The Best Window Cleaner Dos & Don'ts

Want to know how to clean windows? Find out what to do (and what not to do) to make the job go faster, easier, and better than you ever imagined it could.

DO copy the Karate Kid Leslie Reichert, aka The Cleaning Coach, swears by her "two microfiber cloths" method. Dedicate one to wiping on your cleaner of choice, and the other to wiping it off. Bam! Bring on the next window.

DON'T use chemicals Cleaning chemicals can create an electrical charge that actually attracts dust, Reichert says. Stick with water and microfiber window-cleaning cloths, or a natural, nontoxic cleaner.

DO make your own window cleaner It's cheap, natural, and does a great job! Try this recipe from Mary Findley of, a former pro cleaner and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning: Mix 1/4-cup rubbing alcohol with 1/3-cup vinegar in a 32-oz spray bottle. Fill to top of bottle with distilled water.

DON'T use newspaper to clean windows It's a popular, yet misguided tip, Findley says. "If you clean with a newspaper, it can't be recycled," she says. "Plus, it contains some pretty toxic chemicals, including the ink that comes off on your hands."

DO break up the job Does just thinking about cleaning all your windows at once leave you in a state of paralyzing overwhelm? Instead, break the job up into more easy-to-imagine blocks, such as a room or two a day -- or week, even. Schedule the time on your calendar, and complete it as you would any other to-do. Easy.

DON'T clean windows in direct sunlight Heat dries the glass too quickly, upping your chance of water spots and smears, Reichert says. Shade and a cloudy, cool day are ideal.

DO act like a pro If you're up for it, try skipping cloths in favor of a squeegee. Quality counts, says Findley, who recommends squeegees found in hardware or janitorial supply stores. Replace the blade regularly, too, as worn rubber equals streaks.


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