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Best Way to Clean Windows



Although everyone has their own idea of how frequently to wash windows, this article is based on washing them two times each year: at the end of winter and at the end of summer.

Clean Window

Clean Window

Of course, if your windows get dirty more often, you will need to wash them at the end of each season.  Why at the end of the season?  So you can fully enjoy the changing leaves or the beautiful flowers or the bright sunny days or for those of you who live in snow country, to watch the sparkling snow fall as your outdoor scene magically turns into a winter wonderland.


Stress and Time Saving Tip: Only wash windows on a cloudy day.  If you wash them when it is sunny, the sun will dry the solution faster, thus causing streaks.  When you do not need to go at the windows again to remove streaks, you save time.

My own favorite solution is below:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent

NOTE: I use Dawn exclusively because of what I learned when I worked at the Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research in Delaware many years ago.  They used Dawn as they washed all the birds brought in from oil-spill areas.  My heart broke when I saw those poor, defenseless birds brought in completely covered with black, gooey oil.  As I helped to hold the birds that were being washed, I was surprised to see the grease wash away from their feathers and feet MUCH FASTER than what I went through at home.  What was different?  Tri-State used Dawn dish detergent and I had been using whatever was on sale at the supermarket!

  • I use vinegar on all glass items because it makes them sparkle and shine
  • Rubbing alcohol helps the solution to dry faster
  • Dawn dish detergent removes all greasy residue

Supplies you will also need:

  • Clean, lint-free rag
  • Large ground cloth or sheet
  • Large Sponge, preferably a natural one that absorbs more than synthetic ones
  • Old toothbrush or old paint brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Squeegee
  • Vacuum with crevice attachment

Some suggestions of lint-free rags you have around home are below.  Please, ONLY use those items that are no longer used and are destined for the trash or bag of rags anyway!

  • Cloth diapers
  • Cotton Linen kitchen towels
  • Knit tee shirts
  • Linen napkins
  • Old sheets
  • Shop rags (the kind used by mechanics)

Window Prep

  • Remove shades and knick-knacks
  • If you have curtains, either remove them (and toss them in the dryer to remove dust) or tie them back in some manner so you can easily wash all 4 corners of each window
  • For the insides of windows, lay a ground cloth or old sheet under the windows so no water will spill onto your floors


  • Combine the water, white vinegar, and rubbing alcohol in a bucket
  • Carefully mix in the Dawn dish detergent.  Mix slowly to avoid foam or bubbles from forming
  • At this point, I transfer some of the mixture into a spray bottle (to use inside) and use the mixture in the bucket on the outside of the windows
  • Remove cobwebs from the corners
  • Vacuum the track of all windows first when everything is dry, thereby making it easy to vacuum all of the dust and dirt particles that may be lodged in the window track.
  • Use the toothbrush or paint brush to get into the corners of the tracks for any dust or dirt that is trying to be stubborn


  • INSIDE of windows: spray the mixture into the corners of the windows and wipe it off with a sponge, pulling from the corners to the center of the window.  Spray the entire window and wipe the whole window with the sponge.
  • OUTSIDE of windows: dip the sponge in the solution and clean the corners of the window first, dip the sponge in the solution again and rinse, and then dip the sponge in the solution again and wash the whole window
  • Squeegee the fluid off the window, wiping the blade dry at the end of every stroke with a lint-free clean cloth
  • I’m sure everyone has heard this trick: squeegee/wipe the inside of the windows either vertically or horizontally and the outside of the windows the opposite direction so that you can see whether it is the inside or outside of the window if any streaks do appear without wasting any time
  • With the window completely washed, go back and check the window tracks for any dirt particles that remained after vacuuming.  For those, dip the toothbrush in the solution and scrub the corners and the remaining dirt.  Dip the toothbrush in the solution again, or use a sponge for this, and rinse the track one final time

    Clean Window

    Clean Window

  • Finish – and most important step – back up and take a good look at your newly washed windows and enjoy the view.  Make yourself a pot of tea or coffee and reward yourself for a job well done!

Final Note: Some people say that they wipe the window with a clean, soft cloth after they clean it with a squeegee.  I disagree with that because it adds unnecessary time to the task.  If your squeegee leaves streaks or leftover slivers of water, you need a new squeegee.


The above article was developed using information from the following sources:






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