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Cleaning Windows: Here’s How to Get Streak Free Windows in Next to No Time

A man cleaning a window
Regular window cleaning ensures good views.

Cleaning Windows for a Clear View Outside

For many people, cleaning windows is scheduled as part of the classic spring clean. But it is completely worth cleaning the windows several times a year and ensuring a clear view outside.

But it’s not only the clear view of the world which provides an argument for window cleaning - the more frequently you clean the windows, the easier it is. Because when you don’t need to get rid of major dirt, the windows really can be cleaned in next to no time and gleam with a fresh shine.

Use our tips and tricks, find out which household remedies help with window cleaning and which equipment can make the job so much easier. Let’s go!

When Do You Need to Clean the Windows?

Cleaning agents and accessories for cleaning windows
Get all the equipment you need to clean the windows ready. Then the work is done quickly. ©iStock/AndreyPopov
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Bucket
  • Cotton cloth or microfiber cloth
  • Chamois
  • Cotton or linen cloth to wipe afterwards
  • Cloth for the window frames
  • Window vacuum
  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • White vinegar, lemon juice, ammonium chloride, or methylated spirits
  • Natron
  • Old tooth brush
  • Gloves

1. Tip: The Proper Preparation

Proper preparation is important to ensure that window cleaning is quick and easy. So start by sweeping the window pane clean with the dustpan and brush. Don’t forget the frames and window sill. Remove dust, leaves and any spider webs from the inside of the window sill.

2. Tip: Use the Correct Equipment

Window vacuum
Windows can be quickly cleaned with the proper equipment. It’s worth making an investment here.

A lot of people find it difficult to start this essentially unpleasant task. This is particularly true when we let certain tasks grow into insurmountable challenges in our minds.

If this is the case for you because you absolutely hate cleaning windows, there is help: With the proper equipment you can clean windows quickly and easily and it’s even fun! You don’t even need to put your hands in the cleaning water.

If you can’t face window cleaning at all, buy a window vacuum. You can clean your windows in record time, perhaps better than ever and without getting wet hands.

Equipment such as the GlassVAC from Bosch and handy, lightweight and easy to use. They can clean up to 35 windows with one battery charge, without any dripping cloths, spilled water or other irritations.

3. Tip: Secret Black Tea Tip

If you don’t have any of the usual household remedies for window cleaning to hand, such as lemons, vinegar or ammonium chloride, you can rely on some other remedies that you probably have in your kitchen. Make yourself a black tea.

Use two teabags in cup, pour over boiling water and leave to stand for ten minutes. Then pour the tea in a bucket with water. In no time at all you’ve got a cleaning solution to clean your windows.

Cleaning windows with tea
Black tea is an old household remedy for cleaning windows. Simply brew yourself as much as you need. ©iStock/muzzyco

4. Tip: Follow the Proper Order

The sequence of the individual work steps is important when cleaning windows. Here’s the best way to proceed:

  1. Always clean the inner side of the pane first.
  2. Then clean the outer side of the pane.
  3. Clean the frame next, inside and outside, each side with a different cloth.
  4. Then change the cleaning water.

A lot of people clean the frames first and then the panes. But this doesn’t make sense if you want to do the job with one bucket of cleaning water. There is often a lot dirt stuck to the frames. If you begin with these, you will then be cleaning the window with dirty water. This makes smears and streaks almost inevitable.

Alternatively, you can also clean all the frames inside and then change the water. Then clean all the frames outside and change the water again. Finish by cleaning all the windows with fresh cleaning water.

5. Tip: Spare Resources

A bucket for cleaning the windows
A small bucket is big enough for cleaning windows. It doesn’t need to hold more than five litres. ©iStock/AndreyPopov

Use a small bucket to clean the windows. Five litres is plenty. Fill the bucket half way with cleaning water and change it when it gets really dirty. However, before you clean the panes you should always refill with fresh water.

You should always clean the window frames as well. If you leave them out to save water and cleaning agents, the dirt from the frames will run on to the window pane in the next rainfall.

6. Tip: Correct Technique Is Crucial

The technique also matters when cleaning windows. Always start in the top left corner. Then wipe across horizontally to the right corner. Then slightly swing the cloth over this back to the left. Continue in this way until you reach the bottom edge of the window.

Use a squeegee or window vacuum to dry and polish. Finally, remove the cleaning water particularly gently from the pane. If you use a squeegee, dry it after every stroke with a chamois or a cloth.

Then polish the window pane from top left to bottom right in circular movements. If you are left-handed follow the work steps the other way round.

If you have sensitive floors, place an old towel under the window. This will protect the floor from water drops and dirt.

7. Tip: Remove Stubborn Dirt

Intensive window cleaning
You can loosen stubborn dirt with a paste made from baking soda and water. This will loosen the dirt. ©iStock/Divi Filius

If there is stubborn dirt on the window, stir together a paste made from a heaped tablespoon of baking soda and a little water. Rub this over the dirt. A little bit of vinegar may help for particularly tough dirt.

Leave it to work for about two minutes. Then wipe away the paste with a cloth.

If the dirt is still there, you can use a scraper for the hob. These metal scrapers for ceramic areas also do a good job cleaning windows. However, you should never use a knife or trowel. These will quickly scratch the window pane.

8. Tip: Thoroughly Brush Clean the Frame

The window frames need particular attention if they are very dirty. The fine rims and narrow gaps on the frames are best cleaned with an old toothbrush.

Use a cleaning agent such as the baking soda paste mentioned above. You can also clean plastic windows with a spray made from citric acid and water. Then wipe down thoroughly.

Six Window Cleaning Mistakes

Squeegee for cleaning windows
Avoid six typical mistakes when cleaning windows. We can tell you what they are. ©iStock/BrianAJackson

Window cleaning isn’t sorcery. But it is possible to make some mistakes. Don’t fall into these traps:

  1. Cleaning the windows in the sunshine
    If the window panes are warm, the cleaning water will evaporate faster than you can wipe it away. This results in streaks and smears. So it’s better to clean the windows on an overcast day or when the windows are in the shade. You may need to get up a bit earlier or start a bit later in the day for this.
  2. Cleaning windows in frost
    Low temperatures don’t help when it comes to cleaning windows, either. For a start, your fingers will quickly freeze. Secondly, very cold cleaning water is difficult to distribute on the window pane. This may result in you simply rubbing the dirt around, instead of getting rid of it.
  3. Two much cleaning agent
    The water should only have a very small amount of cleaning agent. A few drops is plenty. Otherwise the cleaning water will foam up unnecessarily. This can also leave smears on the window.
  4. Soft-washed cleaning cloths
    The cloths you use to clean windows should not be washed with softener. If they are they will soak up too much moisture. They should also not hold any cleaning agent residue. So make sure that they have been thoroughly rinsed out.
    Just to be on the safe side, rinse out the cloths in a sink with fresh water before cleaning the windows.
  5. Cleaning alcohol in the cleaning water
    Many of your grandparents may remember the tip of putting cleaning alcohol in the water. But it’s actually very bad advice. Afterwards, you throw the water down the drain. The cleaning alcohol ends up in the waste water and then in the sewage treatment plant. Cleaning alcohol certainly doesn’t belong in the water cycle. So always avoid using this agent when cleaning windows.
  6. Working too slowly
    At some stages, cleaning windows is about a working speed. If you wait too long to polish, streaks and smears will appear. So don’t let yourself get distracted from the work and carry out the work steps one after the other. Then you’ll get a gleaming, clean result.
Cleaning Windows: Here’s How to Get Streak Free Windows in Next to No Time
The more windows in the house, the more you have to clean. That can be a lot of work. But with the proper tips and equipment, you can do it in next to no time - and completely streak free!