Learn how to wash windows and get a streak-free shine without putting yourself in danger
It’s easy to overlook how dirty our windows get. We look through them every day, but we rarely look AT them. And then one day you notice the trees don’t look so green, or your neighbor’s house has gone from white to dull gray. It might be time to wash your windows.
But figuring out how to wash windows from the outside is more challenging than washing them inside. Especially if you have second- or third-floor windows, they can be hard to reach. You could, of course, hire a window cleaning service, but it you’re more the do-it-yourself type, there are a few ways to wash those outdoor windows and renew your view of the world.
How to Wash Windows
Like any project, the right tools make the job easier. For window cleaning, you’ll need a spray bottle, sponge, bucket, cleaner, a squeegee, and a microfiber cloth. You can use a commercial window cleaner or make your own. Both Martha Stewart and Bob Vila recommend using a blend of one part white vinegar with two parts water (or a one-to-one ratio for dirtier windows).
Step 1: Wash your window frames
You don’t want dirt from grimy window frames to ruin your clean windows. Give the window frames a once over with warm soapy water before you move on to the window panes.
Step 2: Give them a rinse
Since outside windows don’t get cleaned that often, start by spraying them with your garden hose. Once you finish, fill your bucket with warm water and dish soap, and use a sponge or sponge mop to gently wipe them down. Refill the bucket with clean water and soap when it gets too dirty. Rinse again with your hose. This should get rid of most of the dust, dirt, snow residue, bird droppings, and other grime that accumulates on windows.
Step 3: Spray and squeegee
Next spray windows one at a time with your cleaner or water and vinegar solution. You can also spray your mop with the solution and apply it to the windows that way. Wipe the window with the squeegee by moving across the window, starting at the top and moving to the bottom. Angle your squeegee slightly downward to help prevent streaks. Wipe the squeegee with a clean, dry cloth before each new pass across the window.
Step 4: Dry
Wipe the edges of the window and any spots you missed with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
Step 5: Relax
Pour yourself a nice glass of iced tea and take in the beautiful view that those clean windows give you.
10 Bonus Tips
How to Wash Windows With Ease
1. If you have new windows, you’re in luck. In most cases, you can open them from the inside and wash them.
2. As you wash your windows, make sure to keep your sponge clean, otherwise you'll just spread dirt.
3. For tall windows or windows too high to reach from the ground, have someone help you secure a sturdy ladder. Move the ladder for each window; don’t reach or lean.
4. Skip the paper towels. Most won’t thoroughly dry your windows, and they may leave lint and debris on your otherwise clean windows.
5. Wash your windows on a cloudy day. It may seem counterintuitive, but if it is too hot or sunny, the cleaning solution could dry on your windows and leave streaks that are difficult to remove.
6. Remove stickers or sticky residue by saturating it with your vinegar and water solution. Let it stand for a few minutes and use a “scrubbie” sponge to very gently wipe the window clean.
7. Don’t forget your screens. Dirty screens can ruin the view just as much as dirty windows. It’s ideal if you can remove them and clean them separately. Rinse them with water, spray with a water and vinegar solution, and rinse again.
8. You can also use your squeegee to clean inside. Don’t miss a chance to make your cleaning tasks easier.
9. Use an extension handle for your sponge and squeegee to further your reach without using a ladder.
10. Accept imperfection, especially with hard-to-reach windows. It’s much better to have a few streaks than to hurt yourself trying to reach a window that isn’t easy to get to.
You put a lot of work into keeping your home in good shape, so why not make sure that work is protected? Home insurance from Pekin Insurance is a great way to ensure your investment is taken care of. Get in touch with your local Pekin Insurance agent today.