New This Month

Spring Cleaning 360°: The Windows

A simple cleaning solution, some cloths, a sponge, and a squeegee are all that stand between you and crystal-clear glass.

spring-cleaning-blinds-mld110961.jpg
Photography by: Annie Schlechter
Deluxe wooden blinds, by MarthaWindow, in White Lily (#1603), from $105, jcpenney.com. Lighthouse vase, by Hennepin Made, in Clear, $139, roomandboard.com.

CLEAN 101

Windows

Avoid washing windows in direct sunlight, since the heat will dry the liquid too quickly, causing streaks.

  1. Dust windows first with a soft-bristled brush. Place a rolled-up towel across the sill.
  2. Mix equal parts white vinegar and hot water in a bucket. Wet a sponge in the mixture, and use it to wipe dirt away, avoiding the frames.
  3. Dampen a squeegee’s rubber blade (so it won’t skip). Draw it down the glass in a straight stroke, then wipe the squeegee. Repeat, slightly overlapping your strokes.

TIP: Use cotton swabs to clean the smallest crevices around a window.

squeegee-mld110972.jpg
Photography by: Bryan Gardner
Pro stainless steel window squeegee, by Unger, 12", $18, homedepot.com.

TIP: For mullioned windows, use a mini hacksaw to cut a squeegee to a size slightly narrower than that of the panes. (Snip the rubber with scissors.)

Screens

  • Bag and label any loose hardware before you begin. Note the room and position  (e.g., “den, left of TV”).
how-to-clean-screen-mld110972.jpg
Photography by: Bryan Gardner
Scrub brush, by Redecker, $5; and stainless steel bucket with wooden handle, $20, crateandbarrel.com.
  • Work in the yard, garage, laundry room, or tub; ideally, you want to be in an area that has drainage.
  • First, lay the screens flat on the ground, prop them against a wall, or hold smaller ones at a slight angle. Wet a scrub brush in a mixture of warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, and run it over the mesh and frame.
  • Rinse with a hose or under the faucet. Let dry completely (outside in the sun is best) before hanging.

TIP: If slatted metal or vinyl blinds are very dirty, remove them from the window and lay them flat on a drop cloth outside. Scrub closed blinds with a soft brush and warm soapy water. Repeat on the other side; rinse. Open and hang outside to dry.

Slatted Blinds

Metal or Vinyl Venetian Blinds

Wipe each slat individually with a cloth dampened in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid.

Metal or Vinyl Vertical Blinds

Remove a few slats at a time, lay them flat, and wipe with a cloth dampened in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid. 

Wooden Blinds and Shutters

Wipe each slat with a slightly damp cloth (no soap). Dry with a clean cloth.

Don’t forget the...

Casings 

Before washing the windows, use a dust-brush attachment to vacuum the glass and the grooves in the casing, the muntins, and the mullions. After washing the glass, wipe the frames with all-purpose cleaner mixed with water. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth, then wipe dry with a clean cloth.

lemon-water-bottle-mld110972.jpg
Photography by: Bryan Gardner
Recipe Natural cleaning bottle, $10, crateandbarrel.com.
Advertisement
Advertisement