a person cleaning a window

How to Clean Windows

We’ve all been there – staring out of a window, only to be distracted by smudges and streaks, obscuring the view. Whether you’re trying to peek at the blue sky, watch the birds, or simply let sunlight flood your room, clean windows make a world of difference. So, have you ever wondered about the secrets behind sparkling, streak-free panes? You’re in luck! Dive in as we uncover the magic of “how to clean windows” and say goodbye to those pesky smudges forever.

Pre-cleaning Preparations

Before diving into the process of making those windows sparkle, it’s essential to get things set up right. The saying goes, “Well begun is half done.” By preparing ahead of time, you ensure a smoother cleaning process, and that starts with gathering the right supplies and prioritizing safety.

Gather Necessary Supplies

To tackle the task of window cleaning, you can’t go in empty-handed. Here’s a handy checklist to ensure you have everything you need:

  • Bucket: To hold your cleaning solution.
  • Dishwashing soap or window cleaning solution: Your secret weapon against dirt and smudges.
  • Sponges or scrub brushes: For scrubbing away stubborn grime.
  • Squeegee: A tool that ensures a streak-free finish.
  • Towels or lint-free cloths: For drying and buffing to a shine.
  • Rubber gloves (optional): To keep your hands protected, especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • Ladder: To help you reach those high, hard-to-reach places.

Having everything at arm’s length makes the cleaning process efficient, keeping the focus on how to clean windows without frequent breaks to find supplies.

Safety Precautions

Cleaning might seem straightforward, but safety should always come first. Remember, a clean window isn’t worth a trip to the doctor!

1. Ensuring the ladder’s stability

If you’re using a ladder, make sure it’s on solid, even ground. Always open it fully and lock it in place. If possible, have someone hold it steady for extra security.

2. Using gloves when working with chemicals

Even if you’re using everyday dishwashing soap, some people have reactions to various cleaning agents. Rubber gloves can be your best friend, protecting your hands from any harsh chemicals.

3. Protecting surrounding areas

Before you start, move any furniture away from the windows. Lay towels or cloths on window sills and the floor. This way, any accidental drips or spills won’t harm your furniture or stain your floors.

By ensuring you have the right supplies and keeping safety at the forefront, you’re well on your way to mastering how to clean windows. In the next section, we’ll delve into the actual cleaning process, but remember, a good start is key to a flawless finish!

Cleaning Process

Clean windows aren’t just a result of magic or hiring a professional. With the right steps and a little elbow grease, you can transform those murky panes into gleaming glass. Let’s explore the steps involved in the process and unravel the mystery of how to clean windows effectively.

Dusting and Wiping Down

Before you introduce any liquid to the window, it’s crucial to tackle the dry mess first.

1. Importance of removing loose dirt and cobwebs

Starting with a dusty window can turn wet cleaning into a muddy mess. By getting rid of loose dirt and pesky cobwebs first, you ensure that your wet cleaning is more effective.

2. Using a dry cloth or dust brush

A soft, dry cloth or a dust brush is perfect for this step. Gently brush off the dirt or swipe the cloth across the window’s surface. This prepares your window for the next stages of cleaning.

Wet Cleaning

Now that you’ve prepped your window, it’s time for some real action!

1. Making a cleaning solution: proportions and mixing

Combine a few drops of dishwashing soap with a bucket of warm water. If you’re using a window cleaning solution, follow the instructions on the label. Ensure the solution is well-mixed but not too sudsy.

2. How to apply the solution (from top to bottom)

Dip your sponge or scrub brush into the solution, wring out excess, and start cleaning from the top of the window, working your way down. This method ensures the dripping solution cleans the window and doesn’t dirty parts you’ve already cleaned.

3. Scrubbing techniques for stubborn spots

For tough spots like bird droppings or sticky residues, apply a little extra pressure with your scrub brush or sponge. Circular motions usually help break down stubborn dirt.

Squeegee Technique

A squeegee is the unsung hero of window cleaning, providing that professional touch.

1. Benefits of using a squeegee

The squeegee’s rubber blade works to remove the cleaning solution without leaving streaks, ensuring a clear view.

2. Step-by-step guidance

  • Start at the top corner of the window.
  • Drag the squeegee down in a straight line.
  • Wipe the blade with a lint-free cloth after each pass.
  • Repeat until you’ve covered the entire window, ensuring a streak-free finish.

Drying and Buffing

The final touch to make those windows shine!

1. Importance of removing excess moisture

Leaving moisture on the window can lead to spots or even mold growth. Ensure all water is removed for a spotless finish.

2. Using lint-free cloths for a polished look

Once you’ve squeegeed the window, take a lint-free cloth and wipe down the edges and corners. For an added shine, buff the entire window with a fresh cloth.

With these steps in hand, you’re equipped to tackle even the dirtiest of windows. Just remember, like any skill, mastering how to clean windows takes practice. But with each cleaning session, clearer, brighter views await!

Cleaning Interior vs. Exterior Windows

Windows are your home’s eyes to the world, and while they might seem similar on both sides, cleaning them requires slightly different approaches depending on whether you’re inside or outside. It’s not just about the method; it’s also about understanding the unique challenges each side presents. So, let’s dive into the nuances of how to clean windows both inside and out.

Differences in Approach

While the basic cleaning steps remain the same, interior and exterior windows have their own sets of challenges.

Exterior windows face the brunt of the weather, collecting more dirt, pollen, and pollutants. They might require more robust cleaning solutions and tools.

Interior windows, on the other hand, are more protected from the elements but collect fingerprints, pet nose prints, and household grime. Gentle cleaning is usually sufficient.

Tips for Exterior Windows

Mother Nature can be tough on your home’s exterior windows. Here’s how to combat those challenges:

  1. Dealing with outdoor elements: Use a more concentrated solution for exterior windows, as they tend to be dirtier. Sometimes, a pre-cleaning with water can help remove the initial layer of grime.
  2. Bird droppings: These can be quite stubborn. Soak the area with your cleaning solution for a few minutes before scrubbing. If it’s particularly tough, consider using a scraper, but use it gently to avoid scratching the glass.
  3. Seasonal grime: In autumn, you might deal with leaves and sap; in spring, it could be pollen. Being aware of these seasonal challenges can help you choose the right cleaning frequency and tools.

Tips for Interior Windows

The inside of your windows tells a different story, often reflecting the hustle and bustle of daily life.

  1. Fingerprints: The bane of any household, especially with kids around! A simple solution of water and vinegar in equal parts can be effective against oily prints.
  2. Pet marks: If you have curious pets, you’re likely familiar with those cute but bothersome nose prints. These can usually be tackled with your standard cleaning solution.
  3. Product residue: Aerosol sprays, candles, and cooking can leave a residue on windows. Regular cleaning can prevent buildup, but for tougher spots, consider a specialized glass cleaner.

Whether you’re looking out or looking in, clean windows make a significant difference to the feel and appearance of your home. By tailoring your approach to each side’s specific challenges, you’re well on your way to mastering how to clean windows like a pro.

V. Monthly Maintenance and Tips

Every homeowner knows that maintaining a house requires regular attention, and windows are no exception. They might not need daily cleaning, but a monthly routine and a few daily habits can keep them looking their best. Let’s shed some light on how to maintain those clear views and ensure that you’re always ready to gaze at the world outside, unobstructed.

Establishing a Cleaning Routine

1. Set a Schedule: Just as you might have a day for laundry or grocery shopping, pick a day each month dedicated to window cleaning. This ensures your windows get the attention they deserve regularly.

2. Seasonal Adjustments: Depending on where you live, certain times of the year might require more frequent cleaning, like pollen-rich springs or dusty summers. Be flexible and adjust your routine as needed.

Quick Daily or Weekly Cleaning Habits

1. Spot Cleaning: Instead of a full window wash, address noticeable spots or fingerprints immediately with a cloth or cleaner. This keeps the windows looking fresh without a lot of effort.

2. Dusting: Once a week, give your windowsills and frames a quick dusting. This not only keeps the area clean but also prevents buildup that can later become harder to remove.

Recommendations for Eco-friendly Cleaning Products

Environmentally conscious cleaning is not just good for the earth; it’s often safer for your home and family too.

1. Vinegar and Water: This classic combo is effective and eco-friendly. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for an easy-to-use solution.

2. Baking Soda: For stubborn spots or window tracks, a paste made of baking soda and a little water can be very effective. Scrub gently and rinse off.

3. Essential Oils: A few drops of lemon or lavender essential oil can add a pleasant scent to your homemade cleaners.

4. Store-bought Green Cleaners: If DIY isn’t your thing, there are numerous green cleaning products available in stores. Look for those with eco-certifications to ensure they’re genuinely eco-friendly.

Dealing with Scratches, Paint, or Stickers on Windows

Sometimes, windows end up with a bit more than dirt.

1. Scratches: Minor scratches can be buffed out using toothpaste or baking soda. Apply a small amount, rub gently with a cloth, and rinse. For deeper scratches, consider consulting a professional.

2. Paint: Wet the area with a mixture of water and dish soap. Then, gently use a razor blade at a 45-degree angle to scrape off the paint. Always slide the blade in a single direction and not back and forth.

3. Stickers: Soak the sticker with an oil-based solution, like olive oil or eucalyptus oil. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then gently rub or scrape it off.

With these maintenance tips, your windows can stay clear and clean all year round. Remember, a little effort regularly can save you a lot of time in the long run, ensuring that learning how to clean windows is a skill that pays off month after month.


Windows play a pivotal role in our homes, bringing in light, offering views, and connecting us with the world outside. While the task of keeping them pristine might seem daunting at first, with the right techniques, products, and a touch of dedication, it becomes a breeze. Establishing a regular cleaning routine, adapting to the challenges of both interior and exterior windows, and employing eco-friendly cleaning solutions not only enhance the clarity of your panes but also contribute to a healthier living environment. Remember, a window is more than just a pane of glass; it’s a reflection of the care you put into your home. So, the next time you peer out or let the sunshine in, take a moment to appreciate the clarity brought about by your efforts in mastering how to clean windows. Clear views and bright days await!


It largely depends on your location and environment. If you live in a dusty area or a place with frequent rain, you might need to clean your exterior windows every couple of months. Interior windows generally need cleaning less often, typically every 3-6 months. However, a quick spot clean can be done whenever necessary.

Yes, many people swear by using newspapers because they’re lint-free and can provide a streak-free shine. However, be cautious as some newspapers might leave ink on window frames or sills.

Streaks can be caused by various reasons: using hard water, not drying the window quickly enough, or using a cleaning solution that leaves a residue. Make sure to use a squeegee or lint-free cloth and consider changing your cleaning solution if you consistently notice streaks.

Generally, yes. Vinegar is a natural cleaner that’s great for breaking down grime and giving a streak-free shine. However, always test a small, inconspicuous spot first, especially if you’re unsure about the type of glass or if there’s a special coating on it.

Always start with a thorough dusting to remove any gritty debris. When scrubbing or using tools, apply gentle pressure. If you’re using a scraper or similar tool, ensure it’s in good condition and free of rust or burrs.

Both can be effective. Store-bought cleaners often contain chemicals designed specifically to clean glass, while homemade solutions like water and vinegar are more natural and eco-friendly. It’s a matter of personal preference, but either option can yield sparkling results when used correctly.

For hard-to-reach windows, consider using an extendable squeegee. If that’s not feasible, you might want to hire professionals who have the proper equipment to safely and effectively clean high windows.

While it’s tempting to clean on a sunny day, it’s actually better to choose a cloudy day. Direct sunlight can cause the cleaning solution to dry too quickly, leading to streaks and residue.