Tips for cleaning windows. Post your ideas.
Don't use your paper towels to clean those windows - use 2 small old kitchen towels! 1 to get the dirt off and 1 to shine up the window
By Kelly Wakefield
When I try to clean windows they just seem to go all smeary. What am I doing wrong? Someone told me I should jus carry on rubbing but this doesn't work either. Am I using too much spray or what?
By Paula W (Guest Post) 03/12/2005
Something I've always heard is that you shouldn't clean the windows when the sun is shining directly on them. This tip does seem to help keep the streaking down because the glass doesn't dry as fast.
I liberally apply a water, vinegar, and detergent mix from a spray bottle; and then I rub the window down with an old T-shirt to get the heavy spots and grime off. Sometimes I use a squeegie and then a wadded newspaper rub to finish off--sometimes just the wadded newspaper does the trick. The wadded-up newspaper is a GREAT final polishing tool to get the windows really sparkling and flawless.
I can recommend the microfibre Sabco window cloths. They work best from dry if you only have a small window but obviously you need to rinse them out if you are doing more than one window. My front windows were filthy after building work and I used the cloths with a plain water spray bottle, (as recommended). I couldn't believe how quick it was, and no streaks or smears. They even took of dried on splashes of water from concrete spreading. If you prefer chemical free, or not having to buy window cleaning products, these cloths are the way to go. They are not expensive - mine were about $3 Australian.
For many, many years I have used old bedsheets to clean windows. Just tear old sheets into nice size squares. No lint to contend with.
My favorite recipe is to combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent in a spray bottle.
By accident I discovered a great way to clean the outside of my windows. My husband was washing the car using Blue Coral and and I wanted to wash the front porch windows and storm door so I dipped my sponge into his bucket. Swished the windows on the porch and rinsed them with the garden hose. I was going to dry them with a cloth but by the time I got to that they were dry and streak free. There was a nice breeze blowing that day and the sun wasn't shinning real bright. I guess conditions were perfect. I'm going to try that again this year. It made the job very easy, quick and effortless. It amazed me.
I always get streaks if I put any detergent in my windwo cleaner. I use vinegar and water, and that helps keep my windows clean. I have 4 llarge windwos in my family room, and keeping them clean is a chore.
You can use crumpled up newspaper to really make the windows shine. My favorite, though, is old cotton diapers. Do they even make them now?
I once saw some old-fashioned and lint-free dish towels which I should have bought for cleaning.
Sometimes I use rubbing alcohol for small mirrors and windows.
By jkv. (Guest Post) 03/13/2005
Try using some wind shield cleaner mixed with water for cleaning windows. I use this all the time.
By Elizabeth Osborne (Guest Post) 03/13/2005
I use newspapers to dry my windows after cleaning them in a solution i make up. I use 1 cup of vineagar, 1/2 cup of ammonia , and 2 tablspoons of cornstarch to a pan of warm water. Then I dry them with newspapers. It does streak or it gives them such a great shine too.
Metholayted spirits and news paper works wonders on glass and also warm vingear and water and combined gets paint off windows..dont need alot!!
Hope that helps some one out there!!
I agree, don't dry with paper towels as they are treated with some kind of 'softener' and that causes the smears. I don't understand why in the world they don't come out with streak-free paper towels to be used specifically for glass.There certainly is a market for them!
Darween from Georgia, USA
By shirley (Guest Post) 04/01/2005
Have you ever tried shaving cream to clean the windows? I hear it leaves no streaks.
The best way to clean windows is on an overcast day (not sunny) and use old newspapers with a little Windex. They work GREAT!
By helmsprecher (Guest Post) 04/13/2005
I work at a rustic lodge in the High Uintah here in Utah, We rent out rustic cabins with large picture windows looking over the lake. We use rubbing alcohol mixed 50-50 with water. not only do we have no streaks but it does good in getting off the splattered bugs......the only problem is it does dry fast so do small sections at a time. ( this works well in the winter when it is freezing outside and you have a patio door that needs cleaned. I used this in my cleaning chores when I worked the condo in Park City in the winter.)
When washing windows, wipe up and down on one side (inside), and back and forth on the other side (outside). That way, if there are streaks, you will be able to tell which side they are on, by what direction they go.
By Becki in Indiana
I was reading your newsletter about cleaning windows, and I thought I would share a good, cheap tip. My Husband and I have had a cleaning business for over 11 years now, and we have tried a lot of different methods for cleaning windows.
But, the easiest and cheapest way is to use about 10 drops of Dawn detergent in a bucket of cool water. Then use a squeegee that has the sponge on one side and the squeegee on the other side. Dip into bucket, dripping wet, wash down window and immediately squeegee off. Just go around corners quickly with dry cloth. No need to rinse. Be sure to put down towels or something absorbent on window sill when doing inside windows. Dawn makes the windows sparkle.
By Sheila McDonald
I've found the most wonderful thing. You never have to worry about which way you wash or dry the windows. A year ago, I discovered the "Miracle Cloth". It's a microfiber cloth. NO window washing spray or anything else but plain water!
Using the Miracle Cloths, on mirrors keeps them spot- and streak free! They're wonderful! Best of all, I found them in my local DISCOUNT RETAILER (WAL-MART), in the automotive dept., in a bundle, really inexpensive. Believe me, they are the best value you will ever find!
You can dust, clean appliances, mirrors, wash windows, without any cleaning products. One to wash, and one to dry with. No rocket science and the job I hated to do most (windows) is no longer a pain!
Jackie, I agree!!! I just discovered these "Miracle" cloths about 2 months ago. You're so right...only water. I was so excited that I went around cleaning everything...lol I've certainly known about the micro weave cloths, but I have to admit, I thought it was a way to sell something else. I now have about a dozen of these. I love them!!!
I clean houses for a living and of course, do windows. I only use microfiber clothes, sometimes followed up with a lintless rag. I love the Mystic Maid clothes but they are about $12 each but they do last a long time. One thing, never use fabric softner on the microfiber clothes or you'll end up with streaks. I just hang them up or use them as soon as they come out of the washer. I threw away the Windex a long time ago!! There are alot of microfiber clothes out there and they work well. I like them because you can use them in direct sunlight. The trick to these clothes are to use hot water and squeeze them almost dry before using on window.
If you have just cleaned your windows and they are streaky, try taking a dry, unused blackboard eraser over the glass and you will see the streaking disappear. This also works for mirrors and other glass items.
By catlady (Guest Post) 07/29/2005
I use straight white vinegar and water. I can't use Windex or ammonia or other products because they make me very sick. Straight vinegar with a little water mixed in actually seems to work better for me than anything else I have tried. I don't have to scrub and it is a completely edible cleaning product (no worries about children or animals getting into it)! I just use a regular cleaning rag and any lint seems to fall off when the windows dry. I don't consider streak-free or lint-free windows a high priority, but the windows do seem to come crystal clear pretty easily with the vinegar. It's also cheap if you buy it by the gallon! I save room in the cabinets because it's multi-purpose -- use on mildew, shower, sinks, counters, floors, etc. It just smells like salad dressing on cleaning day.
Use a drop of dish soap with water to clean windows and glass. Works great and no streaks.
By Mickey Anderson from Olympia, WA
By Retired Chemist (Guest Post) 08/09/2008
Many commercial window cleaners, including Windex, contain small quantities of materials such as silicone. They are very effective at making the window "sparkling clean", unfortunately, the thin film they leave also makes dust stick more readily. An inexpensive alternative is the least expensive premixed automotive windshield antifreeze you can find (usually blue) at your corner gas station. It's usually a mixture of methyl alcohol (so don't drink it) and water. Because of the alcohol, it is very effective at cutting most household grimes, and dries quickly. By the way, the "sparkling" agents used in many commercial window cleaners also tend to be lubricants, so don't use them to clean things like the paper pickup wheels on printers - they may look nice but they also won't grab the paper the way they're supposed too.