How to Clean Windows & Doors for a Streak-Free Finish

A person wearing yellow latex gloves, cleaning a window with a cloth and cleaner.

You look out the window and what do you see? Water spots, unsightly streaks, dirt, grime and stains with dubious causes. Wouldn't you rather see through a sparkling clean window to your beautiful yard or garden? You can keep your windows and doors sparkling clean with these easy steps — you will be cleaning like a professional in no time.

1. Clean Your Windows and Doors on a Cloudy Day

Don't let nature work against you. If you clean your glass windows and doors on warm, sunny day, the cleaning solution will evaporate too quickly. It can leave behind a residue before you have the chance to wipe it off. Instead, wait for a day when the sun hides behind some friendly clouds.

2. Vacuum All Resident Spiders

You don't want to wipe spider guts while you're washing your windows and doors. Instead, remove spiders and spider webs by vacuuming them up. Or you can use a dry rag to wipe away cobwebs.

3. Dilute with Distilled Water

If you are using a glass cleaner that needs to be diluted, use distilled water. Hard water contains minerals, so it can leave mineral deposits on your glass. These deposits lead to streaks that you could otherwise avoid.

4. Use Vinegar

Whether you are out of name brand glass cleaner or you want to use a more natural cleaner, vinegar works wonders on windows. Try a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water for a streak-free clean. You can use a spray bottle or dip a rag in the solution, just like you would an ordinary cleaner. If you are worried about the fumes, only use vinegar for outdoor windows or mix a couple drops of essential oils to counteract the smell.

5. Use Ammonia

For a different (although more chemical) smell, try using a few tablespoons of ammonia in a bucket of warm water. You may want to leave the windows open afterward to air out the smell. You can also mix small amounts of ammonia and vinegar together for even more cleaning power.

6. Go Easy on the Suds

If you have unusually dirty windows and you need to use soap to cut through the grime, remember that a little goes a long way. If you use too much soap, you create a thicker mixture that can leave residue on glass. Take a small amount of liquid cleaner and dilute it with water to eliminate dirty buildup.

7. Use a Strip Applicator

You can also go the professional route and use a woolly strip applicator to put your cleaning agent on the windows. You will create a good lather that cleans water spots, dirt, grime and any other messes on your window. Remember to scrub thoroughly to remove stubborn spots and stains.

8. Ditch the Paper Towels

Paper towels may be a convenient drying cloth (they are disposable, they're cheap and they get the job done), but they tend to leave lint streaks across your windows and doors. If you want truly sparkling windows, opt for a microfiber cloth, chamois, or even newspaper to dry your windows. Watch for newspaper, though. Although it doesn't leave any marks on your windows, it can leave dark newsprint on your hands and clothing.

9. Clean One Pane at a Time

Instead of spraying the entire surface of a window, wet one smaller section at a time. If your windows have panes, work one pane at a time. By working incrementally, you avoid letting your cleaner dry on the glass before you have a chance to wipe it clean.

10. Buff the Dry Glass

If you end up with a few streaks when you are done, you can use a dry microfiber cloth or chamois to buff it out. Just rub small concentric circles over the streaky area for a polished look.

11. Alternately, Use a Squeegee

Rubbing the glass with cloths, chamois and newspapers can give windows a static charge. The charge attracts dirt and dust to the glass right after you have cleaned it. Instead, grab a squeegee to wipe off your cleaning liquid. Hold the blade at a 45 degree angle to the glass. Then start at the top left corner of a pane and pull the squeegee in a reverse S pattern. At the end of the stroke, wipe the squeegee blade clean with a rag. Continue until the entire surface of the glass is dry. Wipe damp edges of the glass with a chamois.

12. Use Steel Wool for Stubborn Spots

When you have finished cleaning the majority of the windows and doors, it will sparkle and shine. However, that just makes stubborn water spots and mineral stains all the more noticeable. Use #000 super fine steel wool to rub out the remaining stains.

13. Don't Wait to Clean Your Windows

You don't need to wait to enjoy cleaner windows. Use these tips to get streak-free windows and doors that show off the beauty of your outdoor spaces. Contact Northern Comfort in Aurora to speak to experts about installing new windows and doors today. We also service Barrie and Newmarket.

Get a Free Quote

Schedule your free in-home, no-obligation quote today.

We will not share your email. No spam.

Free Quote

Get a Free Quote

In-home consultation. No obligation.