We all love the look of clean sparkling windows but most of us dread the thought of having to clean them. It could be because most of us are doing it wrong, struggling with wads of paper towels, crumpled newspaper, spray cleaner and a lot of red-faced effort! The vigorous rubbing on the glass is actually a bad idea as it not only spreads the dirt around but it also adds a static charge to the window pane, so that it attracts dirt and dust even more easily. This is why windows often look dirty again very quickly.
Effective Cleaning Methods
In fact, there is a much easier way and it’s the method professional window cleaners use – so here is how to clean windows like a pro:
- Make up a solution of window cleaning solution. This can be a few drops (up to 6) of liquid dish-washing detergent in about 2 gallons of water or, if you’re environmentally-conscious, just a cup of vinegar in about a quart of water. In fact, the less soap you use the better as this will prevent streaking occurring.
- Find a soft sponge and dip it into the solution but do not over-saturate it so that it is dripping. Only absorb enough water to cover the window without flooding it. Be careful not to use any hard or abrasive material that might scratch the glass surface.
- Using the sponge, gently rub and wash the surface of the glass and pay extra attention to the sides of the pane and the corners of the window frame, as this is where dirt and grime usually collect.
- When the window has been thoroughly washed with the sponge and soapy water, get a bucket of clean water and dip a squeegee into the clean water.
- Starting at the top and in one corner, press the squeegee gently onto the surface of the window and then draw down in a firm, vertical motion. Stop just a few inches from the bottom of the glass pane.
- Wipe off the squeegee with a paper towel.
- Repeat, but making sure that you start with the squeegee exactly next to the position you were in before, so that the two “strips” will ran parallel, next to each other. Use the same firm, pulling motion and stop at the same place.
- Wipe the squeegee and again and repeat the process, until you have covered all of the glass pane, except for the few inches at the bottom.
- Wipe the squeegee clean again and then draw it horizontally across the bottom of the glass, using the same firm, constant pressure.
- Some people prefer to use the squeegee in a reverse “S” pattern, thus covering all of the pane in one stroke. This is an alternative if you prefer although shorter strokes may be easier if you are inexperienced.
- Using paper towels, wipe any remaining water from the bottom of the window frame.
Using a squeegee, your windows should look sparkling clean and streak-free. If your windows are hard to reach, it is possible to buy extension poles from a hardware store that have been specially made for cleaning windows and mount your squeegee to the end of the poles.
Despite your best efforts, water marks might still collect over time, especially if you have hard water in your area and there is run-off from the roofs and buildings. Also, any rain that falls through metal window screens can leave mineral deposits on the glass, which will resist normal window washing. If this is the case, you can tackle these stains by cleaning as usual and then wetting the glass again and rubbing gently with some cleansing powder, which contain oxalic acid. Be very careful and test a corner first to make sure that the powder does not inadvertently scratch the glass. Mix the powder into a paste and rub gently, using a wet towel. Rinse thoroughly with water and then use the squeegee until all residue has been removed. However, keep in mind that this is an ongoing process and you may need to repeat this procedure every 6 months or so.