4 easy tips for sparkling-cleaning windows

There are many effective ways to clean a window. After all, sparkling-clean windows are part of a sparkling-clean house! Here are four easy tips that will make your windows shine in no time flat – and bring the great outdoors right into your home!

4 easy tips for sparkling-cleaning windows

1. Technique is key

Clean the windowsills and frames before the glass. Vacuum to remove loose dirt before wiping with a damp cloth.

  • Start at the top of the window and work down. This will avoid dripping water onto clean windows.
  • Don't clean windows in direct sunlight. The cleaner will dry before you can wipe it off, creating streaks.
  • Make your drying strokes go up and down on one side of the window and back and forth on the other. That way it is easier to tell which side the streaks are on.
  • Your drying technique and materials affect the final appearance more than the kind of cleaner.

2. Most cost effective

The cheapest and most eco-friendly way to clean a window is to use plain water and newspaper.

  • Apply the water with a sponge or window wand, available from hardware shops.
  • Dip the wand into a bucket of water, picking up just enough to wet the window without drenching it.
  • Scrunch up a sheet of newspaper a bit and rub the window until it's dry.  Paper towels also work but are expensive and wasteful. A chamois cloth works well, too.

3. Use a squeegee like a pro

Most professional window cleaners prefer using a squeegee to do the job. If it's your choice, buy a good squeegee with a removable rubber blade so that it can be replaced as it wears. Technique is important. Here's how to do it:

  • First, wet the squeegee.
  • Draw it across the top of the pane.
  • Start the squeegee at the bottom edge of that swath and draw it down one side of the glass to about 5 centimetres (2 inches) from the bottom of the window.
  • Repeat this step, overlapping each stroke as you work your way across the window.
  • Draw the squeegee across the bottom of the pane, wiping the squeegee on a cloth between strokes.
  • Use a clean cloth to wipe window edges, if necessary.
  • On very large windows, wash and dry the top half, and then proceed to the bottom half.

4. For tough jobs

Here are three good formulas to try for added glass-cleaning power:

  • For grease or hard-water deposits, use 250 millilitres (1 cup) of white vinegar in 4 litres (4 quarts) of water, plus a squirt of dishwashing liquid.
  • For grime, grease or smoke, you can use 125 millilitres (1/2 cup) of clear ammonia in 2 litres (2 quarts) of water.
  • For tough window cleaning jobs, use 500 millilitres (2 cups) of methylated spirits and 30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) each of clear ammonia and dishwashing liquid. Rinse well after cleaning.
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