Introduction

man wiping away a soapy window pane with a squeegee
Photo: Kenneth Chen
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Ideally, windows should be washed twice a year, but it's a task most people don't look forward to. Part of what makes window washing such a chore is that homeowners insist on doing it with wadded-up paper towels or newspaper, spray cleaner, and a ton of elbow grease.

"All that rubbing isn't a good idea," says Brent Weingard, owner of Expert Window Cleaners in New York City. "You're just moving dirt around from one spot to another and putting a static charge on the glass, which attracts dust and dirt. As soon as you finish, the window looks dirty again."

As Weingard demonstrates, it's easier and more effective to clean glass like the pros do: with a squeegee and a few other readily available tools. The techniques aren't complicated, he says, and the results may surprise you.

"I don't know of anything that can transform living spaces so well. You don't know what you're missing until you do the windows," says Weingard. Here are two 3-step methods; one for picture windows and another for multipane windows. Got stubborn spots? Step 7 will help you with those.

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    Tools List

    • Squeegee
      Squeegee
    • Strip applicator with cloth head
      Strip applicator
    • Chamois or lint-free rag
      Chamois, and a lint-free rag or two
      like a cloth diaper or old linen napkin
    • hacksaw
      Hacksaw
      to custom cut squeegee for multipane windows
    • utility knife
      Utility knife

    Shopping List

    1. Dishwashing liquid

    2. Super-fine (000) steel wool

    3. Mild abrasive cleaner, like Barkeeper's Friend

    4. 3-Star Barrier Glass Surface Protectant clear polymer coating

    5. Natural sponge (optional)