As household chores go, window cleaning can easily fall to the bottom of the priority list. Dishes piled up in the kitchen sink or fingerprints on stainless steel appliances are quicker to grab our attention. But getting clean, streak-free windows is faster and easier than you think and will give you a sunnier outlook on the world outside.

At JELD-WEN of Canada, it’s “clear” we love windows, and we love to see them looking their best. We’ve created this guide with practical and effective tips for cleaning windows so you can get your windows looking spotless and streak-free in a flash. 

Read on for our expert techniques, tools, and tips to help you maintain clean windows in both residential and commercial settings. 

The downside to dirty windows

Dirty windows aren’t just unpleasant to look at. Dirt on your windows can be a nasty combination of dust (and dust mites!), smoke fumes, bacteria, pollen and airborne pollutants. Over time, condensation on window glass from temperature fluctuations and moisture can create an environment conducive to mould build-up too. 

Regular cleaning of your window panels and frames will contribute to a healthier environment for you and your home’s inhabitants, whether people or pets. It will also help to protect your investment, keeping your windows in good shape for many years to come.

Proper window cleaning can help to ensure that windows with Low-E coatings work as they’re meant to, keeping your family comfortable indoors. A layer of dirt on the window may reduce your home’s energy efficiency, preventing sun from penetrating.

With the increased popularity of large panels of glass in windows and doors, dirty glass is more noticeable than ever. Having the tools you need to get clean, streak-free windows will help you keep your glass looking great so you can better enjoy natural light and outdoor vistas.

Make window cleaning part of your regular routine

Window cleaning can seem a daunting task. If you grew up watching your mom methodically take down sliding glass panels one at a time to clean them, window cleaning looks tiring indeed.

To avoid burnout, it can help to tackle window cleaning in smaller chunks. One day a week, set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many window interiors you can clean. If it’s the ground floor windows one week, do 10 minutes on upper floor windows the next week.

If you tend to clean one room or area at a time—maybe Mondays are for the foyer and the dining room, for example—clean the windows in only that area on the specified day. 

By adding window cleaning to your regular rotation, you’ll be amazed how sparkling your windows stay and how much less elbow grease it takes to clean them.

For windows that can easily be reached from outdoors, add the exterior glass surfaces to your rotation. Consider seeking the assistance of professional window cleaners seasonally if exteriors are difficult to reach.

We tend to take our windows for granted until they aren’t serving us well for one reason or another. Build regular window cleaning into your schedule to keep an eye out for potential problems or maintenance needs.

Spot cleaning is better than no cleaning

If time is short, guests are on the way and you just can’t clean the windows, don’t be afraid to do a quick touch-up of problem spots. A fast swipe of the area the dog puts her nose on will have your sliding doors looking 60 percent better, so you’re not embarrassed when the afternoon sun shines through.

Recommended tools and cleaners

While fancy tools and expensive cleaners might offer some cleaning motivation, they really aren’t necessary to get a streak-free, shiny window. 

Look for a microfiber cleaning cloth designed for glass (aka non-porous) surfaces. This will ensure you don’t leave any streaks, lint or dust behind on the glass. 

Some window cloths are made to be used with water only, so an initial investment in the cloth will soon pay off—you won't need any cleaning products whatsoever! Just keep a spray bottle of water handy for quick and easy application to the window surface.

If you need a bit more of a cleaning boost, you can opt for a conventional window and glass cleaning product. For an environmentally friendly option that is also kinder to your lungs, white vinegar is a resourceful, inexpensive and safe cleaner. 

Simply add one part vinegar and two parts water to a spray bottle. If the smell of vinegar bothers you, stick with the plain water option, above.

For those who live in areas with hard water, the high concentration of minerals may result in a less even clean. Try using distilled vinegar in place of tap water and see if this resolves the issue.

If you’re making the switch from conventional to eco-friendly cleaning products, you might find there’s a build-up on your window glass. The David Suzuki Foundation recommends removing the initial gunk with a hydrogen peroxide solution before beginning to use natural or homemade cleaning products on glass.

In lieu of a cloth, another eco-friendly option that you might remember from childhood is crumpled up sections of newspaper—if you can still find a newspaper around!

Save money, reduce waste

The combination of a vinegar-based cleaner and a reusable cloth means there’s no need to purchase cleaning products or paper towels, so you save money, reduce waste and get clean, streak-free windows! Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for cleaning and reusing the cloths to ensure they have a long life and get plenty of usage.

Window cleaning techniques

Remove any stickers or sticky foods on your window first. A little bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad should do the trick.

With your glass cleaning cloth in hand, spray the window from top to bottom with the cleaning solution. Try to hit the entire surface, but don’t apply so much product that your cloth ends up soaking wet. A slightly damp cloth will work better to ensure the surface dries quickly and you get a streak-free finish.

Wipe the window surface in sections from one side of the window to the other, moving the cloth side to side (about a foot wide) and moving down the window as you go. If moisture remains, wipe the area again.

Be sure to wipe the frame with a separate, dry microfiber cloth to remove any cleaning product and keep your frame dry. Vinegar is generally safe for glass, but be sure it doesn’t come in contact with any natural stone surfaces or at-risk finishes.

Window cleaning doesn’t need to be a big deal

We hope these tips will help you to move window cleaning a little farther up on the to-do list. Schedule window cleaning into your calendar of tasks and you’ll find it becomes a habit over time. 

Once window cleaning is part of your routine, your windows will be fast and easy to touch up, and you won’t have to worry if surprise guests arrive. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Good enough will do.



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