5 Ways to Get Streak Free Windows
5 Ways to Get Streak Free Windows
Window cleaning is one of the hardest household chores there is, so seeing through clear and clean windows is extremely satisfying.
However, any satisfaction will quickly fade away when you see streaks across your windows.
The cleaning act is hard in itself, but then some streaks dare to appear? This won’t do. Thankfully, we can teach you why you might be getting streaks and how to avoid them.
There are a lot of factors why you’re getting streaks, from your cleaning solution to your technique. It will be a while before robots do this task for us, so we might as well learn how to do it right.
Follow the tips below to get streak free windows every time.
1. Use Distilled Water
Many of us don’t even consider the type of water we use to clean our things, but there’s a type that’s more suitable for cleaning, especially if it’s glass you’re cleaning. If you keep getting streaks and/or white spots, chances are high that the problem is the water you use.
The water coming from your tap might be “hard,” which means it has a high mineral content. It contains salts of magnesium and calcium, as well as other minerals. This is the reason why you’ll see residues when the water dries – the minerals build up on the surface you’ve cleaned.
Although it’s not a health risk, hard water also affects the performance of the soap and detergent. It can inactivate the active cleaning ingredient in some synthetic detergents, and the minerals combine with the soap to form a sticky soap curd.
This means hard water not only results in streaks in your windows, it also sabotages the ability of soap and detergent to clean the surfaces in your home, your clothes, your dishes, and even your hair and body.
The best thing to do would be to use distilled water in wiping your furniture and in diluting your cleaner. You can turn the water from your tap into distilled water, but it requires extra steps so we recommend buying distilled water (which can get expensive) or a home distiller (which can be more cost-effective if your household drinks distilled water as well).
Similarly, you can also buy a water softener to ensure that you’re getting soft water for your cleaning and the whole household needs. There are kits to help you determine the hardness of your water, which then helps you determine which water softener to buy.
2. Mix in Vinegar
Still getting streaks even after using distilled water? The problem might be your cleaner. There are glass cleaners that promise streak-free results, but they come with a relatively expensive price tag and a lot of elbow grease.
Your best streak-free window cleaning solution isn’t your local grocery. It’s right there in your own home: white vinegar. A big plus is that it practically costs nothing and it’s always available when you need it.
Vinegar removes stubborn stains and grime. You can mix it with soft water with a 1:1 ratio or use it undiluted for spots that are extra tough to remove. Use the solution as you would a cleaner or use it as the last step after you’ve washed a particularly grimy window with soap.
The downside is that vinegar won’t smell as good as a cleaner. If its odor nauseates you, you might prefer using it on outside surfaces only.
An alternative to vinegar is a liquid dish soap. It’s also always ready, and it costs far less than a glass cleaner. Mixed in with soft water, it cuts through grease and dirt with your indoor squeegee technique.
For an extra cleaning boost, mix in vinegar, too! All you need is about half a teaspoon of liquid dish soap, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, and 2 cups of water. Combine these ingredients in a spray bottle and use as normal.
However, keep in mind the following tip if you want to use a dishwashing soap or other types of soap.
3. Go Easy on the Soap
Learning how to clean windows without streaks involves going easy on the soap, not about going overboard with it to overcompensate.
More soap doesn’t equate to better cleaning power. In fact, soapy and sudsy water will result in a lot of streaks, that very thing you’re dreading. In addition to streaking, it leaves behind a soapy residue that causes a dull and dingy glass.
About 3 drops of dish soap in a gallon of water will do. As it has the ability to cut through grease on your dishes, it should do wonders for your windows as well.
You can mix the solution in a bucket but use slow strokes. Alternatively, mix it in a jug and shake slowly. Use only what you need and store the rest in the jug.
As for the type of dish soap, DIYers highly recommend the Dawn dish soap, but the one you’re currently using would work as well. May we note, though, that you only use the original variants, not those that may have perfumes, skin softeners, and other additives that might cause streaks.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if you’re using a vinegar solution or a glass cleaner. Make sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner carefully to enable it to do an effective job.
However, the cleaning tool matters as much as the cleaning solutions to avoid getting streaks on your windows.
4. Use the Right Tools
You may have the perfect solution, but without the right tools, you’ll likely still end up with streaks on your windows.
Some use paper towels and then wonder why they aren’t getting clean windows when they are one of the worst things you can use for cleaning glass. They don’t only leave streaks, they also leave lint. Not to mention they aren’t environmental-friendly as well.
There’s a reason why professionals use a clean, rubber-bladed squeegee when cleaning windows. It’s effective in drying the flat surface and getting rid of liquid and soap, leaving behind a sparkly glass.
For maximum effectiveness, replace the rubber blade every time you use it. Pros even change their squeegee blades during cleaning if they have a lot of windows to wipe.
The edge of the blade will accumulate nicks and slices as you use it, which might cause streaks and uneven cleaning. If you want to maximize the use of an undamaged rubber blade, reverse it and use the other edge. When you store it, make sure that the blade isn’t touching anything.
For heavy cleaning, use a scrubber or a sponge to wash the windows with soap. A scrubber is preferable, but if you don’t have any, a good old sponge will do. If you have small window panes, a sponge works great, too.
In addition to a squeegee, have microfiber cloths ready as well. This type of cloth has no lint, so it’s great for a final wipe. If you’re using a vinegar solution, use this type of cloth.
5. Follow These Steps
Now that you know how to get streak free windows with the right materials and tools, all that’s left to learn is the technique. There’s no one best way to clean glass; it depends on what you’re using.
If You’re Using a Vinegar Solution or Commercial Cleaner
First, ready your cleaning solution and two microfiber cloths. When you’re ready, spray the solution into the windows and use one cloth to thoroughly wipe the surface. Remember to clean the corners, too!
Wait for it to dry (about 15 seconds) and polish the surface with the other microfiber cloth. This method will ensure you won’t get streaks.
If You’re Using Soapy Water
If the dirt and grime on your window panes necessitate you to use soap, get your scrubber/sponge, squeegee, a microfiber cloth, and your cleaning solution ready. First, dip the scrubber into the solution and squeeze out excess water. Use it to clean the whole surface, including the edges and corners.
Then, get your squeegee and clean a small strip, about an inch, on the top or on one of the sides. This is your starting point, as starting on dry glass prevents streaks from forming.
Then, use horizontal or vertical strokes without the blade leaving the surface. Angle the squeegee to direct the water to the uncleaned parts. After each full strip across the window, wipe the blade on a clean towel.
After wiping the whole panel, use a rag to absorb the remaining water at the bottom. Then, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the edges and any streak.
Call a Professional for Streak Free Windows
Sometimes, it’s better to give up and leave the job to a professional. Doing this, you can ensure that your windows are sparkling clean without any streaks or residue.
This is only one of the many reasons to hire window cleaning services. Aside from giving your windows a clean look, professionals will also ensure that molds, allergens, and other health hazards will remain out of your windows and homes.
We recommend calling a professional for the following purposes:
- Avoiding damage to the glass
- Cleaning coated windows
- Cleaning hard-to-reach windows
- Cleaning decorative glass
- Emergency cleaning
For any of the above or other reasons, contact us now for streak free windows!