3 Window-Cleaning Mistakes Keeping You From Streak-Free Glass

published Feb 11, 2021
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Few housekeeping tasks are as unforgiving as cleaning windows and mirrors. If you vacuum and miss a spot or two on the carpet, you’ll hardly notice. A laundry hamper with a lid will hide your dirty clothes until you’re ready to get to them. But streaky, cloudy windows and mirrors? Your eye goes straight to the mistakes, dulling your view of the outdoors, or making your calm morning routine a stark reminder of when you wiped the bathroom mirror down in a rush.

The real clincher is that the glass you clean can sometimes end up looking worse than before you started. Sure, the toothpaste splatters might be gone, but now you have tracks showing exactly where you dragged your rag. The frustration of cleaning and having your glass look dirtier afterward can make glass-cleaning feel futile.

Crystal clear glass, on the other hand, is thrilling. Making glass look like it’s not even there is any glass-cleaner’s goal, and you can reach that goal every time if you stop making these three mistakes:

Credit: Joe Lingeman

You’re using too much cleaning spray.

Using too much product often leads to streaks, especially if the cleaner you’re using doesn’t evaporate quickly enough. More product means more you have to wipe and that’s a waste of energy. Rather than spraying the whole pane of glass or covering the entire mirror with window cleaner, try one or two very light mists. Or try spraying a bit of product directly onto your cleaning cloth. If you use the bare minimum of product required to cut through dirt, you’ll erase smudges and films without leaving anything behind.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

You’re using the wrong kind of rag.

If you’re using a regular terrycloth rag, you’ll leave behind lint that most certainly does not make your glass look clear. Successful glass-cleaning depends on lint-free material for wipe-downs. A recommended favorite is a microfiber cloth. These won’t leave behind lint, and the dense weave of the fabric helps lift grime from the glass.

You’re not applying enough pressure when you buff.

Window cleaning definitely doesn’t require the same kind of elbow grease as scrubbing out a dirty oven, but to do it well you need to apply a bit more pressure than you might be used to. In addition to rubbing the glass harder as you’re cleaning off your glass, remember to buff the glass after you’ve wiped. This just means running your cloth over the areas you’ve already cleaned in small, circular motions. Often, you can see smears and smudges disappear before your eyes and you’re left with that diamond glass glint you crave.