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Cleaning Windows (Inside and Outside)

Hand holding a squeegee swiping soap off a window.

Cleaning windows can be daunting taks but there are ways to make the job easier. This is a guide about cleaning windows inside and out.



Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Cleaning Windows with a Mop

I figured this out years ago because I am short and we have lots of windows that need to be washed using a step ladder. Buy an inexpensive liquid dishwasher detergent (for a dishwasher) that has a "sheeting action" in the soap. Fill a bucket with warm water and stir in 1 cup of dishwashing detergent (for a dishwasher).

Go outside and set up your garden hose for rinsing the windows. First rinse the window with clear water. Then using a sponge mop on a handle dipped into the detergent, wash your window. Follow with a clean water rinse and let dry. The sheeting action of the detergent will leave the windows streak free.

By Shirley from Vicksburg, MI

Tip: Cleaning Outside Windows Cheaply and Easily

I hated cleaning our outside windows. It was a lot of work. Expensive too.
I was looking for a way to clean them cheaply on the fly without breaking my back.

Now I buy the cheapest off-season windshield washer fluid I can find, usually a no-name brand, dump it undiluted into a pail and using a telescopic long handled window cleaner sponge/scraper, the job is done in no time without having the backache afterwards that I always used to get.

Suggestions: Buy the summer time windshield washer in the fall when everyone wants to get rid of inventory, and vice versa in the spring when the winter fluid is on sale. You can get a gallon for little over $1.

Use a rectangular shaped pail instead of a round one. You can get these at the dollar store. It's easier for the window cleaning tool to get in and out of.


Tip: Cleaning Windows

Ever wonder how window washers get those skyscrapers so clean and shiny? My son used to be a window washer, here is how they do it! Take a bucket of warm water, add JOY dish soap (only use Joy), and a drop of ammonia if the weather is cold. Apply then squeegee off. Great for windows, mirrors, and bathtub tiles!

Source: My son, now the plumber!

By Jodi from Aurora, CO

Tip: Washing Windows Without Streaks

Use vertical strokes when washing windows outside and horizontal for inside windows. This way you can tell which side has the streaks. Straight vinegar will get outside windows really clean.

Don't wash windows on a sunny day. They will dry too quickly and will probably streak.

By Jodi from Aurora, CO

Tip: Simple Clean Windows With Water

Clean your windows with just water. I slightly dampen a clean terry cloth towel/rag with water and clean my windows with them. You may have to experiment to get the towel just moist enough to do the job without getting it so moist it leaves water spots. Try misting a towel with about 20 shots of water.

Water is great for cleaning surfaces that don't need to be disinfected. It won't streak and the price it right.

By Ann from Saint Peters, MO

Tip: Outside Windows the Easy Way!

Into a bucket place:

1 cup Cascade

Fill bucket with hot water

Notice the suds! If they go away during the cleaning process, pour mixture out and start over.

Wet window with hose. Using a "clean" (this is important) car washing brush (with handle), dip the brush in cascade solution then scrub window and frame beginning at the top, rinse.


Rinse each window and window facing before proceeding to next section (ie: if window is large, wash top, rinse and then do bottom.)

The object here is to rinse windows before solution dries. I can do the top and bottom of one window before I have to rinse. If your Cascade solution dries, you have to do entire window over.

I have 20 long windows on my ground floor. I can clean all of them in about 30 minutes.

Added benefit: this solution also gets rid of spiders living in your windows.

By Frances

Tip: Use a Telescopic Window Washer

If you have a problem reaching for cleaning windows or anything high inside or out, purchase a telescopic window washer; the kind they use for cleaning bus windows. It works like a charm!

By Cheryl from Nova Scotia, Canada

Tip: Clean Glass With Joy Dish Detergent

Joy dish detergent works great for cleaning glass tables and windows. It doesn't leave streaks. I use it faithfully.

By donb from Nicholasville, Kentucky

Tip: Old T-Shirts For Cleaning Windows

We live in an area where the air is not one of the cleanest. I love to have clean, sparkling windows to look out and let the light in. To keep them that way, I am cleaning them once a week, inside and out. I was using way too many paper towels, so I then went to using wadded up newspapers, but did not like the way the newspapers cleaned the windows.

I have a huge bag of my husband cotton T-shirts he has discarded, so I started using them to clean all my windows. I am so happy, my windows look great. I can wash and use the T-shirts again and again! Try it, you will find the T-shirts leave your glass spot and streak free, plus I am saving money and trees by not using paper towels.

By Bobbie G from Rockwall, TX

Tip: For the Cleanest Windows in Town

Mix white vinegar 50 - 50 with water and put in a spray bottle. Spray it on generously, let saturate for about 30 seconds and use a microfiber cloth to polish up those windows. It will amaze you.

By Marilyn from Mansfield, TX

Tip: Alternative to Microfiber Cloth

Forget microfibre cloths and proprietary cleaners. Place a sheet of newspaper in a basin of water; if it doesn't disintegrate, it's ideal for cleaning glass (windscreens, mirrors, panes). Squeeze and go over twice; finish with a dry piece of newspaper. Recycling and saving, and being kind to the environment (no detergents) at one go.

By Tanja from Santa Venera, Malta, Europe

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Here are questions related to Cleaning Windows (Inside and Outside).

Question: Cleaning the Outside of Windows from Inside

Two story house.Is there a method or gadget to clean the outside of your windows from the inside? My upstair windows are too high to do from outside.

By Bob Y.

Question: Squeegee Leaving Black Marks on Windows

I'm a window cleaner and I've been cleaning my customer's windows this week and I've left black blade marks on my customer's windows. I just put Fairy in my water. Any ideas why this is happening or has any window cleaner had the same problem?

By Jeff

Question: Cleaning the Outside of Windows

I want to ask what is the best solution for washing outside windows. I do enjoy this website. Many thanks.

By Marie

Question: Cleaning Windows

I do not know what is on my windows. Whatever it is it smudges and stays on them when I wash them. They actually look foggy when the sun shines in. It's on my new car windows, too. I've tried everything I can think of to remove it, but nothing works.

I live in a fairly wooded area and I think it's something from the trees. It starts out as a very very small white/clear dot and when I wash them it smears and nothing will touch it


Most Recent Answer

By jean leiner09/26/2012

My husband has to park his car under pine trees at work.(assigned parking places) The sap can be removed with rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, or WD-40. Scrub the area with a rag soaked with one of these. When the window stops feeling tacky to the touch, wash with your usual method. Do not get on the paint of your car as it will cause damage. The rubbing alcohol and an old tee shirt seeem to work best for me, followed by Windex. The alcohol I use comes from the dollar store, making this the most economical method. Hope this helps.

Question: Removing Contact Paper From Windows

I am trying to remove Contact paper off my upper bedroom window. It has become baked on after 4 yrs. I have used Awesome liquid (I buy it at the Dollar Store for $1), undiluted, to remove the glue from windows. However, the Contact paper is not coming off. I need help ASAP. The apartment posted a note on my door yesterday, saying it had to be off yesterday. I need to know what to remove it all today. (7-18-2012). Thank you.

By Loretta Marie

Most Recent Answer

By Karen07/20/2012

Hi -Have you tried 'G00-Gone"? I get it in a spray bottle, but I believe it comes in small regular bottles. I wouldn't be without it. It takes the glue off all the sticky labels on things. It should work on the glue left from the contact paper.
Hope it works!

Question: Removing Greasy Spot on New Windows

I have just had new PVC windows installed and there seems to be some sort of scummy marks on the glass, it's like grease or something. Everything I have tried to clean the glass with just seems to wash over the scum and I have tried everything I can think of. Any ideas?

By Kathleen from UK

Most Recent Answer

By Dena Roberts08/04/2010

Contact your installer and tell them your problem, could be a manufacturing defect.

Question: Round Spots on Low E Window Glass

We have multiple dots developing on our low E windows. They are in the front and back of house, so it doesn't matter which direction the sun is coming from. We had the original installer out to look at them, but since they are beyond warranty, he just shrugged his shoulders and said he had never seen this problem and we were pretty much ignored.

Has anyone heard of this and what might be causing it? They spots are definite round circles as are polka dots.

By Laurie from Edmonton, Alberta

Most Recent Answer

By anne03/28/2010

Contact the window manufacturer.

Question: What Do You Use to Clean Windows?

What can I use for cleaning windows? How do I use vinegar for window cleaning?

By gauchogran from Stockton, CA

Most Recent Answer

By Carol06/07/2009

A much less expensive product is windshield washer fluid - works great for a whole lot less!

Question: Cleaning Pella Low-E Glass Windows

I have Pella low-E glass windows, approximately 40 windows. To have them professionally cleaned is costing approximately $400. Due to the low-E glass they are difficult to clean. When I do it, if the sun shines in they look like they haven't been cleaned in ten years. Any suggestions would be welcomed. I hate to keep throwing away money on something that I could easily do if I could get good results.

Mary from Kiel, WI

Most Recent Answer

By piano88810/16/2012

Whatever you do, do NOT use ammonia on low E windows. Mine were permanently stained when a window-washer cleaned them with dishwashing detergent and ammonia mixed together. Then he didn't completely remove the solution. A few days later we noticed permanent stains on the windows in these areas. The manufacturers should put a warning label on low E windows. Do NOT use ammonia.

Question: Cleaning Windows Outside

Can anyone help with a do-it-yourself solution for cleaning outside windows and screens? Sure would appreciate any good mix that works.


Most Recent Answer

By Linda (Guest Post)02/26/2009

My dear friend taught me to use full strength dish soap -- spray the windows with plain water, then squirt a bit of the dishsoap on the windows. Then use a brush or a sponge mop and scrub the window. Then just spray the suds off and you have beautiful clean windows. They dry sparkling.

Question: Removing Old Contact Paper from Windows

How do I remove contact paper from windows that have has been on over 5 years?

Catina from Heidelberg, MS

Most Recent Answer

By bumpinthedark (Guest Post)01/19/2009

Other way is to use a razor the kind used to scrape glass top ovens (only on glass windows), and then clean the sticky residue with goo gone.