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Window Cleaning for the Sparkle and Shine

Posted by Molly Gilbert on August 18, 2017
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You look out on the world from the windows of your home. When your home’s windows are gunked up with months of grime, dust, pollen, and dirt, your outlook can seem pretty dull and dim. Window cleaning will make the world look better to you, and will make your home look better to the world. Just as with your gutters, you should clean your home’s windows twice a year. Since you’ll need a tall ladder for both tasks, it makes sense to take care of both at the same time.

Wait for Cloudy Day

It might seem counter-intuitive, but cloudy days are best for window cleaning. Sunny days will dry out the cleaning solution more quickly, leaving your windows covered with streaks and spots. If that’s the case, you’ll be cleaning the windows all over again. For the same reason, you’ll get better results earlier in the morning and in the evening.

Protect Your Floors and Flowerbeds

Before you start cleaning the interior side of your windows, spread some old towels or drop cloths to catch any cleaning solution that gets away from you. The same applies to any garden beds beneath your exterior panes. Although we will be recommending relatively mild solutions, even a little bit can harm sensitive plants.

Mix Your Cleaning Solution

With a variety of mixtures to choose from, you’ll need to mix a solution that will work best for you. No matter which you chose, always use distilled water to avoid minerals that are dissolved in tap water. These harmless minerals might leave a film or streaks. Try one of these recipes for a cleaning solution:

Dishwashing Liquid

Mix 1 gallon of water with ½ teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. This super-simple mixture is perfect for windows that are in pretty good shape.


Mix the water and white vinegar in equal parts. A good all-purpose cleaner, this solution will work well on dirtier panes. The vinegar is mildly acidic, allowing it to cut through the grime.

Combine Both

Cover all your bases and mix equal parts water and vinegar, then add a teaspoon or two of dishwashing liquid. If you choose this option, try adding 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil to balance the pungent vinegar.

Time to Wash

Wash the window using a soft cloth or natural sponge if your windows are too dirty. If a lot of grime has accumulated, use a hog-bristle brush. The goal here is to knock away the dirt and grime. Don’t forget the corners! If your neighborhood has a lot of sand or dust, scrub quite gently to avoid scratching the glass.

Squeegee the Solution

When cleaning a sizeable pane of glass, begin at the top, then make a large S with the squeegee blade. Wipe the blade clean after every stroke using a soft, lint-free cloth. Smaller windowpanes, the kind often found in many of Knoxville’s more established neighborhoods, will require a smaller squeegee and a simple top-to-bottom stroke. Again, clean the blade after every pass.

Dry the Window

A micro-fiber towel or a damp chamois will dry the remaining cleaning solution. Skipping this step will usually lead to spots and streaks again. Liquid tends to collect in the corners of the windowpane; be sure to soak it up.

Screens Need Some Love, Too

What good does it do to shine up your glass if your screens aren’t clean as well? Use a vacuum to get rid of the larger bits of dirt or dust. Wash the screen using the same solution you used for the glass. Your screens should dry completely before you replace them.

Subtle Curb Appeal

Washing your windows is just one of the many subtle ways to improve your home’s curb appeal. Talk to one of our many knowledgeable agents here at Wood Realtors when it’s time for you to sell your home, clean windows and all.