Cleaning Glass + Windows
Newly-Cleaned Class Can Make a Whole Room Sparkle
Glass is everywhere in our homes, from the practical to the ornate. And whether it’s simple windows or a designer coffee table, they all can be plagued by the same problem: how easily they get dirty, and how quickly fingerprints and smudges show up. Keeping glass sparkling is also one of the easiest ways to quickly make your whole space look cleaner—light filtered through newly-cleaned glass can make a whole room sparkle.
But it can be tricky to figure out the proper way to clean your glass surfaces while avoiding the pitfalls of streaking and scratching. Here are some tips on how to clean them like a professional without paying the professional fees.
Moderation is Key
Don’t hold back on the spray. You need plenty of cleaner to dissolve and suspend the dirt so it can be completely wiped away — skimp and you’ll be seeing streaks. However, if you spray too much cleaning solution on the glass, you’re going to get streaks. This is because the overspray of solution has to go somewhere, and the microfiber cloth won’t be able to absorb all of the liquid. As a result, you’ll end up smearing the cleaning solution — along with dirt and dust — all over the window, rather than wiping it away from the glass.
Don’t Let It Sit
Glass Cleaner is not intended to sit on glass surfaces for an extended period of time. Simply spray and wipe clean, that’s all you need to do. If you are still experiencing issues while following this process then the issue is likely related to the item you are using to wipe down surfaces. Soiled rags or kitchen towels will leave behind marks so just be aware!
The type of cloth or towel used is a big factor. Towels that are not as absorbent spread dirt and moisture instead of removing them, leaving behind those ugly streaks. Other towels may shed, leaving you with streaks of dust, debris and lint. A towel that has been previously used for other purposes may have been contaminated with other cleaners. The oils and detergents in household cleaners can remain on towels even after they have been washed, making them useless for window cleaning.
Banish Paper Towels
When used on glass, paper towels leave not only streaks, but linty ones at that. Instead, go for a cleaner option, like a microfiber cloth, and old t-shirt or a squeegee to get the job done. Be sure to spray your cleaning product on cloth rather than directly on the mirror. This will prevent the cleaner from dripping into the frame and possibly corroding it.
Microfiber cloths are super absorbent, washable, and leave the glass shiny and streak-free.
Old t-shirts are ideal for cleaning glass because they won’t have any lint residue, and they are just absorbent enough to get a window polished clean. Plus, using old tees instead of paper towels is a great way to save money on housekeeping costs—and is better for the environment.
A squeegee can make a big difference on glass surfaces. Sometimes the first wipe of the cloth doesn’t remove all of the cleaning solution and having to re-wipe areas of glass is a guarantee that you’ll have streaks. Using a squeegee, however, makes it effortless to polish each section of the window. A long-handled squeegee is a must if you will be doing tall windows, and it will do double duty in cleaning shower walls and doors as well.
Clean on a Cloudy Day
You might think washing windows on a sunny day is the ideal time, as the light makes it easier to spot smears. In reality, it’s best to aim for a cloudy day. Sunshine will create glare on the glass, making it harder to see how clean they are. The sun and heat can also prematurely dry the window washing fluid, leaving residue and streaks. If you wait for a cloudy day to wash your windows, the cleaning solution will remain until you wipe it away, and you will end up with a brilliant streak-free shine. You can also aim for early in the morning or late in the day—anytime the sun isn’t directly hitting them: You’ll be able to see the streaks better when it’s not as bright.
Start from the Top
Start at the top of the mirror or window and work your way down. You should do this because even if the cleaner drips, you’ll be able to wipe it up efficiently as you work your way down. Starting from the top may also dislodge dust and grime that will float its way down and possibly stick on the mirror below. You’ll be able to clean up this dislodged dirt without having to spend extra time cleaning.
Even if you do exactly the right things, it’s possible to end up with a frustrating streak or three. In that case, the simplest solution is to finish the job with a quick buff. The best type of cloth for the job is a chamois or a microfiber towel, although a regular rag will suffice in a pinch. Make sure the chosen cloth is clean and dry, and simply buff over the troublesome area of the glass when you’re done cleaning it. Like magic, those pesky streaks will disappear before your very eyes!
How Often Should You Clean Glass?
Depending on the type of glass surface in your home, there are different recommended cleaning schedules.
- Windows: Window washing is recommended every 6 months to keep them clean.
- Tables or other high-touch surfaces: Give these a daily wipe, especially if they are in the kitchen or bathroom.
- Glass stovetop: Wipe down after each use.
- Glass shower doors: You should squeegee your glass shower door after every single use, as this will help avoid streaks and prevent the buildup of soap scum.