CONSUMER REPORTS — Washing windows is a rite of spring, and one where the effort pays off immediately. Consumer Reports can ease your “pane” with these simple steps—and for those of you who swear by newspaper, listen up!
First off: Don’t start with the glass! Begin by cleaning your window frame and channels. Vacuum out debris, then clean the frame with a sponge dipped in warm water and a little liquid dish soap. And to keep your windows and glass doors sliding smoothly, rub the tracks with waxed paper.
Now on to the dirty glass: Did you know that full sun can heat up the glass, causing your solution to dry up quickly and leave streaks? That’s why it’s a good idea to clean your windows on an overcast day.
And don’t use ammonia-based window cleaners, because they can leave streaks or film on your windows. CR says you might not need to buy window cleaner at all! For most inside windows, plain water is enough to loosen dirt and get them clean. If you have pets or kids, you might want to use a tiny bit of dish soap. And a drop of blue food coloring will help remind you that it’s window cleaner.
Start with the top windows. Spray or sponge cleaner onto the glass, then a simple squeegee with a rubber edge will do a great job of drying off your window. Draw it down from top to bottom.
To avoid scratches, never squeegee a dry surface. Rinse and wipe the blade to avoid re-dirtying the glass. Then wipe any excess water with a lint-free cloth. And don’t bother using newspaper or paper towels. They create a big mess, and they can also leave lint on your glass.
Consumer Reports warns that some glass cleaners can soften water-based paint—so if you get
any on your window frame, just blot it, don’t rub. The paint will harden back up once it’s dry.