6 min readDo you love that feeling of looking out of freshly cleaned windows? Windows so clean it looks like they almost aren’t there?
Most homeowners would agree there is something very satisfying, almost therapeutic, about having crystal clear windows. Having sparkling clean windows can make your rooms feel fresher and look lighter too.
However, window cleaning isn’t the easiest chore. As professional window cleaners, we speak to many clients who have called us to help them because they find it too difficult and time-consuming to clean their windows. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some easy and practical window cleaning hacks to save you time and to help you get better results.
Window cleaning hacks to save time
Do yourself a favour and use a squeegee
Many homeowners or tenants find that spray-on window cleaning products often smear dirt and grease around rather than eliminating it. Others who wash their windows with a hose and tap water have found that over time the minerals in the water etch into the glass, damaging the window like an old shower screen.
There’s a reason why professional window cleaners swear by squeegees – they do the best job. Rather than just moving the dirt and residue around, a good scrub and a squeegee eliminates the dirt and grime from the glass. Using a squeegee is faster than cleaning windows with a spray and wipe product. It takes a little bit to find your rhythm with the technique but play around and have some fun with it.
The ultimate window washing solution – dishwashing detergent
You may find this one of the most surprising tips in this article. The secret ingredient to making an effective window cleaning solution is a typical household dishwashing liquid. I think that Morning Fresh makes the best solution due to its highly concentrated formula.
Creating the solution is easy. First, half fill a bucket of water, tap water is fine. If you live in a colder climate, a good idea is to fill your bucket with warm water to make your window cleaning experience a little more comfortable. Second, give the water a substantial dousing with your preferred dishwashing detergent. Use a water to detergent ratio similar to what you would use for cleaning your car.
Learn a simple squeegee technique to clean like a pro
Once you have purchased a decent squeegee and you’ve mixed up a batch of window cleaning solution, you are set to clean windows like a professional. However, there is some technical tips required for using a squeegee. To get started, the best technique to learn is what we call in the business the ‘wipe and swipe’ method. Heads up, you will need some dry, old towels and a clean microfiber cloth for best results. Here’s how to do it:
- If working on the inside of your home, place an old towel on the ground to collect any excess water.
- Using a rag or sponge, apply the window cleaning solution to the glass. Scrub the glass as little or as much as necessary. Dust will wash away quite easily, while mud or bird poo may require a little extra elbow grease.
- Now you’re ready to remove the dirty water and residue from the glass with the squeegee. At the top of the glass window, place your squeegee rubber hard up against the top frame. While applying slight pressure, drag the squeegee down the glass all the way to the bottom of the window frame. You will now have left a clean section of glass the width of the squeegee.
- Most windows are going to be wider than your squeegee length. You will have to repeat this process. To get the best finish, wipe the squeegee rubber dry in between each stroke, hence the name of the method, ‘wipe and swipe’.
- To improve your technique, angle the squeegee down onto the already clean part of the glass. This will funnel the dirty water out the back of the squeegee, and you will not leave streaks.
- Finally, clean up the edges of the window frames with a dry rag, particularly the top edge. The last thing you want after you clean a window is to have a bead of water drop down and ruin your great work.
Oh no, I made a mistake!
Don’t stress if you leave a streak or small drips of water on the glass. Even professionals make mistakes sometimes. The key is to wipe the streak or water off before it dries. This is best done by using a clean microfiber cloth. Make sure the section of microfiber you use to wipe off the streak is completely dry. Otherwise, you will leave horrible streaks and lines on your sparkling clean windows. The first few times you wash your windows you may go through a fair few microfiber cloths, but with practice and patience, you will get better and faster. Eventually, it will be rare that you leave streaks.
Clean everything, not just the glass.
This hack is for when you want to give your windows or home a very thorough clean. Cleaning the glass is the fun part of window cleaning, but before you start rocking with your new squeegee technique it is best to clean the tracks, sills and screens. Here are a few steps to follow to get the best results.
Tracks and sills:
- Agitate the dirt in the tracks with a thin brush. You can generally find a brush for cleaning tracks at your local hardware store. Sometimes they are labelled as a grout cleaning brush.
- Once the dirt is agitated use a vacuum to remove it.
- If your tracks haven’t been cleaned for a while, you may have to continue to agitate and vacuum until you’re satisfied.
- If your windows slide vertically, like traditional colonial windows, you won’t have tracks, but you will have sills. Cleaning sills is straightforward, slide the window up and wipe them with a wet cloth.
- If you have standard mesh fly screens the best way to clean them is to take them out of the window, scrub them with a soapy sponge and hose them off. Let them dry and then put them back in after you have finished all the window cleaning.
- If you have security screens that don’t come out of the window frame, you will have to wash them in place. You can do this in two ways, either hosing them or wiping them with a cloth. If you decide to hose them off, be sure to check that the window is properly sealed so that you don’t flood your home.
Steel wool is your friend
Sometimes you may clean a window, look back and notice that there is just a little mark or smudge that you missed. Maybe a tiny bit of bird poo didn’t quite come off when you scrubbed and squeegeed the window. It would be a pain to have to clean the window all over again. This is where a super-fine grade steel wool comes in handy. The steel wool will buff out the mark or residue, and in most cases will not scratch the window. Find fine steel wool at your local hardware store, it is often in the paint section.
If you decide to use steel wool, be sure to test it doesn’t scratch the glass, perhaps on a section of glass that is not in any line of vision. Also, be very careful using steel wool on tinted windows, depending on the type of tint it can scratch the film.
Leave the most difficult parts to the professionals
Cleaning windows yourself and using a window cleaner is not always mutually exclusive. If you would like to clean your own windows to save some money, but some parts of your home are too difficult, you can have a window cleaner quote the most difficult windows.
Here are some examples of what you could have a window cleaner do to make the job easier for yourself without breaking the bank:
- Windows that need to be accessed by a ladder, as well as windows that are only accessible from the roof.
- Only exterior windows, which are generally dirtier.
- Cleaning glass only, leaving tracks and screens to be done separately.
The best way to find out more about this option is to speak to a window cleaner in your local area. A good window cleaning business will be flexible with the service packages they provide. However, be mindful that often residential window cleaning businesses have a minimum charge.
When you get the hang of using a squeegee, and you put these tips into practice, window cleaning can be quite satisfying. Plugin your headphones, play your favourite music and get into a groove. Once you have found your window cleaning rhythm, you will enjoy yourself. All the best with your new window cleaning techniques!