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Spring Cleaning: Five Tips to Clean Your Windows


With warmer spring days upon us, homeowners jump at the chance to throw open their windows and air out their house after a long winter. Do your windows provide a clear view to the spring beauty awakening outdoors? If they're dirty, the answer is most certainly no.

Add window cleaning to your list of spring cleaning chores. With a few basic tools, cleaning solutions, and proper techniques, it's easy to get your window glass sparkling.

Here are five tips to keep in mind as you clean your windows.

1.  The cleaning solution is important. There are a number of options when it comes to cleaning solutions. Store shelves are filled with premade cleaners that can be sprayed on your window glass and wiped off, or applied with a scrub brush or cloth. The most important thing is that the cleaning solution you use will not leave behind streaks or residue. You can make your own cleaning solution, which saves money and reduces the amount of chemicals used in your home. Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to two cups of warm water. Some cleaners recommend adding a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid since the suds produced create more cleaning power.

2.  The right tools matter. There are a variety of ways to apply and remove your cleaning solution, from rags and brushes to sponges and even newspaper. Take a tip from the pros: use a squeegee. This gives you the most streak-free clean and makes quick work of removing the cleaning solution.

3.  It's all in the technique. Apply your cleaning solution with a sponge or spray bottle, then use the squeegee to remove it before it's had a chance to dry. Work from top to bottom, running the squeegee from one side of the window glass to the other. Use a clean cloth to wipe the squeegee blade dry after each pass. Then use a clean cloth to wipe any drips left behind.

4.  Clean both sides of the glass. For the most crystal-clear view, be sure to wash the outside of the windows as well. Many newer double hung windows have a tilt-in feature which allows you to clean the outer glass from inside the safety of your home. Some window styles, such as slider windows, allow you to remove the sliding section of glass for easier cleaning. If you have to get up on a ladder to clean the exterior of your windows, keep all ladder safety precautions in mind. 

5.  Don't forget the details. While you spend all that time cleaning the window glass, the job isn't quite finished yet. Clean out the window tracks and sills using a wet/dry vac. This is a particularly important step if you have double hung or slider windows, since buildup in the tracks can make opening and closing the windows more difficult. For stubborn spots, use a soft bristled brush to loosen the dirt, and grab an old toothbrush for tough-to-reach areas. Use a mild non-abrasive solution to clean the sills and molding around your windows.