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They say the eyes are the window to the soul, so perhaps the reverse is also true. Windows are like the eyes of your home, letting in glorious sunlight to illuminate your belongings and bring life to all inside while giving outsiders a glimpse into your cozy dwelling.
If the windows are dusty, grimy and just plain gross, the effect is not as lovely. However, cleaning windows can feel like a grueling and thankless task. You could spend all afternoon spraying and wiping with ordinary glass cleaner, only to be left with streaks, smears and smudges that you simply cannot seem to remove.
Fortunately, a few tips and tricks can help to produce gleaming windows of which you can be proud. Learn a handful of hacks to arm yourself with the tools, supplies and know-how that will garner sparkling clean results and have the neighbors asking, “Who does your windows?”
1. Use Dawn Dishwashing Soap
Sometimes, glass cleaner simply will not cut it. For instance, when your exterior windows are long overdue for a cleaning or if you have been undergoing renovations in your home that have left everything covered in dust and dirt. This calls for a little extra oomph to get the windows clean.
In these instances, you will get shinier windows by washing them first. Fill a bucket with warm water and add just a few drops of dish soap — blue Dawn is highly recommended. Use a non-scratch scouring sponge to soap up the glass.
2. Scrub, Squeegee and Swipe
Once you have soaped up, scrubbed and rinsed the window, grab a squeegee and a soft, clean cloth. Starting at the top of the pane, pull the squeegee straight across the window. Wipe off the blade with the dry cloth and repeat. When you are done, use the cloth (or a fresh one, if the first one is too damp) to wipe away any remaining soap or water.
3. Try A DIY Glass Cleaner
You can use glass cleaner to polish interior windows or as a follow-up to washing outdoor panes. There is no need to spend money on professional-grade glass cleaner or use dangerous chemicals. All you really need are two ingredients you likely have on hand.
Vinegar and water—more specifically, white vinegar and distilled water — are ideal for cleaning fingerprints, splashes, streaks and other unsightly blemishes on all the glass in your home. Combine equal parts of each in a spray bottle, give it a little shake and you are good to go.
4. Pass on Paper Towels
They may seem handy, but paper towels are not the best option for wiping away window cleaner. Not only do they tend to cause streaks, but they often leave behind bits of paper, as well. Instead, use a clean microfiber cloth or plain old newspaper. Pro tip: If you opt for the latter, wear rubber gloves to avoid print-stained hands.
5. Keep Them Streak-Free For Months
Once your windows are spotless and sparkling, you can take a final step to help them stay clean longer. Apply automotive rain repellent, such as Rain-X, to your exterior windows by spraying it on and wiping it off.
This final step will help prevent unsightly water spots that quickly cause panes to appear dull, dingy and dirty, so you can throw open the curtains and let in the sunshine.