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Keep Your Windows Clean and Shiny with These 5 Tricks

Mother and daughter cleaning window.

Whether you’re planning on listing your home and you want it looking its best or you’re having company over, you’ll want to clean your home’s windows after this summer. In this article, we’ll review a few ways you can better clean your windows and keep them looking great for months to come.

Clean with better water

When it comes to cleaning windows, the path of least resistance is using the garden hose. However, this is far from the best way to clean. In fact, hosing down your windows could lead to a number of problems. For most of us, our tap water is far from pristine: in many parts of the country, tap water is “hard,” which means it has a high mineral content. Spraying down your home’s windows with the hose could mean leaving unsightly hard water deposits behind.

Instead, we recommend you fill a bucket with purified, softened water. If you have a home water softener, this is as easy as filling a bucket from your kitchen sink. If you don’t, go pick up some gallons of purified water from the grocery store for this project. Using purified, softened water helps soap and cleaning products work more effectively as well.

Wash on a cloudy day

You’ve probably heard this in reference to washing your car, but it also applies to your home’s windows. Sunlight causes water to dry too quickly for the purposes of washing, leading to streaking on your windows. Ideally, pick a cloudy or overcast day to start your project. Just be careful not to fall toward the other extreme: you don’t want to be washing your windows in the rain or snow, either!

A little soap goes a long way

Some homeowners use an entire bottle of window cleaner for this project. That’s too much. In fact, when it comes to using soap on your windows, it’s better to start more conservatively, applying more soap as needed. One of the most effective soaps to use on windows isn’t even a window-cleaning product. As a degreaser, dish soap is perfect for removing stuck-on material, smoke, and more from your home’s windows. Just a few drops, added to a microfiber cloth, is often enough to do the trick.

Care for your dual-pane windows

Most modern homes feature dual-pane windows. As the name suggests, these windows are formed from two separate panes of glass, with an air pocket between them. In most cases, this thin air pocket is filled with a harmless gas, like argon or krypton. The gas pocket slows down the heat transfer process, preventing heat from getting into the home in the summer and keeping it from escaping in the winter. Dual-pane windows are incredibly energy-efficient compared to single-pane windows.

However, if you notice there is fogging between the panes, this means that the seal has been broken, the gas has likely escaped, and moisture has made its way into the once-dry air pocket. Once the seal is breached and the insulating gas escapes, there’s little you can do to restore the window’s previous efficiency. You can remove the current fogging by inserting a demoisturizer, such as silica desiccant pellets, into the broken seal, but the window will inevitably fog up again in the future. Long-term, you’ll need to replace the window. 

Apply a specialized window protector

Once you’re done cleaning, you may want to consider wiping down the windows with a specialized window protecting product. These products help block moisture from getting to the window’s glass, keeping your windows looking pristine for months longer.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors