If you’re a neat freak or someone who just likes to keep a clean home, cleaning windows can be one of the least satisfying experiences ever. Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do, your windows never get fully clean. You spray some Windex, wipe down your surface, and are still somehow left with a streaky, dirty-looking mess. You’re left exhausted, and your brand new Renewal by Andersen windows look just the same as they did before your whipped out your squeegee. Don’t despair: It doesn’t have to be like this. If you’re tired of streaky windows and perpetual stains clouding up your perfect view, take note. There are a few cleaning hacks out there that even the most obsessive home cleaners haven’t thought to try yet, and they’re guaranteed to leave your windows sparkling clean. You don’t have to put in a ton of elbow grease, either. If you’re sick of dirty windows, here are a few hacks you don’t want to miss out on.
1. Save It for a Rainy Day
You might be tempted to start your spring cleaning routine on the first sunny day in April, but hold off: If you want a truly streak-free shine, it’s actually better to put off your window cleaning until the sky is a bit cloudier. Why? It’s simple: Think about what happens when you’re driving on a rainy day. You start to notice just how dirty your car windows and side mirrors have gotten. On a sunny day, you’re less likely to pay attention to streaks and stains. When the sun is out, we’re not as able to see all the imperfections on glass surfaces quite as clearly, leading us to often do a less thorough job when window cleaning. On a gray day, however, everything looks much clearer, and you’ll be more likely to really wipe down your windows thoroughly once you take a good look at how filthy they’ve actually gotten.
2. Skip the Cloth
You may have grown up using a microfiber or cotton cloth to wipe your windows clean. However, if you don’t want your windows hanging on to a ton of dust, dirt, and stray fibers, a squeegee is the way to go. Not only does using a squeegee give you a more precise, less streaky clean, it makes it way easier for your windows to dry on their own without the help of a paper towel or cloth. Most of the time, the streaks left behind after a window cleaning session are the fault of your paper towels, not your cleaning method.
3. Erase the Stains Away
If you have kids at home, you might already know and love this hack. If you have a standard chalkboard eraser lying around, you can put it to good use during your window cleaning. If you’ve just cleaned and are already noticing streaks and spots that you missed, don’t stress over it. Whip out that eraser and go at those streaks until they’re truly erased off the face of your windows. Dry erase wipes can often do a good job of this as well.
4. Add Some Starch
Homeowners who do their fair share of cleaning and baking already know that cornstarch is an undersung miracle worker of all-purpose cleaners. Not only does it help thicken sauces and create tasty dishes for baking, it also can help blast away window markings and stains. Since cornstarch can work as a gentle exfoliant, it can help give your cleaner a bit of extra boost. Whether you’re using Windex or a gentle solution of soap and water, adding an extra teaspoon or two of cornstarch can produce radically gorgeous results on your windows.
5. Use White Vinegar for Detail Work
Cornstarch is amazing, but when it comes to anti-bacterial cleaning, odor-erasing, and even keeping pests away, white vinegar is even better. While adding a bit of white vinegar to your window cleaning mixture might not do much to increase the shine of your glass, it will work wonders on your window tracks. If you have a sliding window or a double-hung window, you most likely neglect the tracks along which your window moves. These tracks can get very dirty very fast, and they’re no pleasure to clean once they’ve gotten full of gunk. To keep them fresh, try using a white vinegar spray to clean them out with a sponge or a detail brush. Your windows will be able to glide smoothly back and forth with no issues afterward.
6. Go Turbo
If you’re finding that your regular old window cleaner simply isn’t doing the trick, it’s time to do yourself a serious favor and switch to some harder stuff. If you’re able to track down an automotive-grade glass cleaner that used at auto body shops, you’ll be able to give your home windows that crisp look of a freshly-washed car.