There are few things that look as nice as sparkling clean windows on a house or building but many people often struggle to achieve this. Windows that looked spotless during cleaning may suddenly show up smudges, streaks and residue in the sunlight and make a mockery of all the time you spent cleaning it. The secret is in having the right equipment and using the right technique, so that all your efforts don’t go to waste and you can achieve the professional standards to rival those of commercial window cleaners!
The Essential Window Cleaning Kit
A squeegee will make your life much easier and it is worth investing in a good quality one, such as a professional brass or stainless steel model – usually available at hardware supply stores. Choose one about 12 inches long to start with. Next, look for a good quality scrubber and sponge and finally a lint-free cloth to finish up. A microfiber cloth is also very good for cleaning windows and leaving them spotless – and has the added bones of being environmentally-friendly.
If you’re planning to clean upstairs windows, then you will need to either use a ladder (and ask a friend or family member to supervise for your safety) or invest in the range of extendable/telescopic products especially designed for tackling elevated windows. These include extendable water fed poles which actually clean the windows and extendable squeegees to wipe away the excess cleaning solution and water.
In addition to tools, it is also important that you have the right type of cleaning solution. This can either be commercial window cleaning products or home-made cleaning solutions, which can be just as effective; for example, vinegar or lemon juice diluted in water makes a fantastic window cleaner and simple detergent will also do the job.
Using The Equipment Correctly
Start by using the scrubber dipped in water to get as much excess dirt off the window as possible – use lots of water if you have to. You can also use a damp cloth to wipe any dirt off, although be careful and avoid rubbing at any ingrained dirt, as this can scratch the glass.
Next, use the sponge to some cleaning solution all over the pane of glass. Make sure the surface is covered and thoroughly wet, although don’t flood it either.
Now, using the squeegee held at an angle and moving in the direction that water flows down the glass, make firm, continuous strokes from side to side. Overlap slightly with each stroke, so that you do no leave any streaks. Start at the top of the glass pane and work your way down, so that drips will not run down the clean area. Remember to wipe the blade between strokes each time with a damp cloth.
Finally, use the ling-free cloth to wipe around the edges of the window and the window sill, to remove any water marks left behind.
If you are using extendable tools for elevated windows, these may take a bit longer to master and you will be at an advantage if you have good hand-to-eye coordination skills. Most of the extendable squeegees produced now have a head which can be swivelled around, so that you can do sideways strokes and therefore avoid streaks.
Tips To Remember:
- Be careful not to use too much detergent or soap when mixing your cleaning solution otherwise this will leave streaks and residue on the glass.
- Try to pick a day which is not too hot and sunny because if the window dries too fast as you’re working, it is more likely to streak.
- If you have stained glass or textured windows then squeegees will not work as well on these.
- If you want to use paper towels for the final finish, choose a “hard” one which will not leave lint. Cotton cloths such as old T-shirts or socks also work well.
- The range of new microfiber cloths work especially well in cleaning windows and often mean that you do not even need a cleaning solution.