Over time, pollution and grime accumulate slowly but surely on your windows, both inside and out, obstructing your views and blocking precious sunlight. The only thing worse? Thick streaks left behind by improper cleaning.
To keep your vista streak-free (and your light-loving houseplants happy), follow this expert cleaning advice from Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. With the right window-cleaning products and techniques, your windows will have never looked better.
Mistake #1: Choosing a sunny day to clean your windows.
“Do this job in the blazing sun and the cleaner will dry onto the hot windows before you get to wipe it off, leaving hard-to-remove streaks,” Forte says. If the weather won’t cooperate, start on the shady side of the house.
Mistake #2: Spraying cleaner on top of dirt and dust.
Before you get started, sweep dirt from the window frame with a brush, or suck it up with a handheld vacuum or your machine’s dust attachment. This will prevent dirt from turning into a muddy mess when mixed with a cleaner. If your window screen looks especially grimy, pop it out and wash with hot, sudsy water and a soft brush, then rinse and let dry before putting it back. For quickly dusting shades and blinds, Forte recommends going over both sides with a microfiber duster, or opening the slats and going over each one with a damp cloth followed with a dry one.
Mistake #3: Skimping on window cleaner.
Don’t hold back on the spray, especially if your windows look extra dirty. “You need plenty of cleaner to dissolve and suspend the dirt so it can be completely wiped away — skimp and you’ll be seeing streaks,” Forte says.
She recommends Invisible Glass Cleaner With EZ Grip. The fine mist from the bottle stays where you spray until you wipe it, meaning less drips and mess. Check out more of our top-tested cleaners, depending on the job: