Window Washing – Professional Cleaning Tips

How to Clean Large or Picture Windows.

How to Wash Picture Windows

I don’t blame you if you don’t like cleaning your windows, but window washing really should be done at least twice during the year.

Having clean windows will transform your living space; you’ll be amazed at how much bigger a room can look with fresh light coming through the glass.

When is the Best Time to Wash Your Windows

The best time to wash windows is on a cloudy or overcast day. Although you might be thinking you can work on your tan, cleaning windows on a sunny day will only dry the cleaning solution quicker and cause streaking.

Window Cleaning Solution

Fill a gallon bucket with warm water and add 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

If you feel the amount of dishwashing liquid is not enough, don’t use more than 2 teaspoons as anymore then that will create too many suds which can leave you with streaky windows.

The additional soap will also leave a soapy residue on the glass, so believe me, use just as little as possible.

Tools to Help you Wash Your Windows

At a bare minimum, you’ll need:

  • a bucket or something to mix the cleaning solution in
  • two cloths for washing and wiping the squeegee blade
  • a dry cloth: chamois, microfiber, etc.
  • a green scrubby to remove debris
  • a window washer with a microfiber or sponge “like” pad, some people call it a scrubber
  • extension or telescoping pole
  • a step ladder
  • a squeegee 

If you have high windows, extension poles work great. With average windows, a regular squeegee will work fine. If you use a step stool or ladder, be careful.

A microfiber cleaning cloth is helpful, (but not absolutely required). Microfiber is made from a synthetic blend that does not shed. Professionals use chamois and microfiber, but if you don’t have one available, don’t worry about it.

Cotton towels are soft and absorbent, but they shed lint fibers, which can end up on newly washed windows. If this is all you have to work with, it will work just fine.

What Bucket to Use?

When you need to use the window washer, the head is longer than a regular sized bucket. If you wash your windows quite often, you might want to invest in a rectangular bucket, they fit the window washer nicely and they aren’t that expensive.

A regular bucket will work fine though, just dip in one side then the other side. When you’re done dipping the washer or scrubber in the water – use your hand to rub off some of the excess water.

Cleaning the Glass in Picture Windows

Because picture windows a typically large windows, these may require the use of the extension pole.

It’s up to you if you want to use the window washer inside as well as outside. Even though you remove excess water from the washer; there can still be quite a bit of drips.

If you use it inside, place a large towel down to catch drips and spills.

  1. Wash the window pane with the cleaning solution. If necessary, use the green scrubby to remove any debris that doesn’t come off easily.
  2. Now use the squeegee to remove the cleaning solution. Starting at the top corner of the window, use a reverse “S” motion going from one side to the other down the window.
  3. Wipe the squeegee blade and repeat.
  4. Remove any remaining water around the edges, window glass, and the windowsill.

If using the reverse “S” motion doesn’t work for you, start at the top of the window and pull the squeegee straight down the window in one continuous motion. Wipe the squeegee and slightly overlap the last stroke.

Using a Pressure Washer

Cleaning windows with a pressure washer, while very fast, doesn’t do quite the job as cleaning windows yourself.

This method might be okay for someone who just wants to rinse the dirt off the window and who is not very critical of the results. Me, I’ll do it myself.

If you’re going to try this method for a quick clean, be careful not to spray to close to the window. Using a pressure washer to clean the windows could possibly cause cracks under the water pressure (especially in colder weather), you could loosen seals and it just doesn’t do a good job – be careful.

Window Washing Tips

  • Work the washer at angles across the glass. This usually cleans the windows better than just going in one direction as you overlap strokes more.
  • When using the squeegee, squeegee at angles (left to right) on the outside of windows and up and down on the inside windows. This will help you tell where any streaking is occurring, especially if you’re cleaning by yourself.
  • If you are window washing in pairs. One person can clean the inside of the windows while another works on the exterior glass. This works nice when areas are missed, just tell the person who’s inside or outside where to rewash.
  • The squeegee should to be wiped off after each stroke to prevent streaking. Cloth diapers work great for this.
  • Even using a squeegee to clean the residue off the glass may not get everything. Always carry a clean cloth to clean the small spots that have to be touched up.