How to Clean Windows

Unlike the walls of your house, windows show all the fingerprints, dog slobber and overall grime that build up on the glass. When they’re dirty, it’s obvious. If you’ve been hiding them behind blinds and curtains then it’s probably time to give them a good wipe down. A good general rule is to wash them at least twice a year.

Wash your windows the fastest way with crystal clear, streak-free results. Try washing windows with a squeegee and you’ll never go back to a spray bottle and paper towels. Squeegees get your glass clear and streak free in a fraction of the time it takes with paper towels. Check out the basic window washing equipment you need and the simple steps to follow for fast, clear results when cleaning windows.

Basic window washing equipment is all you need:


The squeegee is the most important tool in the window cleaning process. If you’re serious about getting your windows cleaned like a pro, buy a good quality squeegee. A quality squeegee will come assembled in three pieces. The handle, the channel and the piece of rubber supported by the channel. The rubber can be turned over when it gets old, and then replaced when both sides have worn out.

There are various sizes to choose from depending on the size of the windows you’ll be cleaning. I own several and use them according to the window I’m cleaning.

You’ll also need a wet cover for your squeegee. Again get the proper size to fit your squeegee. Some covers come in different textures to help with scrubbing off debris that’s stuck to the window. Wet covers are machine washable and can be used over and over again before needing to be replaced.

Our squeegee method is easy to master

The best homemade window cleaning solution is to just add a couple of gallons of water and about a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in your bucket, and you’re ready to go for window washing. Some people also opt to use vinegar and water to clean windows. It’s up to you to use a scrubber or a sponge. A scrubber works great and is worth buying if you have a lot of medium to large panes of glass. But a good-quality sponge is all you really need, especially if most of your windowpanes are small.

Step one for cleaning windows

Dip the scrubber in the bucket and squeeze excess water from the scrubber.

Scrub the glass

The first step in the exterior window cleaning process is to scrub the glass, working at all angles to clean the edges. Make sure to cover every square inch of the glass. This technique allows you to get great results immediately. We’re moving the squeegee horizontally across the glass, but vertical strokes will work too. If you work vertically, angle the squeegee to direct excess water toward the uncleaned area.

Clean a starting strip

Use a window-washing squeegee with a smooth, soft rubber edge. Dry a 1-inch strip at the top or side of each window and always start your squeegee there. Starting on dry glass is one key to avoiding streaks. Don’t wash windows in direct sunlight, because quickly dried glass is more susceptible to streaking. Evenings or cloudy days are the best times for window washing.

Squeegee across the top

Press the squeegee blade against the glass in the upper corner and pull it steadily across the window. Concentrate on keeping the top of the squeegee in contact with the top edge of the window.

Wipe the squeegee clean

Wipe the blade on the clean towel in your front pocket or wipe it across the scrubber to remove dirt and excess water.

Work down the window

Begin again, with the top of the squeegee overlapping the previous stroke about 2 inches. Pull the squeegee across the window at an angle to direct excess water down. Wipe and repeat.

Wipe off excess water

The next step in exterior window cleaning is and wipe up excess water. Anywhere that water spilled, dripped, or ran down the window; wipe the area dry with an absorbent, lint-free cloth. This will prevent streaks on the window. To prevent damage to the frame, use a separate cloth or rag to dry water from the window sill.

You can use a squeegee inside the house, too.

The pros do this all the time, even inside the houses with stained and varnished woodwork. When cleaning windows, the key is to squeeze most of the soapy water out of the scrubber to eliminate excessive dripping and running. Then rest the scrubber on the edge of the bucket rather than dropping it in the water after each window. Depending on how dirty your windows are, you may be able to wash 5 or 10 windows before rinsing the scrubber.

Use the towel to wipe up any water spilt onto the window sill and the floor. I generally don't use micro-fiber cloths to wipe along the bottom of the window frame because this is going to dirty it very quickly. Use the towel for that area. If there are any other marks, such as little insect marks or grubby finger marks that didn't quite come off, give it a rub with a clean part of the micro-fibre cloth, or start again with the mop.

For divided-lite windows, use a sponge and a small squeegee. If you can’t find a small enough squeegee, you can cut off a larger one to fit your glass size for a DIY window cleaner. Scrub the glass with a wrung out sponge. Then use the tip of the squeegee to clear a narrow strip at the top. Pull the squeegee down and wipe the perimeter.

Step 1: Changing a squeegee blade

Remove the worn out blade. Grab the end of the blade and stretch it out to expose the metal clip. Slide the clip off. Then slide the blade out the opposite end. Blades without clips are held by screws and the clamp on the handle.

Step 2: Changing a squeegee blade

Install the new blade. Slide it into the metal channel. Stretch it and reinstall the metal clip.

Tips for hard-to-clean windows

Remove paint specks and labels with a razor blade mounted in a holder. Always use a new blade to avoid scratching the glass. Wet the window first and push the blade across once. Rinse the blade and repeat on the next section to avoid trapping debris under the blade that could scratch the glass. Don’t use a razor blade on tempered glass.

  • Remove tree pitch or bug droppings with a fine (white) nylon scrub pad. Wet the glass first and rub in an inconspicuous area to make sure you’re not scratching the glass.

  • Clean tough glass stains and built-up mineral deposits from shower doors and other glass surfaces using mild household abrasives and an ordinary power drill.

Here’s how:

  • Use this glass cleaning solution for tough spots: Add 1/2 cup of ammonia per gallon of water to help remove greasy dirt for a DIY window cleaner

  • Loosen sticky residue left from labels or tape by soaking it with a specialty product. Then scrape off the residue with a razor blade.

Recap: 10 easy steps to clean windows

Once you master the simple technique, you can get your windows sparkling clean in less than a minute.

Step 1: Scrub the glass, covering every square inch.
Step 2: Clean a narrow strip of glass from top to bottom.
Step 3: Pull the squeegee steadily across the window.
Step 4: Clean the squeegee blade.
Step 5: Make a horizontal pass.
Step 6: Angle the squeegee to direct excess water down.
Step 7: Wipe the blade and then repeat.
Step 8: Overlap the previous pass by about 2 inches.
Step 9: Repeat horizontal passes across the window.
Step 10: Wipe excess water from window edges.