With four kids and a dog, the windows in my home get a lot of smudges, hand prints, paw prints, and slobber. So, to make things easier, I'll show you the best way to clean windows by breaking the process down into weekly and yearly cleaning.
Let’s start with the weekly how to clean windows, which actually takes less than a minute per room.
I use a simple cleaner called Sprayaway Glass Cleaner and a clean Microfiber Cloth.
*Quick Note... definitely use microfiber cloths on your windows and save yourself time! Microfiber cloths absorb liquids fast, don't leave streaks, and don't leave lint or dust behind like paper towels or other cleaning cloths do.
*Quick How to Clean Windows Tip... Since my windows get so dirty, I keep a bottle of Sprayway with a microfiber cloth hidden in every room. Of course you don't have to do this, but if your windows get a workout like mine, it may be a good idea to keep a bottle or two conveniently located.
To make window cleaning even faster, use both hands. Spray cleaner with one hand and wipe down with a microfiber cloth in the other.
I cheat and clean only half the window most of the time and no one can tell. When I happen to be outside and have a free moment, I’ll grab a can of Sprayway from the garage and spray any dirty windows I see and wipe up with a microfiber cloth.
How to Clean Windows Yearly
I actually enjoy the yearly window cleaning and you may even enjoy it too once you learn how to clean windows properly. No, I’m not crazy… Now that I have the hang of using a squeegee, it’s actually a quick and fun process.
You'll definitely want to invest in a good Squeegee.
Once you use this scrubber squeegee combo, you will never go back to using paper towels and Windex again. This squeegee saves time and money. Use it to quickly scrub your windows with one side, flip over and squeegee them dry with the other side.
Now that you have a squeegee, let’s clean your windows to a sparkling clean.
Gather these tools to get started:
Double sided squeegee (scrubber on one side, squeegee on the other)
Chamois or microfiber cloth
Fill the bucket with warm water and pour a little less than ¼ cup of ammonia into the bucket. Dunk the scrubber into the bucket and scrub your window.
Don’t use too much water, just enough to wet the window to dissolve the dirt and scrub it.
Wipe the squeegee blade with a damp chamois or microfiber cloth then draw the squeegee across the top of the window to stop drips (from left to right). Next, start on the left side and draw the squeegee from top down of the window. Continue using the squeegee in vertical overlapping strokes to prevent streaks.
Make sure to wipe the squeegee blade after each stroke with your chamois or microfiber cloth. Finish up by drawing the squeegee across the bottom of the window (just like you did at the top), then wipe with your cloth.
If these aren’t vacuumed out regularly, they can get really nasty with dead insects and grime. Mold can also develop when moisture hits the dirt in window tracks, so it's important to keep these cleaned out for your family's health. To clean window tracks, spray them with an all purpose cleaner like 409 and let it sit to loosen up the dirt and grime. Use a Window Track Cleaning Brush. like this to scrub, then wipe dry with a paper towel. You can also use an old sock or small rag wrapped over a small dowel or flat head screwdriver to scrub out the tracks.
If your window tracks are really dirty, just repeat this process until they sparkle.
If working on a two story house, be sure to purchase a pole to go with your squeegee. Be sure to work top down starting with the top floor and working your way down. This will prevent drips on your freshly cleaned windows.
Hard water deposits
You can do one of two things with hard water deposits on your windows. Either ignore them, or attack them with an acid cleaner like phosphoric acid. Purchase this through your local janitorial supply store. This is safe as long as you rinse the acid thoroughly when you’re done cleaning. You will want to let acid sit for a few minutes after you apply it to let it work. Then scrub with a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge and rinse.
If your windows are heavily caked with hard water stains, you may need to repeat this process . Please be sure to learn how to clean windows properly with phosphoric acid by reading the manufacturer's warnings, wear protective gloves, and use any necessary precautions before using it.
Learn how to clean double hung windows in four easy steps
Step 1: Pull the top of the double-hung window down all the way. Clean the outside of the window with your scrubber, then squeegee the outside of the window.
Step 2: Raise the inside and outside of the window up and finish cleaning the bottom of the outside window.
Step 3: Lower the inside window enough to reach above and push the outside window down all the way. Reach out the window from above, and scrub the top half of the inside window.
Step 4: Raise the outside window and lower the inside window enough to scrub the lower half of the inside window buy reaching out and up. Return the windows to position in Step 3 to squeegee the top half of the inside window. Repeat step 4 and squeegee the outside of the lower half of the inside window.
More Tips on How to Clean Windows
Don’t wash windows when the sun is shinning through them as this will cause streaks.
Make sure to keep wiping your squeegee with a damp cloth or chamois often to keep it moving smoothly across the glass.
Don’t use too much ammonia or water, less is more as you don’t want too much ammonia diluting the water (use less than ¼ cup per bucket full) and you definitely don’t want a mess of water everywhere. You just need enough water to dissolve the dirt.
If you have little drops of water left behind after you squeegee, don’t wipe, just let them air dry. You don’t want to mess up your squeegee job and cause streaks.
Whew! That's a lot to take in, but if you use these easy tips on how to clean windows, you will enjoy sparkling clean windows at a fraction of the cost to professionally clean. Besides, once you have the hang of using the scrubber squeegee, you will find window cleaning to be quick, easy, and maybe even fun!