“I don’t DO windows.” It’s an old joke and a Hank Cochran lyric, but it’s also a way of life for many. However, cleaning your windows is an important part of your home’s maintenance. Dirt and grime not only detract from the appearance of your home but also cause potential risk of scratching your windows. Though it may never become your favorite chore, cleaning your windows can be accomplished quickly and easily with a little preparation and the right tools.

What You’ll Need:

  1. Squeegee: Invest in a high-quality squeegee with a metal head and replaceable blades. They come in a variety of sizes, so make sure to choose one that will fit your window panes. If you have tall or hard to reach windows, make sure to buy one with a removable pole extension.
  2. Garden Hose or Soft Bristle Brush: These are used to pre-clean your windows and remove any large debris or cob-webs. Make sure the bristles are soft enough not to scratch the glass or surrounding framework.
  3. Bucket and Sponge or Spray Bottle: Depending on the size or location of the panes, you will either want to apply your cleaning solution with a spray bottle or sponge. Some squeegees have scrubbing cloths that fit over the rubber blade for this purpose, as well.
  4. Towels or Newspaper: No matter how adept you are with the squeegee, you will have to detail with a cloth of some sort. Paper towels are not recommended, as they leave lint and streaks on your windows. For ultimate shine, use crumpled newspaper, cloth diapers, or an old t-shirt.
  5. Cleaning Solution: Expensive, often toxic, store bought cleaners are unnecessary. Use equal parts distilled white vinegar and water for an effective, safe, and environmentally-friendly solution.

Tips for Window Cleaning:

  1. Make sure to clean your windows in moderate temperatures and on a cloudy day. Too much sun will cause your cleaning solution to dry too rapidly and cause streaks.
  2. Prepare your exterior windows by spraying them with a garden hose to remove excess dirt. Use a soft brush to remove dirt from your interior panes. Don’t forget to clean the sills, frames, screens and blinds at the same time. Again, be careful not to scratch the glass or surrounding materials.
  3. After applying your cleaning solution, squeegee or wipe with a towel from the top down to avoid drips. If using a squeegee, make sure to wipe blade between passes.
  4. Finish by polishing your windows to a high shine with a clean, dry cloth, newspaper, or blackboard eraser.

With just a little time and effort, you’ll have sparkling, streak-free windows that are the envy of the neighborhood. Of course, with just a little money, you could hire someone else to do it!