Cleaning Windows

imagePearl, my weimeraner dog, liked to leave her mark on any window she was near in our house and vehicles.  Nose prints to be more specific!  It was a constant struggle to keep windows clean and the outside world visible.

Here at AnswerLine we frequently receive calls about window cleaning and what cleaners are best to use. Here are a few solutions for making those windows sparkling clean again. Too much chemical or soap solution causes streaks and leaves residue on the windows.  Ammonia cuts heavy grease and soil and vinegar helps remove hard water spots.


  • Mix two tablespoons of ammonia OR white vinegar with two quarts of warm water.
  • Mix one tablespoon liquid dishwashing detergent with one quart water.
  • For a heavy duty cleaning solution mix one-half cup ammonia, one pint of 70 percent rubbing alcohol and one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent. Add enough water to make one gallon of solution.


  • Wipe really dirty windows with a damp cloth. Don’t rub dirt because it will scratch the glass. A vacuum cleaner with an attachment will work for this job, too.
  • With a clean sponge or cloth lightly wet the window. Don’t flood it!
  • When using a squeegee, tilt at an angle to the glass and wipe the blade of the squeegee after each pass with a damp cloth.
  • You may use a cloth or paper (such as newspaper) to clean also.
  • Don’t clean windows in direct sunlight – the window may dry too fast and streak.
  • Exterior windows should be first washed with a hose or clean water to remove grease and grime.
  • Wash windows side to side on the inside and top to bottom on the outside. If there are streaks, you will know which side they are on.
  • Change wash and rinse water often.
  • Vacuum screen to remove dust, etc.
  • Outside screens can be scrubbed with warm water and rinsed with clean water. Allow to air dry.
  • Choose a “hard” paper towel (soft ones leave lint) or cotton cloths such as old t-shirt or socks. Micro-fiber cloths also work well for cleaning windows.

Using the right tools and cleaners helps the dirty job of washing windows much quicker and easier.  I hope these tips help you clean those nose and finger prints, grease and grime off of those windows so you can get back to doing the activities you enjoy!

Jill Signature

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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15 thoughts on “Cleaning Windows

  1. I love the idea of washing the inside of the window side to side and the outside top to bottom so you can tell which side the streaks are on!

  2. I even wonder if investing in a water fed pole system (though expensive) would be worth the investment for a larger house consider there are some very unreachable areas.

  3. If you are a professional window cleaner with difficult to reach or clean windows, the water fed pole looks to be a good investment. You know your individual situation best.

  4. Great tips! I’ve always used a store-bought window cleaner for my own windows but your suggested solutions sound better. Especially since white vinegar is such a common household item. I’ve also never though to vacuum off windows that have excessive dust and dirt. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Troy, thank you for your positive feedback. This blog does provide good information on basic window cleaning. An alternative to all of the options given in the blog is to acquire one of the new specially made split-fiber microfiber clothes specifically made for cleaning and polishing all glass. Only water is needed and the results are truly amazing.

  6. Great Information. I like the way you explain the article. Thank you for sharing this information.I accidentally visited this site while looking for something else!, But Wow!, Good thing I came into this site.

  7. Thank you, Elijah, for your positive feedback. This blog was written sometime ago. Besides the tips that are offered, it is now possible to clean windows with just water and a special micro-fiber cloth for drying which does so without streaks. Happy window cleaning!

  8. I appreciate that you provided detailed instructions for the different cleaning solution, including the vinegar and water solution and the commercial window cleaner. Your recommendation to avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight is also valuable, as it can lead to streaks and uneven drying.

  9. Thank you. We appreciate you reading the blog as well as your positive remarks.

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