How to Clean Windows

Improve the view and stay on top of home maintenance chores with these easy ideas for how to clean windows.


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Compare a clean window with a dirty one, and it's a contrast that's nearly as startling as that between day and night. Streak- and grime-free windows offer a lovely way to enjoy the outdoors, as well as an uninterrupted path for sunshine to enter into your interior spaces. But many people avoid this task because they are unsure how to clean windows. Luckily, it takes just a bit of planning and a little elbow grease. Here are five must-follow steps for cleaning windows.

Clean Windows in Five Simple Steps

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  • Pick the perfect day. Don't want to waste a sunny day chasing away the dirt and grime on windows? You're not alone—and you're in luck. One of the best pieces of advice for how to clean windows is to pick a cloudy day. The absence of sunlight will help to minimize the chance of streaks. Lack of glaring sunlight also enables you to better see—and better clean—the windows.
  • Use your vacuum first. There's a lot of dust and dirt that can accumulate inside the sills of your windows, and once that gets wet you'll be left with muddy streaks to clean up. That's why an essential step cleaning windows properly is to hook up the vacuum first, using hose attachments to clean out the interior side of your windows.
  • Hose down the exterior. There's one crucial step that many people skip when learning how to clean windows: an exterior hose-down. Close all your windows and use a garden hose to spray the outside. You'll remove the first layer of dirt and make the detail work that much easier.
  • Hand-wash screens and glass panes. How you wash individual windows depends on the type of windows you have. Newer versions flip open, enabling you to clean both the outside and inside from the same spot. Older ones might be stationary, which means you'll have to use a ladder to clean the exteriors. Most will allow you to remove the screens and clean them separately. Clean glass panes with a window cleaner. Screens may be cleaned with warm, soapy water, either on a paved outside area or in a bathtub.
  • Dry the glass. There are few things that can ruin freshly cleaned windows quicker than gobs of left-behind lint. Instead of paper towels, utilize a lint-free option—clean coffee filters, crumpled newsprint, or a microfiber or flour-sack towel. Or, try a small squeegee with a sharp, nick-free rubber blade.
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