How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

A common theme i’ve noticed with people who run into cleaning challenges is that they do things the way that their parents or their grandparents used to do it and sometimes that’s not the best way to actually clean something just like technology has improved so have cleaning products tools and techniques and that couldn’t be more true for the way that we tackle our windows so in this article we’re not only going to talk about cleaning the actual glass on your windows and it goes way beyond glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth my friends we are talking about the frames the casing the window sills the sliding tracks and even the screens we’re going deep on windows so that your windows are the envy of the street let’s get into it. 

The Anatomy of a Window: Since i’m not a window manufacturer i’m not going to use overly technical terms here because if you google the image of a window you’re going to get all kinds of words and names that you’ve never seen or heard of before so let’s just use some very basic nomenclature so we’re all on the same page you’ve got the glass panes whether it’s a sliding door or a window there’s gonna be glass next you’ve got the frame the thing that surrounds the glass panes next you’ve got the casing which is kind of like the fancy finishing that’s used to make where the wall and the window or door meet look nice then you’ve got the tracks or the window sills depending on whether it’s a door or an actual window and finally you’ve got screens these can either be on sliding doors or they can be on windows but they get dirty and we’ve got to deal with them.

Cleaning Interior Windows: Depending on the kind of window you have you might have a mesh screen that covers the pane of glass that actually opens up on your window and this of course is to prevent things from coming into your home and to prevent things from falling out the window so those mesh screens are important and the other thing that’s kind of nice about them is they prevent fingerprints because you can’t touch anything but every now and then those mesh screens can easily be popped off placed to the side the glass can be cleaned and then you can put the mesh screen right back up typically when I clean a window like this I am using equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and a glass microfiber cleaning cloth now the reason why we use a glass microfiber cloth is because it’s a flat weave meaning it has no terry in it or no texture that can hang on to debris and scratch the surface so the way I like to handle it is I spray the window down and then I use the s pattern working my way from top to bottom left to right with the cloth folded in quarters it takes just seconds to do a window pane now if I want to clean the sills the frame and the casing I can use the exact same solution to do that trick it’s always important to know the type of finish that you’re dealing with for example if you have an older wood you might want to be more mindful about the product that you’re using you might even just want to dust it and not use any liquid at all so just you know pay attention but generally speaking in a modern home it can tolerate vinegar and water or soap and water and in my experience you hardly need to step that up unless you’re dealing with a stain or a mold or mildew issue.

A quick note for Interior Windows: There’s one thing to be aware of if you live in a place that experiences colder temperatures you might notice that there’s condensation on your window when you’re heating the inside of your house and it’s very cold on the outside and this condensation eventually starts to drip down it lands on the sill and then it can drift down and kind of leave those streaky marks on paint or it can eventually build up and lead to mold and mildew so if you notice that there’s a lot of condensation on your windows you might want to pay extra attention in the colder months just to wipe your windowsills down every now and then and if mold and mildew does become an issue you can treat your window sills with a mold and mildew protectant you can also use a mold and mildew cleaner to get rid of any existing buildup.

Cleaning Exterior Windows: Choose the time day and the day you are going to clean your exterior windows wisely an overcast day is ideal for cleaning your windows because too much sunshine or heat can actually bake product onto the window when you’re trying to clean it off think about it like a lot of sun is gonna dry that product very quickly not giving you enough time to flip your squeegee over and get rid of it meaning you’re gonna have streaky windows and you’re gonna be wasting your time so clouds are your friends colder weather is your friend when it comes to cleaning windows alternatively you can pick early in the morning or later in the day after the sun has set but before it’s completely dark out to clean your windows now when it comes to cleaning your windows let’s go over some of the products tools and techniques that you want to use so in this case exterior windows they get really dirty I don’t want to use a microfiber cloth to do that just because it’s going to be too much work and I like getting things done quickly and easily so in this case i’m recommending a double-sided squeegee now I have a really long one here you can get them in many different sizes get one that is suitable for your windows the recipe we’re using for window cleaning is a gallon of water if you can get warm or hot water that is great then you’re going to add a cup of white vinegar white vinegar is great at cutting grease and dirt so it’s very helpful to have in this solution and finally we’ll start with a teaspoon of dish soap now if your windows are really grimy you can level that up to a tablespoon but adding too much dish soap is going to leave streaks behind and it’s just going to be more work for you so start with a teaspoon and level up only if you need to so dip your squeegee into the bucket get it nice and saturated you want it sopping wet okay then you’re going to start at the top and work your way to the bottom just swiping the squeegee across the pane you should maybe need three or four swipes at most following that you’ll flip over to the rubber sided tip of the squeegee and you’re just going to repeat the same motion I actually find cleaning the windows like this to be one of the most satisfying cleaning jobs this truly is relaxing very gratifying and you get instant results I can do a window in our house like a sliding door pane in about 45 seconds when it comes to cleaning the exterior frames and casings there are a few different ways you can do the job if you have a pressure washer that’s a great tool to use but if you want to do something manually that’s pretty straightforward I think a really easy tool to use is a nylon head dish brush you fill it up with a little bit of soap water and vinegar you can use exactly the same dilution that we used for the window cleaning you just fill up the little body and then you can go ahead and scrub the sides and give it a nice hose down and then just pat it dry if you want to.

2nd Story Exterior windows: Cleaning main floor windows are easy enough you might need a step stool but generally speaking you should be okay to do those pretty safely if you want to clean second or third story windows you might want to consider getting yourself an extending pole these come with threads on the top and then your squeegee that you pick up also should have a universal thread on its bottom so you can easily screw them on and then you can extend and retract at your leisure now you’re probably you might be the kind of person that wants to put on a harness and you know throw yourself off the roof and scale down and clean windows i’m not that person and if you have particularly high windows or an intense window cleaning job ahead of you that is a really good time to bring in pros who have ladders or scaffolding or harnesses whatever they need to get the job done they’re the pros they know what to do.

Windows & Sliding door tracks: When it comes to window and door tracks start by vacuuming up as much as you can with a brush attachment if you have a shop vac that works too the next thing I would do is take that same brush that we used to clean the exterior window casing that dish and sink brush with the soap filled body and the nylon head and you can give it a nice scrub and then a rinse down they will look so much better but beware they get dirty quickly.

Mold & Mildew: Whether it’s a window or sliding door you might notice that on the frame track or sill there is a buildup of mold and mildew and that’s because the window is kind of the perfect place for mold and mildew to breed if you think about it it loves warmth it loves moisture and we’ve already talked about how there can be quite a bit of moisture buildup due to temperature changes between the outside and the inside of a home so molded mildew is something you really want to pay attention to around your windows if you see some here’s how you can clean it first you want to open the window or door and just brush as much of it as you can out next you can mix up a solution of borax and vinegar just equal parts in a small container and apply it to the moldy surface with a cleaning toothbrush you can leave this for about minutes if you like if it’s kind of a prominent stain or you can start scrubbing immediately if it’s not so bad when that’s done you can rinse the area clean with a paper towel and if you want to just finish it up with a little extra juji to really protect it from mold and mildew you can use a mold and mildew treatment spray just give it a little zap let it dry and you can retreat this area every month every few months just to avoid that mold and mildew from building up again.

Screens: Window screens don’t need to be cleaned frequently but when you do clean them you want to make sure that you’re doing it correctly so first you can gently pop them off and you can either do these in the bathtub if it is colder out or you can take them outside and just do them outside if they’re not too bad you can use a shower head and kind of just spray them down or if you’re outside you can use a hose and kind of just gently give them a cleaning I mean there’s not any real dirt that’s building up there it’s more cobwebs and just larger particles of dirt that can easily be rinsed off if you do notice that they’re quite dirty what you can do in that case is use that same window cleaning solution we were talking about water vinegar and dish soap you can use an iron handle scrub brush and contrary to popular belief there is no iron in it you dip that in there and just give it a light scrub now I wouldn’t recommend pushing too hard because the mesh is quite sensitive and you don’t want to cause any tears along the border now speaking of tears in that mesh on your window screens if you notice there is one there are tear repair kits that you can pick.

Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you next time.


Why clean once a week when you can keep your home clean throughout the week!