Cleaning windows is a chore that most of us would rather not do. We put it off until it becomes an absolute necessity.Â Why?Â Because it’s tedious. We try various methods and cleaners and still we end up with streaks and smears that seem to get worse the more we try to eradicate them.Â What I’d like to share with you today is the absolute fastest and easiest way I’ve ever found to clean windows and mirrors.Â No, it’s not hire a maid.Â No, it’s not a new magic product or gizmo.Â It’s a simple, time-tested method used by professional window cleaners.
Before we talk about what you will need to use this method, let’s go over what you DON’T need.Â You don’t need newspaper or “lint-free” cloths.Â To begin with, there really is no such thing as a lint-free cloth. Lint is the breaking off of pieces of fiber from a fabric.Â Fabrics made from natural fibers, like cotton, wool, and linen, produce more lint than fabrics made of synthentic fibers like polyester and nylon.Â But they all produce some lint. And who wants little pieces of lint all over the window they just cleaned?Â You also don’t need any newspaper.Â Newspaper, of course, is made of wood pulp – a source of plant fibers just like flax is used to make linen.Â And just like linen, guess what newspaper produces?Â Yup. . .lint.Â Newspaper also leaves another residew – newsprint – or rather the ink from the print.Â You also don’t need ammonia or alcohol (ethyl or rubbing) to make your windows sparkle.
What you do need are two simple things.Â The first is a good quality brass or stainless steel professional window squeegee and the second is a good quality glass cleaner.Â Please read that sentence again.Â Good quality.Â This is not a run-of-the-mill plastic or aluminum channel squeegee from the local discount or dollar store.Â You can find the good ones at a janitorial or commercial cleaning supply store.Â They come in a couple of different widths. It depends on what kind of windows you have which one you’ll want.Â Average prices are in the $6.50 to $8.50 range for a 10 or 12 inch squeegee.
You know those little wooden or plastic dividers between small panes of glass in a window?Â Those are called muntins. If you have windows without muntins or that have removable muntins you’ll want a sqeegee a little less than 1/3 the width of your windows. So, if you have, say, a 36 inch wide window a 10 inch wide squeegee will do just fine.Â If, however, you have windows with in-built (non-removable) muntins, you want a sqeegee the width of your panes. But what if the smallest squeegee is to wide for your panes?Â Customize it!Â Carefully remove the rubber strip from the brass or stainless steel squeegee channel.Â Holding the channel in a vice or clamped to a sturdy worktable or saw horse, cut the channel down evenly on both sides with a hack saw to 1/2 inch LESS than your pane width.Â Now cut the rubber strip exactly the width of the pane and reinsert it into the channel.Â This leaves 1/4 inch of rubber at each end beyond the actual channel.Â This is important so you don’t scratch your glass.
The process of washing the window is very easy.Â First, remove the muntins if they are removable. Then follow these steps for each pane:
- Wet the glass thoroughly, but not dripping, with your glass cleaner.
- Let the solution work for about 2 minutes.
- Holding the sqeegee against the glass with the right edge of the squeegee at a 45 degree angle to the top of the glass sweep a clean stripe across the top of the pane about 4 inches high. Wipe the rubber blade of the sqeegee on a dry towel.
- Starting on the left, place the squeegee in the middle of the clean stripe with the left edge against the left edge of the pane and pull the sqeegee all the way to the bottom of the pane. Wipe the sqeegee blade again.Â For small panes this one down swipe will cover the entire pane and you just go on to the next pane.
- Repeat step 4 in the middle of the window pane, overlapping slightly the clean area to the left. Wipe the blade. If you have wide windows it make take several “steps” to get across the window.
- Repeat step 4 on the right of the window pane with the right edge of the sqeegee against the right edge of the window pane.
Now, you may notice some small beads of water just along any of the edges of the window pane.Â Â You’re first instinct will be to take the towel and dab at them. Â DON’T.Â If you do you will then find you have small smudges instead of the beads and your next instinct will be to wrap the towel around a finger and polish it clean.Â DON’T.Â It gets progressively worse. Â So JUST DON’T. Â Those small beads of water will evaporate and you’ll never know they were there and your windows will sparkle and shine, smear-free and streak-free and easy as pie.