The Right Tools and Techniques to Make Your Windows Shine

cleaning window
Window cleaning is the same in Salt Lake City as it is in Singapore and other places in the world: you either hire a pro to do the job or roll up your sleeves to get it done yourself. Homeowners who simply don’t have the budget for an extra hand typically do the deed with paper towels and detergent soap dissolved in water. What they usually end up with instead of clean glass that sparkles is a soapy, muddy mess that they need to clean up again.

Cleaning your windows properly, which you should do twice a year, requires the right tools and techniques. Stocking up on the right product and wiping your windows right can spell the difference between sparkling windows in an hour and spotty frames that need doing over.

Will I Need a $100 Vacuum Cleaner or Will a $10 Sponge Do?

You don’t need a fancy, multi-functional tool to clean your windows. What you do need is a bucket that can hold your cleaning solution, a squeegee and scrubber, lint-free cleaning cloths, and a squeegee wet cover—which can be improvized by attaching a cleaning cloth to your squeegee.

The squeegee doesn’t need to be gold-plated to do the job. You will need a few squeegee blades on hand as a replacement. A good squeegee blade should last you one whole cleaning if you clean your windows once or twice a year. If your squeegee starts streaking, it’s generally a good idea to change it. The scrubber can be made of synthetic or natural material.

Cleaning liquids can go from an uncomplicated bottle of 50% white vinegar and 50% tap water, liquid soap, or solutions with oxalic acid, a household chemical used to get rid of stain and rust.

Do I Mop Left or Squeegee Right?

washing tools

Now that you have the tools, how do you use them?

Lightly coat your window with your cleaning solution. Use a spray bottle or your scrubber to put the solution on the windows, rub each pane gently to get rid of stains, and be sure to get the dirt stuck to the corners. After scrubbing it clean, use a consistent pressure on your squeegee to wipe water off the windows. Never lift the squeegee from the pane during the process; otherwise, you’ll risk creating lines. Lint-free cleaning cloths are used to dry the remaining liquid on the windows and polish the window sills.

Before you set out to clean your windows, it’s important to know if your state or country allows you to have your windows cleaned by your helper or professional cleaners. It sounds silly, but it’s a serious matter in some territories. Countries like Hong Kong recently enacted laws that prohibit employers from ordering domestic helpers to clean windows in a high-rise apartment to ensure their safety. In the U.S., states like Washington have strict safety standards for window cleaning to protect the safety of workers.

The safety rule also applies when handling your cleaning materials. Be careful with handling toxic substances, such as bleach or polymer coatings. Wear gloves to make sure your hands are safe, and be sure to wash up after cleaning. For your maximum convenience, it’s best to hire the pros to do the cleaning job for you.