Avoid washing windows in direct sunlight, since the heat will dry the liquid too quickly, causing streaks.
- Dust windows first with a soft-bristled brush. Place a rolled-up towel across the sill.
- 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.
- 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.
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.)
- Bag and label any loose hardware before you begin. Note the room and position (e.g., “den, left of TV”).
- 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.
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...
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.