How to Clean Windows
The old standard for window cleaning still remains as effective as it did fifty years ago—newspapers and straight white vinegar will get windows spotless, but tends to leave them a little streaky.
We are going to share with you a variety of tips, hints and homemade recipes we have collected over the years—not only for windows but for window seals, blinds and everything else to help keep your windows clean.
Window Cleaner Recipe
For window glass use the following mixture to replace commercial cleaners. It not only works well, but it's better for the environment and it is much less expensive.
- 1/2 cup ammonia
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 gallon of water.
Dry the Glass
Dry windows on the outside in one direction (e.g. side to side) and inside in the other direction (e.g. up and down). You will be able to tell where any streaking is. For extra shine, buy a blackboard eraser and use it to polish after drying to add a just a bit more shine. Remember to get the real wool type of eraser, not the cheap type that comes with inexpensive children’s toys.
The major complaint with using newspaper to clean windows is they leave ink stains on your hands. Another household item you can use to clean windows is large coffee filters. They are lint free and relatively cheap. They also leave a shine that paper towels don’t leave. Art stores sell rolls of newspaper paper for art projects. If the ink bothers you, this will work the same as printed newspapers.
Cleaning Window Frames
Many window frames are not only made of a delicate aluminum but are also painted, making cleaning even more of an issue. Window frames seem to pick up some of the most difficult to clean dust. Grease, sticky pollen and bugs are especially attracted to window frames. Always use a mild non-abrasive cleaner with a soft cloth as to not damage the paint or the aluminum.
Preventing Future Dirt and Grime
To prevent dirt and pollen from sticking to the window, when it is perfectly clean, paint it with a clear coat of lacquer. This will make the surface slick and avoid damaging the existing paint as well as keep it from rusting. Don’t clean the window or window frame if they are very cold or very hot. Below 50 degrees or above 90 degrees and it would probably be better to wait until a different day. Same goes for cleaning the glass windows. Above 90 degrees will cause windows to streak.
Removing Grease, Dust and Mildew from Windows
Automatic dishwasher liquid works very well as a degreaser. Dilute it a bit and use a soft cloth and very soft brush to clean. For those bugs and hairballs that get stuck in the corners, devote an old pair of tweezers to the cleaning box and use those to get the little stuff out of the corners. They will work well to tuck back the little screen corners that start to peel out.
Many people will recommend using bleach to clean greasy areas. However, bleach is dangerous when mixed with ammonia and many of us find ammonia alone works well.
Hydrogen peroxide used straight on car windows works very well on road grime. The peroxide will cut right through a year’s worth of built up road goo.
More Window Cleaning Tips
- Use a medium size make up brush to paint on Vaseline ™ once a year. This will keep the window from sticking.
- To make the window cleaner mixture look like commercial cleaner, add a few drops of food coloring.
- Using distilled water to mix the window cleaning solution will cut down on the minerals in the mix and prevent water spots from appearing later.
- Use the remaining solution (when mixing buckets at a time for outside spring-cleaning) to clean out the garbage pails. No matter whether you use vinegar, ammonia or other mixture it will work well for the bottom of the garbage can. One note: if you are using ammonia, be sure not to mix in any products with bleach—even outside.
- For water stains on the outside from sprinkler systems, use a toilet bowl cleaner before you clean. Be sure to avoid mixing products with bleach and ammonia and use rubber gloves. Not a good idea if there are delicate plants below the window.