The difference between a clean and dirty window can be the difference in your mood, and for many people, it’s also the difference in how much light is let into their home. Clean windows make a room feel refreshed and new. Dirty windows seem like they’re holding onto dirt and grime. So what are some tips to keep them sparkling?
Use newspaper: Newspaper works great to soak up dirt and grime, so wiping down your glass with some newspaper can help you clean off smudges or fingerprints that have built up over time. Just fold a section of the paper into quarters until it has four layers (or more if needed), dampen it with distilled water, wait one minute, then use like normal window-wiping cloth.
Add vinegar: Add ½ cup raw white vinegar to one pint warm distilled water in a spray bottle; shake well before using; mist onto window surface; wipe dry immediately. The acidity in the vinegar will cut through tough grimes without leaving streaks behind.
Clean with microfiber cloth: Use soft, lint-free microfiber cleaning cloths (available at most department stores) for wiping the glass. They are more absorbent than cotton rags and won’t leave streaks; they can be washed hundreds of times without losing their effectiveness.
Make your own window cleaner: Mix one part water to two parts white vinegar in a spray bottle or clean bucket that you keep just for this purpose; fill the rest of the way up with warm distilled water; shake before using; mist on the surface then wipe dry immediately. For extra-tough jobs, use straight vinegar but always test first. Wipe off excess solution after each application so it doesn’t attract dust and dirt onto itself.
Do not use ammonia: Ammonia is a powerful cleaner and will cut through dirt, grime, fingerprints, and smudges quickly. However, it can damage the finish of your windows as well as overtime dulling their appearance. If you want to try using some vinegar, mix with water instead since it’s natural without any chemical additives that could cause future problems with glass or metal surfaces in your home.
Don’t forget mirrors: Mirrors are made from what they call “float glass,” which means no coating like an automotive windshield has been applied. Therefore, if you don’t mind streaks on them, do what you would for regular window cleaning by wiping them down with newspaper; however, we recommend microfiber cloths for best results.
Be careful with your glass: If you live in a place that gets cold and then hot; like an arctic winter followed by the summer sun, it’s advised not to use the above methods of cleaning as they can cause cracks or chips on tempered surfaces (since most glasses are made from this type). Instead, wipe down with distilled water only and wait for warmer weather before trying anything else.
Clean windows on a cloudy day: The best time to clean windows is when there’s little sunlight shining through them. If you try doing it on a sunny day, your glass will dry too quickly, and streaks or smudges could be left behind; this can cause the dirt to get stuck in the film of water that dried over the top leading to stains forming later down the line.
Use a Squeegee: For quick clean-ups, use a squeegee. The blade slides easily over the glass, wiping away dirt and water with hardly any effort needed on your part. Cleaning the edge often will ensure it does its job properly every time you need to squirt some window cleaner onto it.
Do not wash windows in direct sunlight: If possible, avoid washing windows when subjected to strong rays of light. This can cause streaks or spots that won’t come out no matter how much elbow grease is applied, so choose another day if at all possible for best results.
Clean Corners With Cotton Swabs: For those hard-to-reach corners and edges, use a cotton swab dipped in vinegar or rubbing alcohol, then wipe away any dirt that might be creating unsightly areas. You can also spray your cloth with cleaner if things get too messy, but the above method works best for us.
Be careful of water: Be sure not to let excess run-down glass as it could drip back onto other surfaces below. This will create problems later since you’ll have streaks from leftover soap residue mixed with dirty water, which is never a good combination when trying to clean anything, including glass doors and windows at home.
Don’t forget about screens: Cleaning screen mesh isn’t nearly as easy as cleaning regularly because there aren’t any hard surfaces on the other side to wipe with. Instead, try this: take a spray bottle filled halfway with white vinegar, then top off the rest of the way up with distilled water. Shake before using and always test first as you don’t want it dripping down into areas below or around your home where there are sensitive items that could be damaged by excess moisture.
Don’t forget about sills: Sill areas around where the bottom of the window meets the wall tend to get dirty fast, so using one of those compressed sponges found in most dollar stores. These work best because they’re smaller than a regular sponge and cut up into different shapes allowing access even in tight corners between frame and sill area. Just run under water first until nice & wet, squeeze out excess liquid, then scrub away at dirt before rinsing well with clean distilled water and wiping dry with a microfiber cloth.
Keep track of what’s working for you: You can use newspaper, microfiber cloths, towels, paper towels, or even pieces torn out an old cotton t-shirt since they’re all-natural fibers instead of synthetic, which is better for glass, but sometimes you might run into issues where something that’s usually great doesn’t work as well on certain surfaces so keep track of what works best for your home.
We hope that these tips have been as helpful for you as they have been for us. And while cleaning glass is a normal occurrence for most of us, these techniques can help you make all the difference.