Save Money & Time With DIY Secrets To Easy Streak-Free Windows Using Common Household Products
Who doesn’t love having lots of windows? Windows bring tons of natural light into a home along with fabulous views. A clear view outside provides your most current weather report, while affording sweeping vistas of nature or cityscape. But when you suddenly realize your view is no longer so clear and is instead obstructed by a layer of grime, you are forced to deal with the one drawback to having lots of windows — cleaning them all. Window washing is one chore we routinely put off, especially when our best efforts at cleaning with store-bought products consistently result in a streaky mess. It’s easy to want to just throw in the towel and call a professional.
Make Cleaning Your Windows Almost Effortless & Inexpensive
Well, hold the phone, because achieving the look of professionally cleaned, streak-free windows, glass, or mirrors at home can be both super-easy and inexpensive. All you need are a few simple yet clever DIY tricks and tips plus some common household products you probably already have under your sink.
Read on for secrets to turn common, affordable household ingredients into effective cleaning agents to rival store-bought ones — no chemistry degree, or professional, required.
Clean Your Windows Without Streaks Secret # 1: Dry “Pre-Cleaning”
It may seem so obvious yet that’s precisely why it is easy to overlook and skip. Which is unfortunate because doing this really makes a difference, especially if you are dealing with large, outside windows that collect lots of dirt and dust. So, what exactly is this “secret?” Well, it is as simple as taking a long-handled dry broom, brush or mop and dry sweeping away dirt, dust, dead bugs before you start washing. The more dry dirt and dust you can remove from your windows pre-washing, the less dirty mess overall which makes streak-free windows much easier to achieve.
See, I told you it was obvious, but because of its simplicity it is easy to skip and miss out on this impactful step. Taking a few minutes to do it will make the entire window washing process less dirty, which means fewer streaks on your windows.
Outdoor Windows Pre-Cleaning Hose Hack
In addition, also for outdoor windows, don’t be afraid to avail yourself of any available garden hose lying around. Hosing down your windows allows you to quickly remove excess dirt and grime prior to going in with your cleaning solution. Again, doing this simple prep step will prevent your cleaning implements from getting dirty so quickly which, in turn, will make your windows less streaky and the window washing process faster, which we can all appreciate.
Clean Your Windows Without Streaks Secret # 2: Avoid Paper Towels
Paper towels may be the first thing many of us reach for but not only are they rather wasteful and hardly economical, but they tend to leave behind streaks as well. Paper towels tend to fall apart leaving tiny bits of paper and lint in their wake, obstructing your window’s shine and sparkle. Similarly, a cotton cloth can also leave behind lint and residue if you don’t follow with something to “polish” and buff it away. So, what’s left?
The Importance Of The Right Tool Or Cloth For Streak-Free Windows
Instead of the usual paper towel and cotton cloth suspects, opt for a long-handled squeegee, scour sponge, micro-fiber cloth or mop to clean your windows. A damp squeegee is excellent for achieving a streak-free finish. With each stroke, be sure to wipe off any drips from the edge of your squeegee that threaten to run down your windows. But don’t stop there, especially if you use a sponge, micro-fiber cloth or mop. You still need a separate, harder cloth to easily buff those windows down and truly eliminate streaks.
Don’t Forget To Buff Your Window Streaks Away — If It’s Good Enough For Your Car…
Frankly, a big secret to streak-free windows is the choice of cloth that you use to wipe them down. While you could settle for a lint-free microfiber cloth, for a quicker and less labor-intensive streak-free shine, go for a harder “cloth.” For this step, I like to a use either the next secret #3 or a chamois. Yes, the same leather-like cloth used to shine and polish cars, not surprisingly, works phenomenally to buff your windows to a sparkling, streak-free, crystal clear shine.
Clean Your Windows Without Streaks Secret # 3: Newspapers
In addition to the aforementioned chamois, there is another option if you don’t mind dealing with some ink — newspapers. While they may not be as ubiquitous as they once were prior to the digital age, newspapers can smooth away streaks in no time. If you have access to one, wadded up newspaper pages work wonders to buff windows to a shiny, streak-free finish. Just don’t forget to wear rubber gloves to avoid ink-stained fingers, and keep the stuff away from white window sills and walls.
Clean Your Windows Without Streaks Secret # 4: From The Top With Vertical Strokes
Starting from the top edges using vertical strokes going in one direction can help to reveal any streaks in your glass and prevent them from forming. Buff out any you observe easily using a chamois or newspaper for streak-free clarity in your view.
Clean Your Windows Without Streaks Secret # 5: Protect Window Sills
It’s always a good idea to protect window sills and moldings from water damage by placing a towel to absorb any drips or water spray that occur during the window washing process. While not a tip to promote streak-free windows, this one could save you from future structural rotting issues and damage.
Now for the recipes to turn common, affordable household ingredients into effective glass cleaning agents that rival store-bought ones for an elusive, streak-free shine. After all, nothing ruins a beautiful view like grimy, dirty, pollution-fogged windows.
Homemade Glass & Window Cleaner Recipe #1: Simple Non-Toxic Window Cleaner
Why Is This Glass & Window Cleaner So Effective?
It may be simple but that is the beauty of it. This first window and glass cleaning solution is both powerful yet non-toxic, containing just two all natural ingredients. The vinegar action plus the buffing step combine to yield amazing, streak-free results that prove DIY homemade cleaners can be not only safe and chemical-free (as long as you omit the optional dish detergent) but highly effective, rivaling store-bought ones.
Why Distilled White Vinegar? The Cleaning Powers Of Distilled White Vinegar
Distilled white vinegar is a renowned all-purpose cleaning superstar. Its acidity not only cuts through basic dirt and grease, but it can even eradicate hard water deposits and soap scum. This ability makes it fantastic for cleaning bathrooms or any surface that comes in contact with hard water. White vinegar not only effectively cleans but it can also mildly disinfect surfaces of certain, limited types of bacteria throughout your home, all while helping to eliminate odors at the same time.
Containing five percent acetic acid, distilled white vinegar quickly dissolves dirt and grime which makes it ideal for windows, as well as an excellent all-natural alternative to commercially available, chemical-based cleaners.
White Vinegar May Dry Slower So Use The Right Cloth To Buff Away Streaks
Since this cleaning solution is not as fast-drying as alcohol-based or ammonia cleaners, using the chamois or newspaper to buff your windows dry will help facilitate that sparkling, streak-free shine.
**Feel free to double or triple the ingredient amounts for large surface areas and, instead of a spray bottle, mix all the ingredients in a large bucket.
***Optional: If you don’t mind the additional chemicals, you can add a very small amount of dish detergent to further cut down on stubborn grease and grime. Just a very small amount though because too much can leave behind residue.
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 cups warm water
(A drop of liquid dish soap, optional, so leave out if you want a totally chemical-free cleaner)***
A spray bottle
A long-handled brush or duster for “dry cleaning” pre-washing
A long-handled mop for tall windows
A squeegee and non-scratch scour sponge
A chamois or newspaper
Add the white vinegar to the spray bottle (you may want to use a funnel if the bottle opening is narrow), then dilute by pouring in the warm water. If you choose to use it, add the drop of dish soap. Screw the top on tightly and shake to combine. If your windows are exceptionally dirty, use your brush or duster to do the dry pre-cleaning step mentioned in “Secret #1” above. When you are satisfied with that, spray a mist of the vinegar cleaning solution over your glass surface.
Use a sponge or micro-fiber cloth to wipe away any stubborn dirt and grime or better yet, a squeegee, starting at the top and working your way down going in one direction. “Polish” your windows to a shine by buffing them dry with a chamois or newspaper for shiny, streak-free windows. Repeat the process on the other side of the window and until all your windows are clean.
Homemade Glass & Window Cleaner #2: Ammonia-Based Glass & Window Cleaner For Larger Surfaces
Why Is This Glass & Window Cleaner Effective?
Ammonia is not only able to effectively cut through grease, dirt and fingerprints, but it also evaporates very quickly which contributes to an immaculate streak-free shine.
Similar to the famous Windex, this is not at all a “green” product, it is just extremely effective at what it does. While I strive to take the non-toxic, natural approach, I offer this option as another inexpensive alternative. If the ingredient bothers you, stick with the “Simple Non-Toxic Window & Glass Cleaner #1” mentioned above for streak-free results that provide you with peace of mind.
Ingredients For A Large Surface:
1/4 cup non-sudsy ammonia
1 gallon warm water
1 large bucket
A long-handled brush or duster for “dry cleaning” before washing
A long-handled mop for tall windows, a long-handled squeegee & scour sponge for stubborn grime
A chamois or newspaper
Pre-clean your windows to remove any surface dirt, as instructed above in “Secret #1” using the long-handled dry broom, brush or duster or use a garden hose to hose down outdoor windows. Carefully add the ammonia to the warm water in your bucket. Dip your long-handled mop into the bucket of cleaning solution and proceed to clean your windows thoroughly starting at the top. Use a long-handled squeegee to remove any remaining water and a scour sponge as needed for stubborn spots. Then “polish” your windows to a shine by drying them down with a clean chamois or newspaper. Repeat the process on the other side of the window and until all your windows are clean.
Homemade Glass & Window Cleaner #3: Ammonia-Based Glass & Window Cleaner For Smaller Surfaces
Ingredients For Smaller Surfaces:
1 tablespoon non-sudsy ammonia
1 quart warm water
1 spray bottle
A squeegee & scour sponge for stubborn grime
A chamois or newspaper
Carefully pour the ammonia (use a funnel for a narrow bottle opening) and then warm tap water into a spray bottle. Screw the top on tightly and gently shake to combine. Simply spray over your dirty glass surfaces. Wipe away dirt and grime using a sponge, squeegee or both starting at the top and working your way down in one direction. Use the squeegee to help remove excess water. Polish your windows to a shine by buffing them dry with a clean chamois or newspaper for shiny, streak-free windows. Repeat the process on the other side of the window and until all your windows are clean.
What is your preferred method to obtain that elusive, streak-free shine on your windows, glass & mirrors? Share your favorite tips in the comments below.