The Best Way to Wash Your Windows

A Compendium of Tips, Tricks, Advice & Info

Pin it button big

Let the sunshine in! Not all of us have such lovely large windows like these (from Meg & John's place) but that doesn't mean that we get out of the much maligned chore of window washing. It's getting to the perfect time of year to do a good thorough job before the weather gets too cold to work outside comfortably. To get you ready ...

...for your own beautiful, sparkling, streak-free windows, we compiled this list of good tips, tricks, advice and lots of info:

Top Tip: Do this chore on a cloudy day. Sunshine causes streaks, as the windows will dry too quickly.

First Things First: According to wikiHow (and common sense), wash indoors first - the outdoor job will be much dirtier and you'll go through your tools and cleaner faster.

Homemade Window Cleaner: Cheap and green! Mix equal parts white vinegar with warm water. Alternate: one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid to several gallons of water. If cleaning in very low temperatures, adding 1/4 cup denatured alcohol to a quart of cleaner will keep the cleaner from freezing.

The Basic How-To:

  • Brush exterior surface to remove dirt. Vacuum the interior area with brush attachment.
  • Use a sponge to wet the glass with cleaning solution and scrub the entire surface.
  • Squeegee the window in a (horizontal or vertical, up to you) swipe, starting at the top or one side, wipe the blade, do a second swipe with a two inch overlap of the first swipe, wipe the blade. Repeat.
  • Use a clean, dry cloth to touch up the edges and any drips.
  • Clean and dry the frame.

    New to Using a Squeegee? A photo step by step can be found right here at Readers Digest.

    Good for Touching Up Around Edges and Drying: Microfiber cleaning cloths, crumpled newspaper, a chamois or lint-free rag (see Martha's list below for more cloth suggestions).

    Don't Forget: to put down a towel along the windowsills indoors to catch drips.

    Trick for Spotting Streaks from "How to Do Just About Anything" : Wipe one side of the glass with horizontal strokes only. Wipe the other side with vertical strokes. If you get a streak you know right where to go to remove them with a soft, dry cloth.

    The Contents of Martha Stewart's Window Washing Kit:

  • Soft bristled counter brush
  • White vinegar or mild dishwashing liquid
  • Large Polyester or Natural Sea Sponges
  • Squeegees with extension poles
  • Lint-free cloths (huck cloth or cloth diapers) which have not been washed or dried with fabric softener (which can leave behind a residue that will streak glass)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Straight edged razor blade
  • Nonammoniated all-purpose cleaner
  • How to Remove Window Decals From Real Simple Cleaning: Dollop mayonnaise on the spot, then scrape it off with an old credit card. The oils in the mayo dissolve the adhesive, and the card won't scratch the glass.

    Please add your best tips and tricks for window washing to the comments below for future updates to the post - thanks!

    Tips, Tricks, Advice and Info compiled from experience, books (Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook, Real Simple Cleaning, How to Do Just About Anything) and the web (WikiHow and Readers Digest).

    Image: Janel Laban from Meg & John's Big City Home