Window Cleaning Without Streaks

Recently, I was parked in front of a restaurant where I pulled over to talk on my cell phone, and saw a window washer doing a wonderful job of washing a large window without leaving a single streak. When I got off the phone, I went up to him and asked him what he used. He pointed to his bucket and said, “Dish Soap”.  I thought he was joking since I thought I’d heard every way to clean a window, but I had never heard of anyone using dish soap.  But here he was, and there was no argument that he knew of what he spoke as the window sparkled.  No newspaper, no vinegar, no ammonia, just dish soap. Then he explained his window cleaning process to me.

First, you need to assemble your window cleaning tools. He said you need to purchase a mop and a squeegee, but they shouldn’t cost more than $10. You’ll need a bucket, water, dish soap, a clean, dry, lint-free cloth such as really old t-shirts and a window mop and squeegee. He suggested a squeegee that is covered with cotton terry cloth or lambs’ wool. He mentioned that unless you intend to use these only to clean picture windows or sliding glass doors, bigger is not always better. He likes the one about 12’’ wide. If the squeegee is wider than most of the windows you’ll be cleaning, it will be more difficult to get a streak free shine quickly. He said they are available at hardware stores or in the cleaning section of a supermarket and K-Mart or Wal-Mart.

Next, you must know when the right time is to clean windows, or rather when the wrong times are.  If it is very windy, the sun is shining directly on the window, or if it is raining, you will fail in your quest for streak-free glass. So, if it’s overcast or you are cleaning windows on the shady side of the house on a dry day, it’s a “go”.

Fill your bucket half way with cool water. As long as you can dip the window mop in, you’re fine. Now put 1-2 drops of dish soap in and mix it up. You don’t need bubbles. If you put in too much soap, you will create streaks and smears. Even if the windows you clean are really dirty, don’t make the solution stronger because it will be difficult to get the residual soap off. If you are trying to clean particularly dirty windows, just change your soap water solution more often.

The key to shiny, clean windows is to not allow the solution to dry on the glass, so don’t soap up more windows than you can squeegee off before they dry (which is why you don’t clean windows in direct sunlight or on windy days.) Now, dip your new window mop in the soap water and mop the windows. Don’t just wet them down; go over the surface 3 or 4 times. Fly specks and bird splatters will not come off with just one pass of the mop.

Next, place your squeegee squarely against the top of the pane and with even pressure, pull it downward. Remove the squeegee and tip it over the bucket to allow the water to drain off. Use your cloth to wipe the squeegee dry.  This is key: if your squeegee is not dry, you’ll leave stripes. Return to the top of the window and overlap the squeegee by about an inch on the already dry surface, then draw it downward to the bottom. Repeat until the entire window is squeegeed (coined). Using a dry portion of your cloth, wipe the outside perimeter of the window. If you happen to notice that you’ve missed a spot or left a streak, use another dry portion of your cloth to rub it, it should clean off without trouble. You should now be looking through your perfectly clean window (of course you have to do both sides.)

The technique is not difficult, but it might require some practice for you to be comfortable. Once you’re comfortable with it, you will probably find that this is the fastest, easiest and surest way to get your windows sparkling and streak free.

2 Responses to “Window Cleaning Without Streaks”

  1. This is great information right here. That man knew his stuff because we do most of what he shared with you. Dish soap–never would have guessed but it does work indeed.

  2. thanks as such useful blog through which we can save lots of water of doing window cleaning

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