We’ve all been there: We spend a whole afternoon dedicated to tackling the streaky, dirty window glass in front of the house, only to end up with an even streakier mess by the end of it. After all that work, we’re left wondering where we went wrong. Unfortunately, cleaning glass is never easy, and if you’ve just gone through the trouble of redecorating and installing windows or purchasing Replacement Windows for your home, you’re going to want to make sure they stay as clean as can be. If you struggle with streaks, here are a few tips to help you keep your glass streak-free.
Use the Right Cleaner
If you’ve ever tried to clean glass without using a glass cleaner, you’ve probably noticed how streaky the final result was. Even though many household cleaners claim to be all-purpose and formulated for multiple surfaces, this isn’t always strictly the truth. Using a glass cleaner that isn’t too diluted with water will give you the best possible results when cleaning your windows. Cleaners that are specifically formulated for glass surfaces minimize streaking and are created to dry faster than their all-purpose counterparts.
Choose a Gloomy Day
You’ll probably be tempted to tackle this project when the weather outside is perfect, but don’t be fooled by the sunshine. Cleaning glass requires a clear view, and when the sun isn’t shining into your window you’ll be much better able to see what’s actually getting clean and what’s staying streaky. If you have to clean on a sunny day, try pulling down a blind so that you can clean against a dark or neutral-colored backdrop.
The most important part of window-cleaning isn’t the cleaning itself: It’s the drying process. Even though most glass cleaners are formulated to dry quickly so as to minimize streaking, they’re far from perfect. In order to get the best possible clean, you have to actually dry as you go, being careful not to create cloudiness and soap spirals in the process. Ideally, you’ll use a squeegee to move product around on your window, drying the remaining drops with a damp rag made of soft material that’s sure not to leave scratches. Don’t forget the windowsill and those hard-to-reach corners where water collects. You’ll most likely have to go through the cleaning and drying process twice if you want to really get your windows spotless. As long as you’re collecting those drips and drops before they get a chance to dry, you’ll be on your way to shining, streak-free windows.
Move Up to Down
When cleaning windows, evenness is the key to prevent streaks. Because your glass cleaner will start to dry quickly, you’ll want to work fast, but not too fast. Using a squeegee, move from top to bottom when wiping your windows, re-applying product on dirtier spots to go over later. Try to keep the process as smooth and even as possible to prevent zig-zagging and excess dripping. Once you’ve finished one layer of cleaning, go back and repeat the process, remembering to stay even and steady as you wipe.