It’s natural to want your windows (old or new) to look as spotless as the day they were installed. Clean windows can allow more light into your home and can make you feel more connected to the outdoors. But it can be tricky to figure out the proper way to clean your windows while avoiding the pitfalls of streaking and scratching. Here are some tips on how to clean windows like a professional without paying the professional fees.
4 Steps to Cleaning Windows Without Streaking
- Avoid using glass cleaners that are based in ammonia or alcohol. They may seem like they’d produce a more intense clean, but in reality, they can leave streaks and even a thin film that attracts dust and moisture. If you have an especially difficult spot, you can start your cleaning process by applying a solvent like acetone or rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and rubbing it directly on the spot. Wipe it dry and then continue to clean your window as you would normally.
- No matter how stubborn certain stuck-on materials may be, never use a razor or any other kind of blade to scrape them off. This can cause permanent scratches and leave your windows more vulnerable to breaking in the future.
- Use a soft, lint-free wipe when rubbing the solution. A microfiber cloth is ideal but a gentle and clean paper towel can work as well. Rub from multiple directions to help avoid streaking.
- If you find that you still have streaks after you’ve cleaned your window, simply rinse with clear water to help remove any of the remaining cleaning solution.
Types of Window Cleaning Solutions to Use
1. If you’re going to purchase a solution, use a commercial cleaner from a brand that you trust, such as our Pella Glass and Window Cleaner.
2. You can also use a pre-mixed vinegar-based solution, or even make your own with our simple window cleaning DIY below.
Homemade Window Cleaning Solution
One of our favorite window cleaning hacks is to create your own window cleaning solution using simple distilled vinegar, otherwise known as white vinegar. This is an easy-to-find product (if you don’t already have it around the house). Its acidic composition works efficiently to help break down the streaky film that can accumulate on your windows and other glass surfaces. To clean your windows with your own homemade window cleaner, follow these easy steps:
- Mix one part distilled vinegar to 10 parts warm water in a spray bottle.
- Wipe down the window with a a soft, clean, lint-free microfiber cloth or paper towel to remove dust before you spray your solution, then spray the entire surface.
- Use your lint-free towel to rub the vinegar mixture and work it into the dirty spots on your window. Feel free to be generous with the amount of cleaner you apply to the cloth or paper towel, but avoid getting any cleaning solutions on the wood, fiberglass or vinyl frames, as they may discolor the finish.
- Use a second clean cloth to dry your window as thoroughly as possible. You’ll want to do this quickly after cleaning in order to prevent streaks, so if you have multiple windows to clean, it’s best to do them fully one at a time instead of spraying all of them at once.
- Rinse with clear water if streaks remain after cleaning.
Using Vinegar to Clean Larger Windows
- If your windows are too large to clean with a spray bottle and cloth, you can mix a slightly more diluted solution in a bucket, using about one part vinegar to ten parts water.
- Dip a sponge in your bucket and moisten your window with the solution. You’ll still want to do this as quickly as you can to help avoid streaking.
- Using a damp squeegee, clean the solution from the windows by wiping from the top of the window down. Wipe the edge of the squeegee clean after each swipe to help avoid dripping.
Streak-free windows look great and feel clean. Once you have a whole home of spotless windows, it's time to clean the rest of the window. Dirt and grime can build up on the frames and cause stains or damage. It can get inside the tracks or other functioning parts and make your window stick or stop working altogether.
Clean all the other parts of the window to make sure they not only look great — the work right, too. It's just part of good window care and maintenance. And if you're not confident in your cleaning skills, you can always call in the pros for your cleaning and maintenance needs.