Sea Clear Window Washing & Pressure Cleaning LLC uses various tools to clean windows inside and out. They spray the windows and wipe them down with a microfibre cloth or sponge. They also squeeze the frames and sills, drying them with a lint-free paper towel, sheet of newsprint, or swatch of cotton percale after each pass.

window cleaning

Keeping your windows sparkling clean is a job that requires the right tools and technique. It’s best to start with a bucket, like the Ettore Super Bucket, that’s big enough for your squeegee and has accurate dimensions so it doesn’t overflow when you pour soapy water in. You’ll also need a squeegee rubber (our top pick is the Unger OptiLoc), a squeegee blade for scraping off excess water, a microfiber cloth or surgical towel for detailing and lint-free wiping, and a scrubber or nylon mop to get the grime off of stubborn windows.

Avoid the mistake of spraying cleaner directly onto dirty windows, which will simply smear it around the glass and leave hard-to-remove streaks. If there’s dirt or dust on the window frames, sweep it or suck it up with a vacuum cleaner before you start cleaning the windows. If your windows have a lot of smudges, it’s a good idea to do the bottom of each one first, working from the corner to the center to prevent drips and splashes.

Don’t use a brush on glass screens, as this can scratch them and leave permanent stains. If you have to, brush or suck the screen before wiping it down with warm, soapy water. Finally, don’t work in the blazing sun, as the cleaning solution will dry too quickly and leave hard-to-remove, dried streaks.

Another common mistake people make is over-wiping the window glass. Over-wiping can re-encourage dust to settle on the glass, which will then be smeared across the surface with the next swipe of the squeegee. Instead, try a fanning method, where you make short strokes in several directions with the squeegee to move the cleaning solution around the surface of the window.

As with cleaning any glass surface, the preparation needed to clean windows varies according to the type of window and what you’re trying to remove from it. You’ll need a bucket, a scrubber, a squeegee, a cleaning solution, and soft microfiber or lint-free cloths. Some solutions have chemicals added to them, while others are just water and soap. Some solutions even contain etching agents to remove mineral buildup and make your windows sparkle after you’ve finished washing them.

Before you begin cleaning, set out towels beneath each window to keep water splatter off the floor. Close any blinds or curtains and shake out or vacuum fabric window treatments (labeling each one so you know which window it belongs to). If your windows have screens, remove them and wipe them down with a rag or vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.

You’ll also need to clear a path so you can easily reach all of the windows in your home. If you have patio furniture, potted plants, or decorative knick-knacks on or near the windows, move them away to prevent damage. And if there are trees or shrubs that are too close to the house, trim them back so they don’t get in the way when you’re spraying down the windows.

Depending on the state of your windows, you may need to use newspaper or another absorbent material like a chamois or microfiber cloth to give them a final, streak-free shine. This trick is an oldie but goodie and still a favorite among professional detailers. Newspaper absorbs water, oils, and cleaning solution to leave your windows gleaming. For a truly sparkling finish, smear on a little vinegar or glass cleaning fluid with your dry microfiber cloth.

A simple cleaning solution of water and vinegar is the best nontoxic way to clean windows. It works better than store-bought window cleaners, which often contain chemicals and abrasives that leave streaks. Vinegar also contains acetic acid, which dissolves mineral deposits and greasy smudges. Mix a few drops of essential oil in the cleaning mixture to mask the vinegar’s strong odor if desired.

Choose a cloudy day for window cleaning. The sun’s rays can dry the windows too quickly and cause spots. Before you start, wipe the window sill and frame with a lint-free cloth to remove any drips or water spots. You can also use a paper towel or crumpled newspaper to absorb excess water on the edges of the window.

Start with a bucket of clean, cool water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap if you wish, but it is not necessary. Pour a small amount of the solution on the window. Wash the glass using a microfiber cloth or sponge mop, and rinse with a hose. You can also clean windows with a rubber-bladed squeegee. A squeegee requires extra care and skill, as you must avoid streaking and damaging the window. Make sure you are using a clean, lint-free cloth to wipe the squeegee between strokes and to clean off the blade after each stroke.

If you want to get your windows really sparkling clean, spray the surface with your homemade cleaner and wipe it using a lint-free microfiber cloth or squeegee. Be careful not to spray the cleaner on the frames or tracks, which can etch and scratch the glass. If your windows have removable screens, vacuum them before wiping them down. Removing the screens makes it easier to clean them, and it’s a good idea to do this regularly (at least twice per year).

Once the windows are wet, use a clean, dry towel to wipe away any marks or smudges. A nonabrasive cleaner like rubbing alcohol works best, but some DIY window cleaning recipes call for a mix of vinegar and dish soap. Avoid getting cleaners or solvents on wood, fiberglass or vinyl frames—it can discolor them.

Professionals use a soft, smooth tool that they dunk into the cleaning solution and glide across the glass surface. You can mimic this technique with a clean microfiber cloth, available at most hardware and cleaning supplies stores. Look for a cloth that’s made-for-glass and labeled as lint free, rather than one used for general household cleaning. Microfibers are more absorbent than paper towels and can eliminate streaking if you use them correctly. Avoid using cloths that have been laundered with fabric softener, as this coats the fibers and reduces their effectiveness.

When wiping, start at the top of the window and work down to prevent drips. Use the “S” method, where each swivel slightly overlaps the previous one to remove more of the water or cleaning solution. This prevents the water from drying on the glass and creating streaks.

If you find any particularly tough spots, scrub the area with a scouring pad, such as bronze wool for medium grime or a new 0000 steel pad for seriously dirty areas. Then, wipe off the squeegee and repeat the wiping and drying process to achieve flawless windows.

Be sure to rinse the squeegee and the rubber blade between swipes, and wipe down the frame and sill to avoid streaking on the glass and the trim. Also, don’t forget to re-wet the glass and squeegee before the next pass—using too little solution will cause streaking, while applying too much will leave a sticky residue.

Once all the windows are cleaned, it’s time to dry them. Professional cleaners use a large supply of cloths, with special emphasis placed on ensuring that no streaks are visible after the cleaning and drying processes. Many of these cloths are made from microfiber, which is absorbent and soft. But traditional microfiber can leave lint behind, so experts recommend using a closed-loop microfiber towel.

Using the same technique as for rinsing, start by dipping the squeegee handle in the solution and then wiping it onto the glass. Then, wipe the squeegee blade with a clean towel before starting to pull it across the window in horizontal stokes. Wet the squeegee blade to avoid skipping, and remember to concentrate on keeping it in contact with the window for the entire stroke. Once the window is completely dry, wipe down the frame and sill with a clean lint-free towel.

If you still have stubborn spots and stains, try spraying them with a mineral deposit remover (such as CLR). Be careful not to get the cleaner on the window frames, as it can discolor or corrode the finish. Also, make sure you don’t forget the window screens—rinse with plain water and a bottled cleaner, then rinse again and allow them to dry thoroughly before placing them back on the windows.

Another tip: It’s much easier to work on the windows if you can draw back any drapes and blinds, says Fisk. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to wash or dust them. And finally, don’t forget to throw away any dirty cleaning rags, towels and chamois that you used. These can attract dirt and dust right after you’ve finished cleaning the windows.