Clean windows can give your home and rooms a bright, welcoming appearance from the inside and out. You can get your windows as clean and streak-free as a professional by following these tips:
Use The Right Tools
One of the ways you can get your windows looking great is to use the right tools. Many people use paper towels, but this actually leaves particles behind and can also leave streaking. For a truly professional job, experts recommend the following tools:
Scrubber. This looks a little like a Squeegee, but it is padded and used to clean the window, not wiping away the water.
Sponge. You can also use a sponge if you don’t have access to a scrubber.
Squeegee. This handy tool will help you to wipe away the water streak-free.
Cleaner. Many pros will use a bucket of warm water and a little bit of dishwashing soap if they will be using scrubbers.
Commercial cleaner. If you don’t want to haul out a bucket and a lot of tools, a commercial cleaner will work well too. Cleaners with vinegar in them tend to leave behind fewer streaks.
Newspaper. A crumpled-up black and white newspaper should be used in place of a paper towel or cloth, as it leaves your windows streak-free.
Cleaning The Windows
- To really clean windows, the following are some helpful tips:
- Prepare the mixture of warm water and dish detergent. Some people also add a little vinegar to help clean.
- Soak scrubber or sponge in the cleaner, and then squeeze out enough water so that it’s still wet but not dripping.
- Wash windows thoroughly.
- Use the squeegee to wipe the water from the windows. Go in a horizontal line, wiping off the squeegee with a rag after each line.
- Wipe water from the windows or sills with a rag.
- If you are not using the above tools, spray the window with a commercial window cleaner. Then use the newspaper to dry the windows. If the newspaper starts to look torn and ragged, replace it; for it to do a good job, it should be fairly dry.
These tips will help your windows look their best when you’re cleaning them:
Don’t clean in direct sunlight or on a very hot day. This will dry the cleaning solution too quickly, making it streak or leave water spots on your windows. Clean the tracks of your windows with a vacuum attachment. If you clean your windows and find that there are still streaks on them, you don’t necessarily need to rewash them. A blackboard eraser will get the streaks out. To clean screens, spray them with a hose. You can let them air dry outside or in the sun, or dry them with a towel. Daily cleaning of the screens can be done with a lint roller. To clean blinds, use a washrag, some soap, and water, and dry thoroughly when you’re done cleaning them. You can minimize the frequency in which you need to do this by getting a terry glove specifically for cleaning and dusting and going over your blinds once a week to get rid of dust build-up.
A streak-free shine on your windows is not impossible to achieve. There are different ways to get that streak-free shine. Some require no more than products you may already have in your home. Other methods of getting a streak-free shine require specialty cleaners or rags.
There are different methods for getting a streak-free shine on your windows using homemade recipes. They don’t all require the same ingredients or the same clothes. You can use paper towels, newspapers, or squeegees. The best way to find one that works for you is to try them all out on different windows. First, let’s look at the different recipes and methods.
For this first method, you will need ammonia, dish soap or vinegar, paper towels, squeegees, sponges, old newspapers, and buckets. Start with making the cleaning solution. Mix either a capful of ammonia or 4-5 drops of dish soap to either 2 gallons of water or 1 cup of vinegar with one quart of water.
Try out the two different ways with this recipe to find what works for you and the perfect shine for your windows. Some grime is just tougher and requires different cleaners. Next, dip the sponge in the mixture you made just until it is damp enough to wet the window and not soak it. Wash the window with the sponge using extra time on the sides and corners where dirt and grime tend to build up.
Fill a bucket with clean water and dip the squeegee in it. Start at the top, pulling the squeegee gently down, stopping a few inches from the bottom. Wipe the squeegee with the paper towels. Finish the window repeating this last step. In the end, swipe the squeegee horizontally to clean the bottom inch. Your window should be shiny and streak-free.
This next method doesn’t use as many tools, but you can still get a streak-free shine. You will need a newspaper or those junk mail flyers you get in the mail, water, vinegar, and a clean spray bottle. To start, make the solution using 1 part vinegar with two parts water and put it into your spray bottle. Shake bottle to mix well. Spray onto the window and wipe away with the newspaper or mail flyers. Wipe only vertically or horizontally to reduce streaks. You should have a shine and streak-free window. The newspaper print may come off on your hands but will come off with soap and water.
This next method just uses vinegar. You can wipe away with paper towels or newspapers. If you have a lot of windows, you might want to mix them with water. Use the same way as the above method. This method is probably the best for spot cleaning. It’s easy, fast, and uses items you already have.
This last method requires vinegar, ammonia, cornstarch, rubbing alcohol, warm water, and coffee filters. Start making the cleaner by mixing a half cup of both vinegar and ammonia in 1 ½ gallon of warm water, then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. In colder weather, use a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to keep the cleaner from freezing. Pour into a spray bottle for easy application onto your windows. Then use the coffee filters to dry the windows. This can be used indoors or out because of the rubbing alcohol.
If you would like to forego making your own cleaner, there are other products ready mixed for you to purchase. Some will give you a streak-free shine and some may not. You just may have to use trial and error. There are also clothes you can use that say they will give a streak-free shine to windows. These can be purchased on-line. If none work for you, try mixing up the different cleaners and drying methods. You are sure to find your recipe for shiny streak-free windows.
Window screens are an important part of your window; they allow you to let in light and air without the nuisance of objects, bugs, etc., getting in. However, window screens become a nuisance themselves when they get dirty, they block light, and they will make your windows look dirty, even if they are sparkling clean. So, how do you clean window screens so you can enjoy their benefits and not worry about their drawbacks? Try the following:
Every now and then, and between major cleanings, you will want to keep your screens as clean as possible by wiping them down with a soft brush, then use your vacuum to whisk away loose dirt and dust. This is much like picking up a room each day or a bathroom in between the deep cleans and scrubs. While it is important, it does not mean your screens are clean.
If you take your window screens down during the winter, that is the perfect time to clean them, as they are already removed. However, if you don’t take them down during the winter, or in other words, if you leave them up year-round, pick a time each year to remove them for a deeper clean.
When you take the screens down, be sure to keep a hold of any hardware. Put the hardware in a plastic bag with a label, so you know what it goes to when you are ready to put the screens back up. You will want to label which side of the window screen it goes on and all the details you need. Why? Because even if you think you will remember it all, you might not, and this is supposed to be fast and easy, not frustrating because you can’t figure out how the hardware is supposed to go back on.
It is best to deep clean your window screens outdoors, as it is a messy project. Your next best option is a laundry room or basement with a drain on the floor. If all else fails, you can clean them in your tub or shower, but that means you have to clean that afterward as well.
Now, to clean, you will want to lean your screens up against something or lay them flat on the ground, then using a mild detergent and scrub brush, you will want to scrub them. Go over every bit of the screen. You will want to wash the mesh as well as the frame; just be careful not to rip or tear it in the process. Once you have used a soap mixture, you will want to rinse the frame clean. This is best done with a garden hose.
The last step to a nice clean window screen is letting it air dry. Use the sun, and hopefully a little breeze, and let your screens dry completely before you replace them in the windows.
If you make it a priority to clean your window screens once each year, they will look better, last longer, and you will have brighter, cleaner, more beautiful windows to enjoy. So, take some time each year when you do your spring cleaning, and make sure your window screens are on the list of items to clean.
Hose them off, scrub, scrub, scrub, and let dry. Then maybe once a month, spend a few minutes with a soft brush and the vacuum attachments cleaning off built-up dirt and grime so that you can enjoy cleaner, healthier, and happier windows.