Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to clean your windows incorrectly. You could end up with streaks, smudges or with a window that retains most of its dirt! With a task as tedious as cleaning windows, it's best to just do it right the first time. Unfortunately, this means taking your time, doing a little research and checking your work. But once you get the steps down, you can speed through the tasks ahead, ensuring that you spend more time enjoying your clean windows and less time actually cleaning them.
First, you'll need to pick a window cleaner that works for your windows. This could be anything from a homemade one (just a few drops of dish soap in a large bucket of water can work, just limit the amount of suds) or something fancier that you get at the store. Really, the technique is what matters, so just work with something that you like. You can definitely save money on this one, though.
Collect the proper tools for your cleaning job. This means a strip applicator with a long cloth head and a squeegee. These tools limit the amount of scrubbing action that you might feel inclined to do, scrubbing just moves the dirt around and creates a static charge on the window, which will attract more dirt as soon as you are finished.
Since streaks are caused by the solution drying before it can be squeegeed off, wash your windows on a cloudy day.
You will need to clean both sides of the window, inside and out. Apply your solution with the strip applicator all over the window, knocking dirt loose. The larger your window, the larger a strip applicator you will want to use.
Then, start at the top left with the squeegee, pulling it over the pane in a reverse-S pattern. If you are left-handed, you should start at the top right. At the end of the S stroke, wipe the blade clean with a lint-free cloth. Cloth diapers or linen napkins that you don't use anymore are both good for this task. Repeat the S motion until the window is largely clear of the solution.
Detail the edges of the glass with a damp (but wrung-dry) chamois, as it will soak up wetness without placing any streaks.
Be sure to dry the windowsill with a rag, as many solutions will erode wood windowsills or remove their paint.
When the window is dry, you can rub it with a well-washed cotton T-shirt, an old cloth diaper, a clean blackboard eraser, or some crumpled newspaper. All will leave the windows shining like new, and the newspaper will leave a film that is dirt-resistant.
If you see any small scratches on the glass after you clean it, you can go over the spot with a little toothpaste and buff it out.
When you move to the other side of the window, be sure to clean it with strokes the opposite direction of the ones you used to clean the first side. This will help you when you examine the windows after you are finished, if you see a streak, you will know what side it is on!
Windows should really be washed twice a year, preferably as soon as it gets warm enough outside in the spring and just before the fall cools down. If you follow these steps, you will have it down to a science, meaning you can get it done fast. Of course, if you don't feel like you will have time to keep up with your window cleaning requirements, you can always hire a company to do the work for you. Hand the job over to them and relax, because you can count on them to do it right.