Everyone loves the spotless results of a good window-cleaning session, but no one loves to do it. With these 10 cleaning hacks, you can work smarter, not harder — and keep your windows looking and working their best.
1. Wax on.
Apply a coat of floor wax to exterior window sills to help repel dirt and dust while providing a protective layer between your sill and the elements. If you’ve got WD-40 on hand, it will accomplish the same thing.
2. Toothpaste will buff out small scratches.
If you notice any minor scratches or nicks in the glass while you’re cleaning, buff them out with non-gel toothpaste. First, clean and dry the glass as usual. Squirt a dab of toothpaste into a soft cloth, then rub it into the scratch using a circular motion. Buff for 30-40 seconds, clean the toothpaste off and check the scratch again. If it’s still visible, you can repeat the process again until you’re satisfied with the appearance of the glass.
3. Erase streaks — literally.
No matter how much you’ve perfected your technique, you may end up with a streak or two. But don’t sweat it — erase it! Pick up a blackboard or whiteboard eraser and simply erase your mistakes. A clean cloth diaper or soft t-shirt will also do the trick.
4. Bar Keeper’s Friend is also your friend.
While some stains can be removed with normal cleaning solution, spots from hard-water runoff will likely be a bit more stubborn. For stains like these, try Bar Keeper’s Friend, a common powdered cleaning agent. Mix the powder into a paste on a soft, damp cloth, then rub away the stains. Rinse and squeegee the glass, then repeat if necessary.
5. Customize your squeegee.
The easiest way to work on a multi-paned window is to get a squeegee that fits the dimensions of each pane exactly. There’s no need to waste time scouring home improvement stores for the perfect product; just cut a standard-sized squeegee down to size. Use a hacksaw to cut the metal channel of the squeegee down to ¼ inch narrower than the window pane, then file the edges smooth to prevent injuries. Use a utility knife to cut the rubber blade to the full width of the window pane, and you’ve got yourself the perfect sized squeegee.
6. Razor blades don’t cut it.
Need to remove a sticker or other gooey residue from a window? As tempting as it may be to scrape it off with a razor blade, resist the urge. Even the most steady hand can slip and scratch the glass, resulting in a bigger problem. Instead, try dabbing the sticky spot with rubbing alcohol or Goo Gone.
7. Static-free is the way to be.
Using an old newspaper as a cleaning tool may be a time-honored trick, but it’s not the most effective one. Rubbing windows with newspapers or paper towels puts a static charge on the glass, which attracts dust and dirt. Instead, use a soft, static- and lint-free cloth.
8. Make tracks.
While you’re scrubbing, don’t forget your window tracks, which are prone to attracting grime. The narrow cranny can be hard to reach, but spongy craft brushes come in many small sizes, so you’re sure to find one that fits your space well. Dip it in Pine-Sol first for extra cleaning power and a lemony-fresh scent.
9. Stay streak-free longer with the secret “Blue Rain” formula.
Some pros swear this secret formula keeps windows spotless for 3-6 months. To concoct “Blue Rain,” you’ll need blue Dawn dish soap, Rain-X Original rain repellent and Rain-X 2-in-1.
Mix a drop of Dawn dish soap into a spray bottle filled with warm water. Shake to combine, then apply to windows.
Wipe windows clean with a soft, static-free cloth.
Make sure windows are 100% dry.
For exterior-facing windows, stand about 1.5 feet away from glass and mist it lightly with Rain-X Original.
Clean with a soft cloth or a squeegee.
For interior windows, use Rain-X 2-in-1, which is odorless, instead.
10. Embrace the clouds.
Taking advantage of a sunny day to get your windows clean may seem like a great idea, but the rays are actually counter-productive to your progress. The heat will make the cleaning solution dry faster, causing streaks and making you work harder to get it wiped off.
For a step-by-step guide on getting your glass gleaming, check out our detailed spring cleaning guide.