Household Tips: Window Cleaning 101

Family & Safety Design Advice

Window treatments play an important role in interior design. They help structure the flow of a room, directing the eye while providing functional purpose and conveying your design personality. As important as window treatments can be for a room, it is also important to periodically give a little TLC to the things they cover; the windows themselves. Regularly schedule window cleaning into your chore list to help you keep track of when it needs to be done. Clean windows will keep your home looking fresh from the inside and the outside, for onlookers, houseguests, and your own peace of mind.

Keep your spaces fresh and bright, and worthy of the treatments that adorn them. Here are our quick tips for clean windows.

For a quick clean-up of your window panes, the basic items needed are:

  • A window cleaner of your choice
  • A wiping cloth

It’s what kind of cloth and cleaner to work with that can make all the difference.

The Cleaning Solution:

As far as window cleaners go, your store-bought glass cleaner like Windex will do. All-purpose cleaners may get the job done, but if they aren’t intended for glass specifically, there is the potential for streaks. A budget-friendly option that we tested and recommend is a simple DIY version. It works just as well, if not better than a store-bought glass cleaner, and is non-toxic.

Mix one part hot water with one part white vinegar. It’s that simple. Bottle it in a re-useable spray container and get to cleaning.

Getting Rid of Streaky Windows

When you are using the proper tools, streaky windows are easy to avoid. If you seem to have perpetually streaky windows despite using this or other streak-free cleaners, you might opt to add a teaspoon of dish cleaning liquid to your first batch of DIY glass cleaner, 50/50 white vinegar, and hot water. Commercial cleaning products can sometimes leave streaks and thin coatings of residue on the panes. Similarly, if you use washcloths or rags to clean windows, fabric softeners used on those in the wash can leave a residue when used on the windows that can prevent a streak-free shine.

Adding a splash of dish soap to your vinegar/water mix will help get rid of this residue when first cleaning with this DIY cleaner. If you make a habit of using this solution, you can revert to just the 50/50 vinegar and water after the first few washes without the added dish soap with no streaks in sight.

The Wiping Mechanism:

For the wiping cloth, consider the following:

  • Coffee filters (These are made to be lint-free and don’t break down immediately when wet. Not to mention, super cheap. Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker these would be a great addition to your household pantry cleaning arsenal. Layer two or three and you’ll be amazed at the streak-free, residue-free shine they provide. For extra grimy windows a second wipe with a new batch may be necessary.)
  • Paper towels (They work but are expensive and one can quickly run through a whole roll if cleaning all the windows in the house. Plus they can leave lint residue.)
  • Re-useable, lint-free glass cleaning cloths (While these are eco-friendly and readily available, some require special washing to ensure they maintain their streak-free, lint-free cleaning abilities. Here is a list of the top window cleaning cloths of 2020.
  • Old newspaper (When in a grind this is an old fashion trick that gets the job done. On occasion, ink from the newspaper could transfer to the window or the sill, and paper is prone to breaking if too wet.)

Pick your preferred tools, or test a few and see what you prefer, and get to cleaning. Some people don’t like the smell of the vinegar cleaning solution, but it is temporary and goes away shortly after drying.

Deep Cleaning for Large, Interior, or Exterior Windows

For a deeper cleaning of large interior windows and exterior windows you will need the following tools:

  • A soft-bristled counter brush, or other dry soft sponge
  • An all-purpose cleaner /cleaning solution (hot water/soap works)
  • A squeegee (A squeegee isn’t 100% necessary and regular wipes or cloths can work just as well but will take more time and more elbow grease for larger panes.)
  • A washcloth, or the dry sponge from above when you’re done using it to buff off any dirt.
  • A large towel
  • A bucket or spray bottle (for your cleaning solution)
  • Glass Cleaner/ DIY Vinegar Solution

The Sills, Trim, and Sash

A soft-bristled brush or dry sponge is the perfect tool to loosen up and remove stuck-on dirt, dust, and grime from your window’s trim and sash. Do this first so has to not dirty your clean panes. Once you’ve loosened up the dirt, wipe it away with your wiping cloth or sponge, using your all-purpose spray or a bucket of soapy suds. Be sure not to use a cleaning sponge that will damage your trim or scratch your windows.

window cleaning window sill from

The Window Panes

For the window panes, use your glass cleaner or DIY Vinegar solution and a clean sponge and bucket or spray bottle to liberally dampen the windows. It’s important to put a towel underneath the window area to sop up any large splatters and puddles that may accrue as you clean. Once thoroughly dampened, grab your squeegee. Always start with the top windows first, making  your way down to the lower windows.

Squeegee Method 1: Take your squeegee and start in a top corner of the windowpane, dragging your squeegee horizontally across the pane. As you get to the opposite end of the window, turn your squeegee as you wipe, dragging it down and back horizontally the other direction, slightly overlapping the base of the first swipe across. Continue on this horizontal winding path, until you hit the bottom of the windowpane. Wipe up the clean windows’ edges with a cloth, paper towel, coffee filter etc. Use the towel to wipe the base of the window if extra water remains puddled.

Squeegee Method 2: Start at the top of the window pane on either the far left or right side. Drag the squeegee vertically to the base of the pane. Repeat, moving the squeegee over but slightly overlapping the first wipe to ensure a total clean.

A Little Extra Elbow Grease

If your windows are extra grimy, it may be necessary to do some scrubbing before moving to the squeegee phase. Use the sponge and cleaner to gently rub away dirt with the cleaning solution prior to squeegeeing. Assess the situation for yourself, and see what needs to be done.

Take precautions if attempting to do exterior windows on second floors or out of reach areas. Always use a sturdy ladder and proper ladder procedures, have a spotter to assist you, or hire outside help.

Once your clean windows are sparkling and streak-free, sit back, open the blinds, and enjoy the view.

About Us

Lafayette Interior Fashions is a to-the-trade manufacturer and distributor of custom-crafted, high-quality window treatments. We are a family owned company and an industry leader in blinds, shades, shutters draperies, and more. Find a local Lafayette Dealer near you to shop our products. Just getting ideas? Browse our website here. 

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