Freeman Exteriors

How to Properly Clean Your Windows

window cleaning

There are approximately 142 million housing units in America. A trait that all of them share in common is a need for some basic housekeeping.

Whether you live in an apartment or own a home, you’ll spend some of your time sanitizing your bathroom, washing dishes, sweeping, mopping, and possibly vacuuming. Plus, let no one forget the joys of laundry.

One household cleaning task that a lot of people ignore, though, is window cleaning. Some simply don’t like it, but others avoid it because they simply don’t know the right way to do the job.

If you’re in that latter category, keep reading for our guide to proper window maintenance.

Pick Your Day Wisely

Since window cleaning involves spending at least some time out of doors, a lot of people wait until a bright, warm sunny day to do their window cleaning. This is one you can put right at the top of your window cleaning tips list. Don’t clean your windows on a bright, warm sunny day.

While all of that sunlight and heat might feel good and encourage your body to make some vitamin D, it’s also going to make your cleaning job substantially more difficult. The light and heat will often dry the cleaner straight onto your window glass, which creates a different kind of streaky mess for you to clean.

Instead, aim for a cooler, cloudy day to do the work. The window cleaner will remain in liquid form longer, which lets you get a beautiful, streak-free window.

Things You’ll Need

There is no exact right list of things you need for cleaning windows because techniques vary a bit from person to person. As a general rule, though, you should have the following things on hand before you start outdoor window cleaning:

  • Bucket
  • Squeegee
  • Window scrubber
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Rags
  • Old newspaper
  • Cleaning spray

With these on hand, you can accomplish all the window care you need to do in terms of cleaning. You can often find a window scrubber and squeegee combo if you want to minimize the space used for storing your cleaning tools.

For indoor window cleaning, you’ll want to stick with a cleaning spray and newspaper or microfiber towels for any scrubbing action.

Cleaning Products

You can find glass cleaning products in almost any grocery store or retail outlet. Many of these cleaners, however, use ammonia as a key ingredient in the cleaning solution.

While ammonia can do a good job on windows, it also produces very potent fumes. Ammonia cleaners can also leave streaks behind on windows. If you’re sensitive to strong smells, you will either want to buy an ammonia-free cleaner at the store or make your own glass cleaner.

Most homemade glass cleaners use vinegar as a base. The mild acid helps loosen dirt and grime on windows. For outdoor cleaning, you can often get away with nothing more than a bucket of water with a little liquid dishwashing soap in it.


Before you get serious with the window cleaner, you’ll want to do a bit of pre-cleaning both inside and out. Minimally, you’ll want to wipe down the window frame and any muntins with a damp cloth or rag.

This will help remove any dirt, dust, or small debris that may have accumulated on the frame or muntins. It will also help ensure that you don’t accidentally spread dust or dirt from the frame and muntins onto the window glass.

For window exteriors that are particularly dirty or grimy, you may also want to gently spray them with down a garden hose.

Cleaning Interior Surfaces

When cleaning the interior glass surface, you should spray at the top of the window or pane and move down from there. Use an old bit of newspaper or microfiber cloth and move it over the glass in an S-shape. You can also use a circular motion on the glass, just make sure you get all of it. 

Cleaning Exterior Glass Surfaces

Remember the bucket, window scrubber, and squeegee mentioned above. This is the part of the job where they come into play.

You should dip the scrubber into the bucket and wring out the excess water. Use the scrubber on the window to loosen up any remaining dirt and grime.

After you’re done with the scrubber, pull the squeegee across the glass in a horizontal motion. Start at the top of the window and work your way down. Wipe the squeegee with the microfiber cloth between each swipe to minimize potential streaking.

If you used liquid dish soap in the water, you can usually call it a day at this point. If you didn’t use soap or you’re not satisfied with the appearance, you can use the same spray cleaner and newspaper method you used on the inside of the windows.

Call in Professional Assistance

Many homes have a second story with windows. While you can potentially DIY clean those window exteriors from a ladder, it can prove a riskier move. If your ladder is old or your balance isn’t great, you could fall off the ladder.

On the other hand, maybe you don’t have a lot of spare time for things like cleaning your windows. If you’re not certain about cleaning your windows or lack the time to do the job right, it makes sense to call in professional window cleaners. They can do the job safely, or spare you the lost time in your week.

Window Cleaning and You

Window cleaning isn’t necessarily a difficult job, but it can prove a time-consuming job if you want it done right. Good preparation is a big part of getting that streak-free look that everyone wants.

You should gather all of your supplies in advance. You should also take your time with the pre-cleaning. The better a job you do with the window frames and muntins, the fewer problems you’ll have with the glass itself.

Freeman Exteriors offers window cleaning services in the Danville and Champaign, IL areas. To schedule service, contact Freeman Exteriors today.

Jake Freeman

Jake Freeman

Freeman Exteriors is a family owned and operated general contracting company. We specialize in roofing and commercial renovations. We serve Champaign County, Vermilion County, including Champaign, Danville, Paris, IL and Crawfordsville, Covington, West Lafayette, IN and surrounding areas. Our goal is to be the general contractor of choice through our pledge to maintain the highest quality of standards and workmanship. Give us a call today to begin your next project!

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