9 Pro Tips for Squeaky-Clean Windows

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated June 20, 2022
woman cleaning her apartment windows
Photo: Seventyfour/ Adobe Stock

Let’s get crystal clear on how to clean your windows

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What if we told you that the blue stuff in a bottle is doing you and your windows dirty? If you’re going batty trying to get rid of those doggy nose prints, fingerprints, and mystery smudges, it’s time for a new approach. Here are nine pro-level tips to get your windows squeaky clean.

Professional Window Cleaning Solutions and Tools

Dish Soap Solution

A simple solution of cold water with a few drops of dish soap is all you need. Apply with a sponge and use either a scratch-free scrubby pad or #0000 fine steel wool to tackle stuck-on spots.

"A dish soap solution is the most cost-effective and efficient cleaning solution for removing dirt and grime from windows without streaks behind,"said Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.

Vinegar Solution

Not ready for the squeegee-dish soap combo or looking to use what you have on hand? There’s still a better solution than the blue stuff, and it’s probably already in your pantry.

“A vinegar dilution is one of the most available and cost-effective solutions, and it’s underutilized,” Biddle said.

Mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the window down and wipe it clean using the tools and techniques in the following tips.

Use Pro-Level Tools

someone cleaning window with squeegee
Photo: ronstik / Adobe Stock

“Squeegee” isn’t just one of the best words in the English language—it’s also an amazing tool for streak-free windows. In fact, it’s what almost all the pros use, so you know it has to be good. Don’t use the rubber tool created for your shower, though. Instead, opt for a professional-grade window squeegee. You can find these online, as well as in your local home improvement or janitorial supply store. 

Make sure it has these three parts:

  • An ergonomic handle

  • A channel, aka place where the rubber goes (a 12–18-inch model should work just fine)

  • A rubber component, which rests within the channel

Once you become a squeegee enthusiast, remember that its rubber piece will wear out over time. When you see fine lines left behind after use, it’s time for a replacement.

Professional Window Cleaning Tips

1. Wipe Your Glass With Yesterday’s News

You may have seen your grandma used balled-up newspaper for a streak-free shine. It’s a classic for a reason, and why it’s still a popular trick of the trade for professional auto detailers.

While this won’t work as well as a professional window squeegee (yep, we just wanted to say it again), it’s a great alternative if you don’t have one or if you’ve got a lot of Classified sections to recycle. Make sure your paper uses petroleum-based ink rather than soy. Otherwise, it may leave a residue behind. If in doubt, test a small area to be sure. 

2. Clean and Dry With Cotton Towels

woman cleaning window with rag
Photo: pingpao / Adobe Stock

No squeegee handy and nary a newspaper to be found? Try the professional house cleaner’s trick. Spray your vinegar solution or DIY window cleaner, then rub the glass down with a clean cotton towel. Flip the towel to its dry side to remove any remaining moisture. 

3. Eliminate Streaks With Figure Eights

When wiping down your windows, avoid making small circles. These will leave you right back where you started—or worse. Instead, use a continuous side-to-side swooping motion, creating the shape of a figure eight (gracefulness is optional). Try to cover as much surface area as you can with each swipe, and gradually move down after you’ve completed a section.

4. Allow the Glass to Air-Dry

Once you’ve got the entire surface clean, allow the window to air-dry for a few minutes before tackling any remaining lint. In the meantime, you can clean the windowsill and surrounding areas for an extra-satisfying result.

5. Clear Remaining Lint With a Cotton or Microfiber Towel

If you see any leftover fuzzies, give the window a once-over with a clean cotton or microfiber towel. Take a break if need be, as lint can be extremely sneaky and frustrating. You’ll get the rest of it when you come back.

Consider Bringing in a Pro

Whether your windows are difficult to reach or just plain impossible to clean, a professional window cleaner near you can help you achieve that spotless shine without the extra effort.

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