These Windows Is NASTY!
First, I appreciate you writing in with your question, and I also enjoy your manner of written communication! Even though it doesn’t reflect proper grammar usage, I agree that sometimes there’s just no better way to say it – “These windows are NASTY!” And now, to your point: what are some effective DIY strategies when it comes to the goal of getting these nasty windows clean? I’d like to share a few approaches I’ve found that work well for making windows clear and bright again.
Make Your Own Window Cleaner
Let me start by saying I’m someone who doesn’t like using strong chemicals around the home, for cleaning or anything else. I don’t like their smell, I don’t want my family or pets (which are also part of our family!) inhaling those toxins, and I don’t like the impact these chemicals have on our local watersheds and wildlife habitats. I’m also someone who places great value in having a clean home, and I’ve learned that you really CAN make your own cleaner that’s very effective on glass. A simple mixture of distilled white vinegar and Dawn dish detergent makes a great all-purpose cleaner that works on pretty much everything, including windows. Two parts water to one-part vinegar and one-part soap is a good recipe, but you can experiment for yourself until you find the ratio that you like best. Just spray the mixture on your windows, wipe it off, and then follow up with plain water to prevent soap buildup. If you have double-hung or tilt-in windows, you can clean the outsides with this same solution, and you won’t have to climb a ladder to do it, either.
But What to Wipe With?
You’ve probably learned that paper towels or cotton cloths can smear and leave smudges. An old, time-tested strategy is to substitute newspaper for paper towels; newspaper simply doesn’t leave the same streaks. One downside to using newspaper is the fact that it tends to leave a lot of ink on your hands. Plus, since the advent of the digital media era, fewer and fewer households have much newspaper lying around anymore.
Try a Coffee Filter or Microfiber Cloth
So, what else can you use? Unused coffee filters clean as well as newspaper, and they leave no ink behind. The only inherent problem with coffee filters is that you’re still going through a lot of paper, killing a lot of trees, and creating more trash for the landfill. If only there were a reusable cleaning cloth that worked on windows! Well, you’re in luck, because there is! Microfiber cloths are effective at trapping dust and dirt, and they generally leave your windows free of any residue. It’s advisable to work the cloth in a circular motion, but if you cover the whole area with overlapping strokes, you should be able to get the job done without streaking.
Secret Weapons for Removing Stubborn Streaks
But what if you still see some streaks after you’re done cleaning? Even with the best cleaning materials, you’ll still encounter an occasional streak. When that happens, try going over the window with a blackboard eraser. The fiber in these erasers is usually very effective at eliminating any marks. Don’t have a blackboard eraser handy? You can also try using a soft cotton t-shirt or other light garment. If the window is clean first, soft cotton garments can usually eradicate streaks without leaving behind any dust or lint.
And What About Those Nasty Windowsills and Tracks?
Yep, those areas can indeed get nasty, and your spray bottle of homemade cleaner simply won’t do the trick alone. For built-up gunk and funk around the sills and tracks, it’s best to try and remove the bulk of the dirt before you ever apply any cleaner. In cases like this, an air compressor and a hose can work wonders at blowing that dirt away. This isn’t always a practical solution for working on the interior of your home, however. A shop vac or other vacuum cleaner with appropriate attachments can also do the trick. Once you’ve blown or sucked away the dirt that comes up freely, then you can follow up with some cleaner.
How to Clean Those Blinds and Window Dressings?
Of course, cleaning the windows doesn’t just mean cleaning the glass; in order to really get your home clean, you need to give some attention to cleaning your window adornments as well. Some curtains can be laundered, and others can be dry cleaned. If neither of those is an option for you, you can still go over your curtains with an appropriate vacuum attachment to take that accumulated dust out of your environment. But how to clean your horizontal or vertical blinds? Most vacuums won’t or can’t get your blinds clean enough. Here’s one blind-cleaning hack that I’ve found to be effective: use kitchen tongs. Wrap a cleaning cloth around each tong, and secure each with rubber bands. Now, simply use a gentle grip to close the tongs around each blind, and just drag across to remove excess dust and dirt. Voila!
Tips for Cleaning Other Glass Surfaces
I understand that you also have other glass surfaces in your home besides just windows – how to clean those? You can try the general cleaning solution you’ve already mixed up, but you also have some other options. You can use some brewed black tea to clean your bathroom mirrors. After brewing a strong cup, let it cool off, and then transfer to a spray bottle or a damp cloth. The tea’s natural tannic acid makes an effective cleaner for mirrors. What about glass cooktops? They make special cleaners for cooktops, but these cleaners often contain strong chemicals. A mixture of vinegar and baking soda can be just as effective, without all the residual toxins. Just spray the cooking surface down with vinegar, sprinkle on some baking soda, and swirl your cleaning cloth to polish off the surface. Follow up with a water-dampened cloth to remove any residual baking soda, and you’re done!
Yay for Window Cleaning Hacks!
I personally don’t enjoy window cleaning any more than anyone else, but I do enjoy the results of having cleaner windows and a cleaner home environment. If you’ll take advantage of these tips and hacks, I think you’ll like your results as well. And remember, turning your house into a home that you enjoy isn’t just about keeping it clean. It’s also important to add your personal touches of style, personality, and comfort. If it’s time to freshen up your home linens and décor, I hope you’ll consider perusing our Jennifer Adams luxury bedding and home décor collections. We’re all about providing the perfect products to help make your house really feel like home.