (3)

Now that you have the area around your windows protected and your supplies at the ready, you can get started with the cleaning process from inside. Here is our quick guide to cleaning the interior of your windows like a pro:

  • Make sure you have wiped down the windows and window panes with a wet cloth to remove any loose dust and debris from the surface.
  • Using your chosen cleaning product or DIY solution, spray a small amount starting from the top of the window glass and moving down. (Note: Do your best to keep the cleaner away from surfaces that aren’t glass.)
  • Wipe the cleaner all around the glass with a dry microfiber cloth to clean the window using an S-motion to avoid the cleaner drying on the glass while you clean it.
  • Spray a small amount of cleaner on any stubborn areas of grease or grime around the window. Only use the cleaner in small amounts and do your best to not allow the cleaner to pool at the base of the window.
  • Using a fresh microfiber cloth or a squeegee, wipe away the remaining cleaner once the glass has been cleaned completely. If you are using a squeegee, make sure you keep the blade in contact with the glass to avoid leaving streaks and drips.
  • Check the glass for any streaks or stray marks. You can use a fresh microfiber towel to buff these from the surface of the glass for a shiny and streak-free finish.

Cleaning Outside

Once all of your windows are now shiny and clean on the inside, make sure they’re all closed because it’s time to shift your focus to the outside. For the best results when cleaning your windows from the outside, here is our go-to method:

  • Ensure that all windows are securely closed and surrounding areas inside are protected from potential leaks.
  • Use your garden hose to spray away the surface layers of dirt and grime that have accumulated.
  • To scrub and remove stubborn grime, we recommend using an extendable pole that you can attach microfiber cleaning cloths to. Climbing up and down a ladder to clean your windows is time-consuming and even dangerous especially if you are cleaning them on your own.
  • Apply your cleaning solution to the cloth on the extendable pole to clean high-up and hard-to-reach windows. (Note: There are some hose-attachable window cleaners available to purchase, so you can look into one of those to shave off some time when cleaning.)
  • Rinse the cleaner away thoroughly with your hose.
  • Use a fresh microfiber cloth or extendable squeegee to dry the windows.

How Often to Clean Windows

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows (4)

We know cleaning your windows can be a time-consuming chore to take on, especially when you’re cleaning both inside and out. Thankfully, you should only have to clean both sides of your windows about 2 or 3 times a year, depending on the environment where you live. Pollen levels, rainy weather, tree sap, and even birds can add to the debris that collects on and around your windows. Make sure to regularly check the state of your windows from the outside in order to stay on top of their cleanliness.


What should you not do to clean windows?

When cleaning your windows, you should not use an ammonia-based cleaner and avoid cleaning them in direct sunlight as both of these can create excessive streaking and haze. You should also aim to use a squeegee when drying them and removing excess cleaner and water.

What causes windows to get dirty inside?

Windows can get dirty inside because of dust, grease, and other particulates that accumulate and stick to the glass. Windows in the kitchen are especially susceptible to grease build-up and can be particularly difficult and stubborn to clean.

Can vinegar damage glass windows?

Vinegar won’t damage and is completely safe to use on glass windows and mirrors. In fact, we encourage it! Just remember not to use vinegar to clean anything like electronics or stone such as granite and marble.

What do professional window cleaners use in their water?

Many professional window cleaners use purified and treated water, but they can also use simple cleaning agents like a few drops of dish soap in water. This solution is super simple but highly effective when cleaning windows, which is why we suggest trying it out for yourself.

What is the best time of day to clean windows?

The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows (5)

The best time of day to clean your windows is early in the morning before the sun is fully up so that it doesn’t hit your windows directly. You can also save window cleaning for an overcast day without rain, as long as there is no direct sunlight on your windows. This is because the sunlight can cause your cleaning solution and water to evaporate more quickly and leave water stains and streaks on the window while you clean.

Why do my windows look worse after cleaning?​​

Your windows can look worse than when you started often because of the amount of sunlight hitting them or even if you leave the solution for too long and it dries on the glass. Your home’s water can also be a contributing factor to streaks and haze as hard water leaves cloudy mineral deposits on most surfaces.

How do your windows look after cleaning then? What kind of cleaning tips and tricks do you use when cleaning your windows? Share your thoughts in the comments below, we love hearing from you! If your windows have become too much of a struggle to keep clean and shiny on a regular basis, don’t worry. You can check out to find out what kind of services we offer that can help you keep your home looking its best.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows appeared first on Cleanzen.

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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Windows? ›

Spray your windows with a generous amount of glass cleaner. Using a lint-free paper towel or microfiber cloth, wipe your windows from top to bottom. If you see any streaks, give them another wipe until the glass is clear.

What is the absolute best way to clean windows? ›

Spray your windows with a generous amount of glass cleaner. Using a lint-free paper towel or microfiber cloth, wipe your windows from top to bottom. If you see any streaks, give them another wipe until the glass is clear.

What do professional window cleaners use to clean windows? ›

The most common is a water-fed pole cleaner mounted on an extendable pole for easy access to exterior windows. This setup requires significant investment into tools and training but makes cleaning high windows simple. The next most common option is a pair of squeegee and scrubber tools mounted on poles.

How do you clean inside windows like a pro? ›

Both men said the secret is to use regular water with a small amount of liquid dish soap in it. You can purchase special window-washing soaps for this purpose if you want. The second most important thing is to use the correct tool to clean the glass. Pros use a lambswool tool that they rub across the glass.

What not to do when cleaning windows? ›

Here's what you need to know:
  1. Using Glass Cleaner. ...
  2. Not Using The Right Cleaning Cloths. ...
  3. Scratches On The Glass. ...
  4. Making Circular Motions When Cleaning. ...
  5. Attempting To Clean Dry Glass. ...
  6. Not Cleaning The Dirt And Dust Off First. ...
  7. Cleaning With A Universal Cleaning Cloth. ...
  8. Cleaning With Soap-based Products.
Dec 15, 2020

Is Dawn dish soap good for washing outside windows? ›

Dawn as a substitute glass cleaner

There is no need to panic. One of the most effective ways to clean glass is dish soap – it's what professional window cleaners use when cleaning exterior windows. Dish soap can remove stuck-on dirt and cuts any hazy build-up. It also works well on cloudy mirrors.

Is vinegar and dawn good for cleaning windows? ›

Mix up your window-cleaning solution: In a plastic spray bottle, mix together 2 cups of warm water with 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of Dawn. Sweep away dirt: Using a broom, sweep away the cobwebs and debris from the windows and sills.

Why do my windows look smeared after cleaning? ›

A big problem is the evaporation rate. If you're cleaning your windows on a warm sunny day, the liquid part of the solution evaporates quickly and leaves behind a residue that appears as streaks. On the other hand, if you don't entirely remove the liquid you can also be left with a streaky window.

What is the best way to clean windows without leaving streaks? ›

'Take a microfiber cloth and wipe in a Z-shaped motion to stop the smears and get every little,' they say. However, for more stubborn marks, you may need to dilute a mild detergent into the water.

What is the best month to wash windows? ›

The truth is, it's always a good time to have your windows professionally cleaned. Spring is known as the season of cleaning, and for good reason. Pollen and tree sap often accumulate on windows during spring, creating a sticky film on the glass that can be unsightly.

What is the best time of day to wash windows? ›

No matter what the season is, it is generally best to wash your windows on an overcast day or early in the morning. When the window is in direct sunlight, it may cause the cleaning solution to evaporate and leave streaks on the window.

Should you dry windows after cleaning? ›

Once you've used your squeegee to clean the windows, you need to dry them to avoid streaks! Instead of using a towel, use a microfibre cloth to avoid getting lint and fluff all over your freshly washed windows.

Which is better for cleaning windows ammonia or vinegar? ›

Both vinegar and ammonia are good cleaning agents, but if you want to be on the safe side, then it's best to go with vinegar. Vinegar is less hazardous. When it comes to actually wiping the windows down, however, microfiber cloths are the best thing to use for absorbency.

What liquid do window washers use? ›

In some applications Windex is the way to go. But for most professionals they use a much simpler window cleaning solution. We recommend you skip the windex and instead use a pro mixture of dishwashing liquid and water.

What do professional window cleaners add to their water? ›

Window cleaners purify their water by passing it through a series of filters and resins, making use of natural processes like reverse osmosis and deionisation. They then store this water, usually in a suitably equipped vehicle, so that they can get it to their customers.

Can I use Rainx on my house windows? ›

Rain-X® Windshield Washer Fluid Questions

Rain‑X® Original Treatment can be used on home glass windows; however, avoid contact with vinyl and aluminum surfaces near the window.

How much Dawn should I use for windows? ›

Mix up your window solution.

Combine about 8 ounces of hot water with a drop or two of Dawn dish soap—which is great for cutting grease and grime, says Fisk—in a spray bottle. (Some people like to add a splash of vinegar, too, but it's not necessary.)

Can you clean windows with Swiffer? ›

It's quick, easy, and it would work for windows, too. The best part is that all it requires is stuff you probably have at home already. Specifically, a Swiffer Sweeper, glass cleaner, and a microfiber cloth.

Is Windex or vinegar better for windows? ›

After nearly 40 hours of reading, researching, spraying and wiping, we determined that Windex is the best window cleaner available. It's powerful enough to break up grease and food stains on a variety of surfaces without leaving behind spots or streaks.

Do you use straight vinegar to clean windows? ›

You should use straight vinegar. If your windows are really dirty, it's good to use an extra strength solution to wash them. Just warm 1 cup (240 mL) of white vinegar. It can be applied directly to the glass and it's best to use a spray bottle for this specific solution.

Is distilled vinegar the same as White Vinegar? ›

White vinegar, also known as distilled vinegar or spirit vinegar, is made by fermenting grain alcohol (ethanol) which then turns into acetic acid. Water is then added to the vinegar, so white vinegar is made of five to ten percent acetic acid and ninety to ninety-five percent water.

What is the best hack for streak free windows? ›

Completely non-toxic and anti-bacterial, vinegar works hard to remove the film and grime that accumulates on windows. Mix one part vinegar with one part warm water. Dishwashing liquid is a solid addition. For a more heavy duty clean, add some dishwashing liquid to your water and vinegar solution.

What is the best thing to clean glass with? ›

Distilled vinegar and hot water

A true tried and tested method, distilled vinegar and hot water has proven to be one of the most successful methods to clean your windows. Since vinegar has an acidic composition, it's quick in breaking down the thin film of grime that collects on the glass' surface.

How do you make homemade window cleaner? ›

In a spray bottle, combine ¼ cup of white vinegar with ½ teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Dilute the solution with 2 cups of water, then shake the bottle vigorously to mix the components. If you don't have white vinegar on hand, you can substitute it with lemon juice.

What cloth is best to clean windows? ›

Microfiber cloths are absorbent cloths that can be washed and reused to clean windows, leaving them clear, shiny and streak-free. These are best used to apply cleaning solutions to windows, scrub them clean and wipe them dry. Best of all, they are soft and pose no risk to your windows.

What makes windows sparkle? ›

A trusted way to get windows sparkling is a combination of water and vinegar. Fill a bucket with water and add two or three cups of white vinegar. Submerge a sponge or clean cloth in the liquid and apply generously. Dry with a clean cloth.

How do you remove film buildup from windows? ›

In a spray bottle, combine 2 cups of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 5 drops of concentrated dish soap. Give it a good shake to thoroughly mix the ingredients. The vinegar is an acid and will help break up any mineral or hard water deposits. The dish soap helps to soften up the grime and gently remove dirt.

Why is Windex leaving streaks? ›

You probably know using an all-purpose cleaner isn't the best idea, since it'll make the glass cloudy. But even mirror-specific products like Windex, while effective at cleaning, can leave your mirror full of streaks because they contain so much soap.

What squeegee do professionals use? ›

Look for squeegees made by Unger or Ettore . These manufacturers produce superior products and use rubber that is designed for durability and wear. The better quality rubber, the easier the cleaning process will be and the more likely you will end up with streak-free windows.

Do you clean windows with hot or cold water? ›

With temperatures just above freezing (0 to 5 degrees Celsius) windows with thin glass should be cleaned with cold water. Modern windows with thicker glass can be cleaned using warm water. It will be effective as long as you squeegee the water off the glass quickly and as the water cools it is replaced.

What is the difference between window washing and window cleaning? ›

A 'window wash' is exactly how it sounds. This usually involves a quick squirt of chemicals to your windows and then a squeegee wash. 'Window Cleaning', most of the time, involves a good layer of chemical window cleaner, a quick rub to the windows 'big' spots and then a squeegee wash.

How often should you wash your sheets? ›

How Often You Should Wash Your Sheets (And How to Get Them Really Clean) Experts recommend washing or changing sheets once a week.

Should you wipe wet windows? ›

Wipe windows, walls and mirrors to remove condensation (a microfiber cloth is the most efficient means of doing this), and dry the shower tray or bath. Keep the door closed while the bathroom is in use to prevent to steam escaping to other parts of the house. KITCHEN.

What kind of soap do you use on outside windows? ›

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.

How long should a window cleaning take? ›

An average house of about 1,800 square feet should take about 2 hours if you're doing windows in and out. If you add screens and tracks and sills, maybe two and a half, maybe three hours just depending on how quickly they go and what the glass looks like.

What do window cleaners do when it rains? ›

In fact, the idea that cleaning windows in the rain is a pointless venture, is actually a myth. Commercial window cleaners can achieve a sparkling finish in rain and shine, with the current weather conditions having little, if any, effect on the quality of your window cleaner's finish.

What happens if you don't clean your windows over time? ›

Without cleaning your window washing, the grime and dirt penetrate the glass. This causes staining and other kinds of damage from interior and exterior sources such as wind, rain, salt water, changes in temperature, cleaning products, pollutants, and dirt.

What is best way to clean windows streak free? ›

Try a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for a streak-free clean. You can use a spray bottle or dip a rag in the solution, just like you would an ordinary cleaner. If you are worried about the fumes, only use vinegar for outdoor windows or mix a couple drops of essential oils to counteract the smell.

How do you clean windows streak free? ›

in 5 Steps
  1. Dust and brush down the windows. The first step to clean your windows without streaks is to remove any excess dirt, dust, and cobwebs. ...
  2. Pick a detergent and start washing. ...
  3. Squeegee the window dry. ...
  4. Wipe the window down with a cloth. ...
  5. Clean up the window sills and floors.

Why does Windex streak windows? ›

This has to do with the evaporation rate—if your cleaning solution evaporates before you have time to wipe it off, it will leave a mark. Alcohol- and ammonia-based cleaners evaporate more quickly than vinegar, but any window cleaner can leave streaks if it isn't removed fast enough.

What is the disadvantage of vinegar in cleaning? ›

Vinegar doesn't sanitize or disinfect

When you're cleaning to eliminate the germs that cause colds, flus & viruses, you'll want to shelve your vinegar mix. The reason is that vinegar is not an EPA registered disinfectant or sanitizer, which means you can't count on vinegar to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.

What happens when you mix vinegar and window cleaner? ›

It's also important to mix vinegar with other ingredients carefully. “Never mix vinegar with other cleaning products like bleach or ammonia or those 'blue' window cleaning products [like Windex], because they can create dangerous chlorine gas,” Gayman says.

Can you mix Dawn dish soap and vinegar? ›

This match made in heaven has been a household staple for a long time and I make sure to keep it handy. To make the solution is simple and easy on the wallet! Pour equal parts of vinegar and Dawn into a spray bottle. Gently shake, then spray liberally onto the surface to be cleaned.

Why do newspapers clean windows so well? ›

The high absorbency of the newsprint is likely what makes it so effective at cleaning windows. It actually absorbs the liquid instead of just pushing it around. And glass is a slick, non-porous surface, so the ink doesn't adhere to it like it does wood molding.

What do window cleaners use in the water? ›

Window cleaners purify their water by passing it through a series of filters and resins, making use of natural processes like reverse osmosis and deionisation. They then store this water, usually in a suitably equipped vehicle, so that they can get it to their customers.


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