As the weather heats up and the last remnants of winter disappear, homeowners are turning to spring cleaning. One type of cleaning that many homeowners leave for spring is window cleaning. Window cleaning can be time-consuming and laborious, which may lead some people to skip it altogether. But if you do it right, you can clean your windows this spring with excellent results.
Gather Your Supplies
The first step in effective window cleaning is to collect the right supplies. Here’s what you need:
- Large bucket
- Good-quality rubber squeegee
- Clean, lint-free cloth
- Chamois cloth
- Cleaning solution
Making a cleaning solution is easy. You can buy a commercial cleaner, but just a little soap and water is fine. Add about 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent to two gallons of water. If the weather is warm, using cool water will give you more time to work before you cleaning solution evaporates. In cold weather, adding a little windshield washing fluid can keep your cleaning solution from freezing on cold windows.
Your squeegee is also very important. Your squeegee is the primary tool for removing the cleaning solution from your window, and it actually does much of the cleaning. A high-quality squeegee blade helps prevent streaks as you clean your glass. Any nicks in your squeegee blade can leave streaks. If your blade edge is rounded, it can also lose effectiveness. Most professional window cleaners replace their squeegee blade regularly, as often as daily.
Another handy tool is a high-quality chamois. The chamois will do the final cleaning on your windows, so a good one makes a difference. Today, there are many very useful synthetic alternatives to a leather chamois. Look for microfiber cloths used for car cleaning, or even made specifically for window cleaning.
Applying the Cleaning Solution
You have two choices for how to apply your cleaning solution. The simplest tool is just a soft sponge. Dip the sponge into your cleaning solution, then give it a hard squeeze to remove much of the water and prevent dripping. With a damp sponge, go over the whole window until it is completely covered with cleaning solution. Start from the top down to catch drips as you go. A gentle scrubbing motion will help remove dirt and light stains from the window pane.
The other option for applying cleaning solution is to use a scrubber. A scrubber is basically a large, wide sponge on a handle. If you have lots of large panes, a scrubber can save on time and elbow grease.
Proper Squeegee Technique
The most critical step in your cleaning will be performed with your squeegee. The squeegee removes most of the water and cleaning solution from your window. This step is crucial because cleaning solution left on the window at this point is what causes streaks. The only way to make sure you leave no cleaning solution and don’t develop streaks is to use a new squeegee blade in good condition. A sharp, smooth blade will remove the maximum amount of water, leaving you with clean, streak-free windows.
Your first step with the squeegee is to create a clean strip at the edge of the window. Angle the squeegee so just one corner of the blade touches the glass. Then drag the squeegee vertically along the edge of the glass, top to bottom. This creates a clean strip about a half-inch wide. All of your horizontal strokes will start from the clean strip.
Starting at the clean strip, run the squeegee over the window in long, straight strokes across the whole pane. Start at the top and work your way down, overlapping each stroke with the one above it by about 2 inches. Between each stoke, use a clean towel to wipe off the squeegee blade. A good wipe helps remove dirt and excess water, so the next stoke is just as clean as the last.
Drip Cleaning and Chamois Technique
Once most of the water has been removed with the squeegee, you will turn to your chamois or microfiber cloth to do the rest. First, take a piece of your cloth and run it along the base of the window to dry off the collected water. Next, find another clean spot on your cloth and wrap it over your index finger. Run the cloth along the perimeter of the window to collect any remaining residue. When you can’t find another clean spot on the towel, switch out your towel for a clean one.
Cleaning Windows Indoors
Most people think that the sponge and squeegee technique is only useful on the outside of your windows. In fact, professional window cleaners use the same tools inside and out. The main difference between indoor and outdoor cleaning is in how much cleaning solution you use. Indoors, extra dripping water would be a problem. Squeeze out your sponge until it is only slightly damp to avoid drips and spills.
If you are cleaning in tight quarters, or you are cleaning small panes or split panes, a smaller squeegee is crucial. Your squeegee needs to be small enough to fit split panes and to fit around indoor obstacles.
Professional Window Cleaning
The fact is that even with the best tools and technique, window cleaning is not a fast or easy project. Sure, the right tools make it easier, but there is a certain amount of elbow grease involved. If you have a larger home or just lots of windows, it is best to break up the job and spread the cleaning over multiple days. Or, you could hire the pros. Professional window cleaners know what they’re doing so you can be sure that every window will sparkle. They also save you the labor of lugging around a bucket of water, climbing up and down a ladder, and individually wiping a dozen or more windows.
If you want to find the absolute best professional window cleaners in your area, start your search with TrustDALE. Out TrustDALE certified window washers are the best in the business, offering superior service, competitive prices, and some of the best warranties in the industry. Plus, ever TrustDALE certified business is back by Dale’s $10,000 Make-It-Right™ Guarantee.