What is the best window cleaner?

Choosing the best window cleaner is essential for achieving crystal-clear, streak-free windows. This article explores various cleaning solutions, offers a step-by-step guide, discusses the right tools, and shares best practices for outdoor window cleaning. Whether you’re tackling grime on a sunny day or maintaining the sparkle after the job is done, we’ve got you covered with expert tips and tricks.

Key Takeaways

  • Soap and water serve as a reliable and chemical-free base for cleaning windows, with white vinegar added for a streak-free finish.
  • A proper cleaning technique involves hosing down windows, applying a vinegar-water mixture, squeegeeing effectively, and using vinegar to prevent streaks.
  • The right tools, including microfiber cloths, squeegees, and quality cleaning products, are crucial for efficient and effective window cleaning.
  • For outdoor window cleaning, it’s important to choose an optimal day, use the right techniques for tough grime, and maintain windows regularly to keep them clean.
  • Personal preference plays a role in selecting the best window cleaner; however, vinegar is often recommended by experts for its eco-friendly and streak-free results.

Essential Window Cleaning Solutions

Essential Window Cleaning Solutions

The Role of Soap and Water

Soap and water are the stalwarts of window cleaning, providing a simple yet effective way to tackle dirt and grime. This combination is not only readily available but also gentle on the windows, ensuring that they can be cleaned without the risk of damage. For best results, use a mild, non-abrasive soap to avoid leaving any residue.

Soap acts as a surfactant, breaking down the oils and dirt that adhere to the window surface, making it easier to wash away. After applying the soapy water, it’s crucial to rinse the windows thoroughly to prevent any soapy film from drying and causing streaks.

A thorough rinse with clean water will ensure that no soap residue remains, which is essential for a clear, streak-free view.

While soap and water are effective, many experts recommend following up with white vinegar for that perfect streak-free finish. The acidic nature of vinegar helps to dissolve any remaining mineral deposits, leaving your windows sparkling clean.

The Power of Vinegar for a Streak-Free Finish

Vinegar is a powerhouse when it comes to window cleaning. Mix one part distilled white vinegar with ten parts water in a spray bottle for an effective, eco-friendly solution. This mixture not only cuts through grime but also ensures a streak-free finish, making it a favorite among cleaning experts.

Vinegar’s natural acidity helps to break down the filmy residue that can be left by soaps or commercial cleaners. For best results, apply the solution with a cloth or brush, reaching into all the corners to remove stubborn dirt.

When squeegeeing off the cleaning solution, always move from top to bottom in a side-to-side motion to prevent dirtying the clean areas.

Remember to avoid soaps or detergents unless they are thoroughly rinsed off, as they can leave behind streaks that attract more dirt and grime. With vinegar, your windows will not only be clean but also less likely to gather dust quickly.

Alternatives to Traditional Cleaners

While soap and vinegar are the go-to choices for many, there are other alternatives to traditional window cleaners that can be just as effective. Homemade glass cleaners offer a non-toxic and healthy option for those looking to avoid harsh chemicals. For instance, a simple mixture of lemon juice and water can act as a natural degreaser, while rubbing alcohol mixed with water can help in quick drying, reducing the chances of streaks.

When considering homemade recipes, it’s crucial to understand the chemistry behind the ingredients. A popular homesteading hack once suggested combining vinegar and soap; however, this has been debunked as a less-effective cleaning agent.

For those seeking a more eco-friendly approach, consider using a squeegee with a microfiber cloth instead of paper towels. This not only reduces waste but also ensures a streak-free shine. Below is a list of alternative cleaning solutions:

  • Lemon juice and water (natural degreaser)
  • Rubbing alcohol and water (quick drying)
  • Baking soda and water (abrasive for tough grime)
  • Cornstarch and water (for a smooth finish)

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Windows

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Windows

Preparing Your Windows with a Hose Down

After hosing down your windows to remove loose dirt and debris, the next step is to apply the cleaning mixture. Ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly wet to allow the cleaning solution to dissolve and lift the grime effectively. For this, you can use a spray bottle or a sponge soaked in the cleaning solution.

When applying the cleaner, start from the top and work your way down to prevent drips on clean areas.

Here’s a simple recipe for a homemade cleaning mixture:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol

Mix these ingredients in a bucket or directly in a spray bottle. The vinegar helps in breaking down the grime and leaving a streak-free shine, while the rubbing alcohol speeds up the drying process to avoid streaks.

Applying the Cleaning Mixture

Once you’ve prepared your windows, it’s time to apply the cleaning mixture. Ensure even coverage by spraying or spreading the solution across the entire surface of the glass. A popular homemade solution involves mixing one part distilled white vinegar with ten parts water. This mixture is effective and eco-friendly, cutting through dirt without leaving behind sticky residues that attract more grime.

After applying the solution, use a window scrubber to work it into the glass. Scrub in different directions to dislodge stubborn dirt, and frequently rinse the scrubber to avoid spreading dirt.

For particularly tough stains, saturate the area with the cleaning mixture and gently wipe away with a microfiber cloth.

If you don’t have vinegar, consider using rubbing alcohol as an alternative. It evaporates quickly, reducing the chance of streaks. After the solution has had a moment to cut into the dirt, proceed with a squeegee, wiping the window clean with downward strokes and wiping the squeegee after each pass.

Squeegeeing for a Clear View

Once you’ve applied the cleaning mixture, it’s time to use the squeegee for a clear view. Start at the top of the window, moving side to side, and make your way down in a zig-zag pattern to avoid dirtying the clean areas. After each stroke, wipe the squeegee’s blade to prevent re-depositing dirt.

Ensure that the entire glass surface is covered with the cleaning solution before you begin. Allow it to cut through the grime, then squeegee the window clean with downward strokes.

For stubborn stains, apply extra cleaning solution and gently work them away with a microfiber cloth. Once you’ve squeegeed the window, dry it promptly to avoid any marks or streaks that could undermine your efforts.

Final Touches: Preventing Streaks

Achieving a streak-free finish on windows can be challenging, but with the right approach, it’s entirely possible. Always squeegee or wipe from side to side, starting at the top and working your way down in a zig-zag pattern to avoid dirtying clean areas. This technique helps to remove the excess cleaning solution effectively.

After squeegeeing, it’s crucial to dry the window frames and glass completely with a dry cloth. This step is essential to prevent streaks and remove any remaining cleaning product, which could become problematic if mixed with rainwater. For particularly stubborn stains or grime, reapply the cleaning solution and gently wipe the area with a microfiber cloth.

To ensure a streak-free finish, avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight. The heat can cause the solution to dry too quickly, leaving marks.

Lastly, consider the weather conditions. Overcast days are ideal for window cleaning as the lower sun intensity allows the cleaning solution to remain wet longer, facilitating a streak-free result.

Choosing the Right Tools for the Job

Choosing the Right Tools for the Job

The Basics: Cloths, Squeegees, and Buckets

Having the right tools at your disposal is crucial for achieving crystal-clear windows. A professional window cleaning equipment set typically includes a large bucket, a squeegee, and washing cloths. For instance, the Window Cleaning – The Dustpan and Brush Store offers a set that comes with a 15-litre bucket, complete with markings in both litres and gallons, ensuring you mix your cleaning solutions accurately.

When tackling the window panes, the squeegee is your best ally. It’s essential to use it correctly: start at the top and make your way down in a zig-zag pattern to avoid dirtying the clean areas. After each swipe, remember to wipe the squeegee’s edge to prevent re-depositing dirt.

Microfiber cloths are indispensable for that final, streak-free shine. They absorb excess water and cleaning solution without leaving any residue behind.

Here’s a quick checklist of the basics you’ll need:

  • Large bucket with measurement markings
  • High-quality squeegee
  • Microfiber cloths for drying and polishing
  • Sponge for applying cleaning solutions

Advanced Tools: Magnetic and Vacuum Cleaners

When it comes to cleaning windows, the right tools can make all the difference. Magnetic window cleaners are a game-changer for those living in apartments or homes without direct outside access to windows. The GEKKOH CLEARGRIP is a popular choice, especially for double glazed windows, ensuring a thorough clean from the inside out.

For higher windows, a telescopic pole cleaning kit may be necessary. These kits allow you to reach the top windows without the need for a ladder, providing safety and convenience. It’s crucial to choose a product that aligns with your specific needs and the structure of your home.

While the initial investment in advanced cleaning tools might be higher, the ease of use and effectiveness can justify the cost over time.

Remember to read the instructions carefully to maximize the efficiency of these advanced tools and avoid any potential mishaps.

Selecting Quality Cleaning Products

When it comes to achieving crystal-clear windows, the selection of quality cleaning products is paramount. High-quality microfiber cloths are a cornerstone of effective window cleaning, as they can significantly reduce the occurrence of streaks and smudges. For instance, the Window Cleaning 2-Pack from E-Cloth Ltd is designed to last through 100 washes, ensuring durability and long-term effectiveness.

In addition to cloths, consider the type of cleaning solution you use. While many commercial products promise a streak-free finish, sometimes a simple homemade mixture of water and white vinegar can be just as effective. However, for those who prefer ready-to-use solutions, it’s important to read labels and choose products that are environmentally friendly and free from harsh chemicals.

When selecting your tools, don’t overlook the importance of a good squeegee. A well-made squeegee can make a world of difference in preventing water marks and ensuring a smooth, clean surface.

Finally, remember that the best window cleaner for you is one that not only cleans effectively but also aligns with your personal preferences and values, whether that’s eco-friendliness, ease of use, or cost-effectiveness.

Best Practices for Outdoor Window Cleaning

Best Practices for Outdoor Window Cleaning

Selecting the Optimal Day for Cleaning

Choosing the right day for outdoor window cleaning is crucial for achieving a streak-free shine. Avoid cleaning your windows when the sun is directly shining on them, as this can cause the cleaning solution to dry too quickly, resulting in streaks. Instead, aim for a cloudy or overcast day when the sun’s intensity is lower, allowing the cleaning solution to stay wet longer and making it easier to wipe off cleanly.

Weather conditions play a significant role in the cleaning process. Here’s a quick checklist to consider before you start:

  • Check the weather forecast for a cloudy day
  • Ensure there’s no rain predicted to avoid washing away your cleaning solution
  • Avoid windy days which can bring dust and debris back onto the glass

When planning your window cleaning, timing is everything. Early morning or late afternoon are ideal when the sun is less intense. This simple planning step can make a significant difference in the quality of your clean.

Techniques for Tackling Tough Grime

When dealing with tough grime on windows, it’s essential to let the cleaning solution work its magic. Apply the solution generously and allow it to penetrate the dirt before you begin scrubbing. For stubborn stains, a direct application of a vinegar and water mixture can be particularly effective. Use a 1:10 ratio of distilled white vinegar to water for a potent, streak-free solution.

  • Start by covering the glass with the cleaning mixture.
  • Allow the solution to sit and break down the grime.
  • Use a window scrubber in various directions to dislodge stubborn dirt.
  • Rinse the scrubber frequently to avoid spreading dirt.

After applying the cleaning solution, use a squeegee in a top-to-bottom, side-to-side motion to remove the excess and prevent dirty water from dripping on clean areas. This technique ensures that you’re not just moving the grime around but actually removing it from the window surface.

Maintaining Your Windows Post-Cleaning

After the hard work of cleaning, maintaining your windows is crucial to ensure they remain clear and functional for years to come. Regular maintenance not only enhances the appearance but also prolongs the lifespan of your windows. Use a soft cloth and warm, soapy water for general cleaning to remove everyday dirt and fingerprints. For tougher stains, such as grease marks, a solution with washing up liquid can be effective.

To prevent damage, it’s advisable to steer clear of harsh glass or kitchen/bathroom cleaners on window surfaces.

Additionally, paying attention to the frames and windowsills is important as they can harbor more dirt due to their structure. A gentle, yet thorough cleaning of these areas is recommended. Remember to dry the windows promptly after washing to avoid any unsightly streaks or marks that can negate your cleaning efforts.

Achieving crystal-clear windows is an art, and at Edinburgh Window Cleaners, we’ve perfected it. Our team of experts provides top-notch outdoor window cleaning services that will leave your windows sparkling and enhance your view. Whether you’re in Old Town or Newington, we’ve got you covered. Don’t let dirt and grime cloud your outlook—visit our website today to schedule your appointment and see Edinburgh in a new light!


In conclusion, the quest for the best window cleaner often leads us back to the simple yet effective solution of water and white vinegar. This classic combination is not only eco-friendly and chemical-free but also highly praised by experts for its ability to cut through grime and leave windows with a streak-free finish. Whether you’re tackling the outside windows with a garden hose or meticulously cleaning balcony windows, the right tools—a squeegee, microfiber cloths, and a reliable cleaning solution—are crucial for optimal results. Remember to choose the perfect day for cleaning to avoid streaks and to squeegee from top to bottom to prevent re-soiling clean areas. Ultimately, the best window cleaner is one that works for you and your home, leaving your windows sparkling clean with minimal effort.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best thing to wash outside windows with?

Soap and water is a classic, chemical-free solution for cleaning outside windows. For a streak-free finish, it’s recommended to use white vinegar after cleaning with soap and water.

Can I clean my outside windows by myself?

Yes, you can clean your outside windows by yourself. Start by hosing down the windows to remove loose dirt, then apply a mixture of soap and water or vinegar and water, and finally use a squeegee to remove the excess liquid.

Can you use washing-up liquid to clean windows?

Washing-up liquid is effective for cleaning windows and is an affordable alternative to professional cleaners. To avoid streaks, follow up with a white vinegar rinse.

Is vinegar a good cleaning solution for windows?

Vinegar is an excellent cleaning solution for windows. It’s eco-friendly, economical, and provides a streak-free finish when mixed with water.

What tools do I need for cleaning windows?

Essential tools for cleaning windows include microfiber cloths, a squeegee, a bucket, and a cleaning solution. For advanced cleaning, consider magnetic or vacuum window cleaners.

How can I prevent streaks when cleaning windows?

To prevent streaks, use a squeegee to wipe from side to side, starting at the top and zig-zagging to the bottom. Finish by wiping down with vinegar for a streak-free shine.