When a professional comes to clean your windows, do you ever wonder what’s in that magic bucket? What are they using to produce such perfectly clean windows without streaks? Why do my windows have streaks after window washing?
The good news is that getting perfectly streak-free glass is not as mysterious as you think. It’s easy and affordable as well to apply a solution that doesn’t streak as well; you just have to know the right products and techniques that cleaning companies use every day.
Follow this guide to ensure that all the windows in your house come out streak-free every time.
Why Do My Windows Streak When I Clean Them?
There are a few major reasons that lead to you leaving streaks on your inside windows. These include:
- Using dirty water. Washing windows with water that has been used elsewhere and is full of sediment is a bad idea. The sediment will end up on your cloth and be transferred to the glass, showing lines where it’s been wiped on.
- Using too much water. It’s a good idea to rub your windows dry after washing. Dust settles quickly on damp areas and builds up in water droplets. If you avoid dripping by wiping up excess water, you’ll avoid dust tracks down the glass where the water has dripped.
- Using the wrong product. We’ll cover the best window cleaning solution below, but even some products marketed as a window cleaning solution can lead to a faster build-up of dust.
What is the Best Window Cleaner That Does Not Leave Streaks?
The big question is whether you should purchase a window cleaning solution from the store or create a homemade window cleaner. While there are some excellent commercial products out there, we recommend trying some home solutions and seeing what a fantastic job they can do.
These solutions only need a few things that you may already own. They’re far more affordable and even do a better job than a glass cleaner purchased from the store.
Below are a few of our favorite home remedies for producing beautiful, streak-free windows in just a few minutes.
Also known as white vinegar, the acidic composition of this common household product makes it perfect for the job. When mixed with warm water, it cuts through grime and avoids the filmy residue that some commercial glass cleaners can leave.
The vinegar mixture is created by adding one part distilled vinegar to 10 parts warm water in a spray bottle. You can use distilled water if you choose, but tap water will work fine. Fill a spray bottle with this solution and follow the steps below for a streak-free shine.
Some people like to “prepare” the surface before the window washing begins. You can do this by applying a pinch of baking soda to a damp cloth and gently rubbing it on the entire surface before spraying. This does a terrific job of removing built-up dirt, and the baking soda isn’t abrasive so that it won’t scratch the glass.
Alcohol-Based Solutions for Stubborn Marks
We wouldn’t recommend using any alcohol or ammonia-based product for the full cleaning process, as these can leave a strange, filmy build-up that captures dust more easily. These cleaning solutions are some of the main causes of leaving streaks when cleaning windows, especially as many store-bought products use these agents.
However, rubbing alcohol can help tackle especially stubborn stains before you do a full wash. Be sure to wash the alcohol off and dry it with a paper towel before you fully clean your windows.
This is also a much better method than trying to remove stubborn stains using any kind of hard object. This will scratch the glass and potentially damage its integrity, which any real estate agent will tell you is a terrible idea.
Window Cleaning Solution
Some store-bought products do a great job – as mentioned, try to avoid any that use alcohol or ammonia as the base. We prefer home solutions because it means you don’t have to check every single bottled cleaner you find in the store for ingredients that cause streaking.
Another reason is simply that they’re cheaper: even if you don’t have white vinegar or baking soda lying around in your cupboard, they cost very little, and you only need a tiny amount for a deep clean.
When cleaning windows, people use many household products – dishwashing detergent mixed with water in a large bucket is a classic. However, the bubbles created by dish soap mean that it’s easier to leave marks than using vinegar.
We understand that the smell of vinegar can be offputting to some people, which is why we recommend creating a fairly weak solution and drying windows thoroughly with paper towels after washing them. There should be no vinegar smell remaining after washing if you do it the proper way.
How Do You Clean Windows Without Leaving Streaks? Step-by-Step Guide
It’s always astonishing how well you can see the outside world (and how much light gets into your home) after you’ve had your outdoor windows cleaned with a streak-free solution.
Below is a simple 3-step guide to washing windows in a way that will leave you with perfectly clean windows and no unsightly streaks. This method can also be used for outdoor windows. However, if you’re not confident working up a ladder, we’d recommend using other services (i.e., a professional cleaner) for first-floor operations.
1) Choose Your Window Cleaning Solutions
If you’re using our vinegar-based cleaning solution, mix it in a spray bottle with water before you start. It helps if the water is warm. If you’re planning to prepare the surface with baking soda, find a clean cloth and wet it slightly before applying the soda.
2) Prepare the Windows with Baking Soda
Rub the soda on the window in a circular motion. Be sure to get right up to the window frames and window sill, as this is where most dirt accumulates. You may wish to rinse the cloth and apply more soda if you’re taking on a lot of windows, or even halfway through one surface if you’re tackling large outside windows.
Note: even if you don’t use soda, wipe down the window with a lint-free cloth or microfiber towel before applying any fluids. This removes dust that can otherwise cause streaks.
3) Apply Cleaner With a Spray Bottle
Now it’s time to apply the vinegar solution. First, apply it to the window using a spray bottle. You don’t need to completely soak the window – just enough to create an even coat across the entire surface.
4) Wipe Clean Using an Appropriate Cloth
We recommend using a microfiber cloth or lint-free cloth to rub the vinegar solution or otherwise across the glass. Once you’ve applied the mixture to the whole surface, take a fresh dry cloth or paper towel and rub the window dry thoroughly. You should be left with an amazing job!
What Do Professional Window Cleaners Use to Clean Windows?
So what’s in that bucket? The answer is that usually, it’s a basic soap or vinegar mixture — professionals often don’t use harsh chemicals. Besides, these everyday solutions are far cheaper, which reduces the cost of the operation. So it wasn’t such a mystery this entire time!
One useful tool many of us don’t have at home is a squeegee blade. You can get windows clean very quickly and effectively with a squeegee. Dry surfaces also gather less dust, which the drying part of the squeegee helps with. However, the pros mostly use these for speed. You can get perfectly streakless windows without this tool.
How Can I Clean Other Glass Surfaces?
Some interior glass surfaces like glass shower doors can be more difficult to keep streak-free. This is because in the bathroom (especially if there is no window), more moisture tends to linger in the air than in the rest of your home. This mingles with dust, and whenever you take a shower, water drips down the door and creates streaks. Shampoo and shower products also contribute to this issue.
It’s best not to worry too much about having these trickier surfaces totally streak-free every day. Instead, thoroughly washing them once per week with the rest of the bathroom will avoid grime build-up and keep glass shower doors shining and beautiful.
Clean Windows Without Streaks
With a few basic household products, you can get a beautiful job done every time without needing to call for professional services. While we always recommend that surfaces on the first floor or above are treated by a professional who is experienced working up a ladder, you can even get your ground-floor outdoor glass clean using these solutions.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on products that use abrasive chemicals. Instead, mix your own solution, follow the instructions closely, and you’ll see beautiful streak-free results in no time.