Washing windows doesn't have to be a chore. If you have the right tools and these tips, the process is quick and easy. Keep all your window-washing tools in one plastic or metal bucket (and use a second bucket to mix cleaning solutions).
Tools and Materials
A soft-bristled counter brush
White vinegar (or mild dishwashing liquid)
Large polyester or natural sea sponges
Squeegees, with extension poles
Lint-free cloths (huckaback or cloth diapers) that have not been washed or dried with fabric softener, which can leave behind a residue that will streak glass
Straight-edged razor blades
A sturdy ladder (with a label indicating it is approved by Underwriters Laboratories)
Nonammoniated all-purpose cleaner
Window Washing How-To
1. Choose a time of day when the sun is not shining directly on the windows. The heat from the sun can cause the cleaning fluid to dry, which will result in streaks or water spots.
2. Brush the exteriors of windows and frames lightly with a soft-bristled counter brush, dusting away cobwebs and loose dirt. Don't forget the hinges, sills, and tracks.
3. Mix a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 1 part hot water.
4. When using the squeegee indoors, place a towel along the windowsill to catch drips.
5. Using a sponge, wet (but don't drench) the window with the vinegar-and-water solution, and rub the dirt away. Keep the solution from touching the window frames.
6. Wet the squeegee; a dry blade will skip.
7. Starting at an upper corner of the pane, draw the squeegee down in a straight stroke. Return to the top and repeat, slightly overlapping the first stroke. After each stroke, wipe the rubber edge of the squeegee with a sponge or lint-free cloth. Finish by pulling the squeegee across the bottom of the window, and dry the sill with a sponge or cloth.
8. Wipe frames with a cloth dampened with a nonammoniated all-purpose cleaner and water. Rinse them thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth to remove cleaning solution and dry immediately by wiping with a clean, dry cloth.
Note for washing large windows: For huge picture windows, professionals favor a method called the snake. Starting in an upper corner, pull the squeegee horizontally across the window. At the opposite corner, turn, lower the squeegee to the water line, then pull it across the window. Work your way down and touch up the edges with a cloth.
You can find many more homekeeping hints in "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook." For an excellent window squeegee, visit gracioushome.com. Try Mrs. Meyer's for a great natural nonammoniated all-purpose cleaner.