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How to clean your windows and keep them streak-free

How to clean your windows and keep them streak-free
Posted at 5:01 AM, Jun 08, 2024

Few things brighten up a space like clean, gleaming windows, but achieving that pristine finish can often feel like a difficult task. That’s why we checked with cleaning experts to bring you practical tips and techniques to banish streaks and achieve crystal-clear results every time.

Here are proven tips for window cleaning to create a clear, bright and smear-free finish every time.

1. Clean at the Right Time


The time of day you choose to clean your windows can significantly impact the results, according to Delah Gomasi, managing director and CEO of MaidForYou, a housecleaning service based in Australia.

“This is probably the most important step and a lot of people don’t know this, but you don’t want to clean windows when they’re directly exposed to the sun’s light,” Gomasi says. “So clean early in the morning or in the middle of the afternoon either after or before the sun has reached its peak.”

During these periods, the risk of your cleaning solution drying too quickly and leaving streaks is reduced. Additionally, working in the shade helps prevent premature evaporation, allowing for more thorough cleaning.

2. Use Dawn Dishwashing Soap

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap

$5.84 at Amazon

Shari Cedar, CEO of AK Building Services, a commercial cleaning company in Florida, says flat out that, “The best glass cleaner is water mixed with Dawn Dishwashing Liquid.”

Cedar says to follow these steps for clean and clear windows:

  • Use a spray bottle that has a measurement scale.
  • Mix water and Dawn in this ratio: 26 fluid oz. of water and 12 drops of Dawn.
  • Spray the solution on the glass.
  • Wipe with a clean cloth to help remove heavy fingerprints or stains.
  • Spray the solution again.
  • Now use a squeegee with a rubber edge in a downward move from top to bottom.

3. Scrub, Squeegee and Swipe


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Equip yourself with a squeegee and a soft, dry cloth. Start at the top of the pane, glide the squeegee down across the window surface. Cedar says after each pass, wipe the squeegee blade clean with the cloth and repeat as needed. Once finished, use the cloth to remove any residual soap or water, ensuring a spotless finish. The kind of squeegee you use matters too, as Gomasi explains, “We typically avoid squeegees with metal handles as these have the propensity to cause micro indentations in the glass which are only visible once clean.”

4. Use Glass Cleaner

$3.48 at Amazon

For sparkling interior windows, Gomasi says to use a specialized glass or mirror cleaner, like Windex. However, you can also try making your own natural cleaner with simple ingredients you probably already have at home. White vinegar and water make an effective cleaning solution for tackling fingerprints, smudges and streaks on all your glass surfaces. Just mix equal parts of each in a spray bottle, give it a quick shake and you’re ready to start sprucing up your windows. Gomasi notes however that there is no need to use distilled water.

5. Pass on Paper Towels

microfiber cloths

$6.39 at Amazon

While paper towels might appear convenient, they’re not the ideal choice for wiping away window cleaner. Not only do they have a tendency to leave streaks, but they can also leave behind pesky bits of paper. Instead, opt for a clean microfiber cloth or even newspaper. “If you have an old newspaper, put it to good use! Crumple it up and buff the mirror. The texture of the newspaper helps to absorb excess moisture and leaves behind a sparkling shine,” says Elizabeth Shields the Operations Manager of Super Cleaning Service in Louisville, a professional cleaning company. Microfiber cloths are some of the best cleaning products to make your life easier.

6. Use Two Cloths

Two people in green overalls cleaning windows at a newly opened office

Gomasi says, “Use a two cloth system. You’ll use one cloth and make sure it’s damp with a cleaning product (whether it’s Windex or vinegar). The other cloth is used to wipe off cleaning residue and dry. You want to do as many passes until the windows are clean.” Using two cloths when washing windows helps to achieve a streak-free finish by separating the cleaning and drying processes. It prevents streaks caused by transferring dirt or cleaning solution from the cloth to the window.

7. Try a Magnetic Cleaner

magnetic cleaner

$115.00 at Amazon

Make the job even easier especially if you have lots of windows by using a magnetic cleaner. “These are great for windows that are hard to reach or don’t open all the way. All you have to do is spritz some window cleaner on both cleaners, then attach them to both sides of the window. Wipe slowly so the magnetic components don’t separate. Always attach a string to the cleaner so if it does fall off, you won’t have to go all the way downstairs to retrieve it,” says Shields.

Achieving streak-free windows is not only attainable but also simpler than you might think. By incorporating the tips and techniques from our experts you can transform your window cleaning routine from a dreaded chore into a satisfying task with stunning results. With a little effort and the right approach, you can enjoy the satisfaction of gleaming windows that shine bright, inside and out.

This story originally appeared on Don't Waste Your Money.