Tools & Tips: Easy Window Cleaning

From on October 06, 2008 in Window Replacement

window2.jpgThere is nothing worse than opening the curtains to let the bright morning rays of sunlight into your living room, only to see a dirty window. If you live in an area that has endured smoke and ash like the Northwest has, you know what I’m talking about. So how do you get those windows clean and achieve that crystal-clear view?

Getting perfectly clean windows really depends on the right tools and techniques of window cleaning, and that means, doing it the way the pros do it. Most of us want to start with the inside windows, after all it’s easier, but cleaning the outside should be done first. You will then know for sure you have clean windows when you do get to the inside. So let’s get started.


  • Scrubbers look like a squeegee with a lamb’s wool or a medium nap fleece cover. If you have something on the window like tree sap or something sticky and hard to remove, use a porcupine scrubber or one with medium length synthetic hairs with small barbs or coarse tips.
  • Squeegees should be used with flexible, replaceable blades in assorted sizes. For larger windows, use 18” widths, and for smaller windows, use 3”- 5” widths. The blades should be rubber and slide into a brass channel held firmly by brass clamps. Avoid using car squeegees or shower squeegees on your windows. The cost with an extension is about $10.00 each.
  • Lint free cloths or a chamois will dry window edging and help remove water and dirt from the squeegees. These cloths are knit type fabrics and can be found in paint stores, are inexpensive, and are one of the secrets of the professionally cleaned window.
  • Scrapers with plastic blades or razor blades are used to remove paint or stubborn, hard debris. Use a light touch to remove the spot of concern so as not to scratch the glass. Never use more than fine, grade 000 steel wool, especially on tinted windows.
  • Odd supplies like a bucket, vinegar, a light dish soap, and a clean blackboard eraser are the little tricks of the trade.


  1. Start with a gallon of warm water in a bucket; add a teaspoon of dish soap and a half-cup of vinegar. This will make the water slippery so the dirt can be collected and removed easily. Most of us use a towel or paper towels, and this only spreads the dirt around.
  2. Dip your scrubber into the solution, squeezing the excess out of the wool applicator. Rinse the scrubber frequently for as many times as you apply the soap. Overlap your cleaning strokes in half circle motions.
  3. Now use the squeegee best suited to the size of the window. Cut a line horizontally across the window, wiping the blade dry with your lint free cloth or chamois after each stroke. If you don’t wipe the squeegee each time, you will leave water lines on the window. When stroking the window, set the blade at an angle, this way the water will run down the glass ahead of the blade and only on one side. After each stroke across the window, there will be small triangles of water left at the side of the window. Use a final stroke vertically from top to bottom to remove. You may need to do this all the way across the window, wiping the blade each time, until the window is clean and dry. You will get the hang of this with practice.
  4. Use a clean, dry cloth or chamois to wipe the edges and sills of the window. Wipe the entire glass with a clean, dry cloth for the perfect touch up.
  5. Big tip of the process is to NEVER wash your windows in direct sunlight. The sun superheats the glass and will cause streaking no matter what you do. If streaks do occur, don’t rewet your windows, instead, remove the streaks with a blackboard eraser.

The right tools and techniques of any job can make such a difference for anything you set out to do, and window cleaning is no exception. Now that the dreaded job is done, you won’t have to worry for at least a year and you will enjoy those beautiful fall sunrises and the colors shining through, not the dirt.