Cleaning windows can seem like a deceptively simple task, but achieving a professional finish without smudged and smeared panes can be tricky.
Far too often, it is possible to spend longer than expected rubbing down windows without ending up with a polished finished. You may even end up damaging the surface if you use the wrong materials.
To help you get the job done properly, we spoke to some experts about the best ways to make your windows the envy of your neighbours.
Top tips for cleaning windows include how to correctly position your squeegee
Cleaning windows doesn’t need to be complicated, but we often create problems for ourselves, says one expert.
Jonathan Hey, of Aliwood Roof Lanterns, says there are common misconceptions on window cleaning and some cleaning methods to avoid. He gives us some tips below.
He said: ‘There’s no reason why cleaning your windows should be seen as a particularly complex task, but if approached in the wrong way, your windows may be left with smudges, smears and even scratches.
‘When looking to give your windows the dazzling finish they deserve, there are certain things you should do, and other things you should avoid.’
If you can achieve the polished look, it can make your home look far more attractive – something that is particularly helpful if you are looking to sell your property. This is something at the forefront of more people’s minds at the moment as the property market picks up.
North London estate agent Jeremy Leaf, said: ‘Particularly when the sun is shining, cleaning your windows can be a good way of encouraging interest in your property.
‘It is very noticeable if the windows have not been cleaned, can make your home look dreary and unloved, suggesting a not particularly well-maintained property.
‘There really is no excuse not to clean the windows. It is one of the few things you can do for little cost, but makes a big difference to that vital first impression.’
Here are our six top tips for cleaning windows…
1. Avoid direct sunlight
Cleaning windows on a bright sunny day might seem like the most sensible option.
Not only can you see the dirt on the windows more easily, but it is more appealing to wash windows on a warm sunny day as you’re likely to not get so cold if you get covered in water.
However, just as with washing a car, it may not be the best option as cleaning windows in direct sunlight will cause the water the dry more quickly.
‘This will leave watermarks and may even leave your windows looking worse than when you started,’ explains Mr Hey.
2. Use a squeegee and turn it sideways
For a professional window cleaner finish, it is imperative to use a squeegee, according to experts.
They explain that you must not only use a squeegee, but you need to turn it sideways to prove you are a true pro.
Mr Hey explained: ‘This method forces the water to run down the window, rather than across your tool.
‘Also, make sure to wipe your squeegee with a clean towel in between strokes to ensure you don’t leave any traces of dirt on a clean window.’
3. No sponges or newspaper
If you don’t have a squeegee to hand, make sure you don’t substitute it with a sponge.
This is because the dirt collected in a sponge will spread across your window and may even scratch the glass.
And under no circumstances should you use newspaper to clean windows, according to experts. This used to be a trick that helped clean windows due to the print on the pages itself, but an ink switch means that it no longer works.
Experts advise against using sponges or newspapers to clean windows
AVOID USING PRINT TO CLEAN
Newspapers used to be printed with petroleum-based oil ink – the same class of oil that goes into glass polish and gives glass a sheen.
But in the 1970s and 1980s, newspapers began switching to soy ink due to environmental concerns associated with petroleum-based inks and because it was cheaper.
With the new ink, newspapers lost their ability to polish glass like it used to. It means that while cleaning windows with newspapers might have worked for your parents and grandparents generation, this is no longer the case.
4. Finish with a microfibre cloth
The microscopic, gentle fibres of a microfiber cloth will produce the sparkling finish every window cleaner strives for.
This kind of cloth will lift any remaining dirt as well as polish precious glass better than any other.
5. Don’t be stingy on water
Many people are particularly stingy when it comes to their water use as they don’t want to appear wasteful, claimed Mr Hey.
He said: ‘It is a nice thought, but there’s no point in reusing your water over and over as you will just be reapplying the dirt to your windows.
‘The only way to successfully wash away the dirt is with plenty of fresh water.’
6. Mess free inside cleaning
While using a squeegee with plenty of water would leave the interior side of your windows sparkling clean, it’s likely to result in a soaking wet carpet at the very least.
Thankfully, the interior side of the glass receives much less grime than the exterior. A good quality, streak-free spray and a microfiber cloth will make short work of any interiors smudges and fingerprints – leaving your windows sparkling clean inside and out.
For a professional clean, lift any remaining dirt from your windows using a microfibre cloth