The One-Ingredient Natural Window Cleaner: Skip the Streaks and Let the Sunshine In

window cleaning

Are you using your garden hose and paper towels for window cleaning? Or even worse: synthetic chemical and detergent laden products? Opt for eco-friendly methods instead and enjoy streak-free, crystal-clear windows without the waste or worry.

What seems like a large-scale task goes quickly once you get the hang of it. All you need are the right tools, some white vinegar, and a little elbow grease.

Sponge vs. Squeegee: Choose Your Window Washing Tools

You have two main options when it comes to the proper tool for cleaning your windows: a basic sponge or a window squeegee. Each tool has pros and cons.

  • Sponge – Sponges are easier to use, and you probably already have one laying around your home. Just make sure that it’s nice and clean with no dirt or oily residue before you begin window cleaning. If you’re using a sponge, you may also need a ladder to reach the top of the windows. Be extra careful when window cleaning from a ladder and double check its stability before you climb up.
  • Squeegee – While squeegees are more difficult to get the hang of when it comes to window cleaning, they usually do a better job than sponges. You can buy a window cleaning squeegee at the hardware store. Look for one that extends and you won’t need a ladder to clean. Don’t buy the cheapest squeegee you can find or you’ll be kicking yourself later.

You’ll also need a bucket or other light container for holding your cleaning solution, plus a large bath towel to put on the ground when cleaning the inside of windows to catch drips. Also, grab several microfiber cleaning cloths for finishing up each window; you’ll need more if you’re opting for a sponge instead of a squeegee.

Mix Your Solution: Water & White Vinegar

All you need for a streak-free, eco-friendly cleaning solution is probably already in your pantry: white vinegar. To make your window cleaner, mix one part distilled white vinegar to one part warm water.

For truly filthy windows or stubborn smears, start with a solution of pure distilled white vinegar – no water this time – and spot-treat the area with a good spray. Let the vinegar soak for five minutes, and then scrub the spot before continuing with cleaning the rest of the window.

Start with Screens & Window Wells

Begin by pulling off each window screen and cleaning it. Hosing screens down is the traditional method, but you’ll save water by giving each one a wipe with your vinegar solution. Allow screens to dry completely before reattaching.

Next, clean your interior window sills using a vacuum attachment or another quick wipe-down with your vinegar solution. You’ll clean the outside sills after you wash each window.

Eco-Friendly Drying Solutions

Skip the paper towels and opt for microfiber clothes instead to clean up spare drips and random streaks. You’ll also want to dry off your window sills. Washable and reusable, microfiber cloths can be purchased by the bundle and are quite affordable. In a pinch, you can also use old newspaper to dry your windows, but take care that the newsprint doesn’t come off on your window frames.

More Pro Tips for Clear Windows

  • Clean your windows only when there is no direct sunshine on them.
  • Clean the inside of your windows with horizontal strokes, and clean the outside of your windows with vertical strokes. That way, if a streak shows up – you’ll know right away which side of the glass it is on.
  • Be sure to soak up any excess water from your window frame and dry it well after cleaning.
  • Squeegee not working well? You probably need to apply more pressure.
  • Wear plastic gloves; vinegar is non-toxic but it will dry your hands out.

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