When it comes to keeping our homes clean and pristine, nothing takes the shine off all your hard work quite like those pesky streaks on our windows that just won’t go away!
You may have spent hours tidying up, dusting, cleaning, sweeping, mopping and vacuuming your entire house, but if your windows are covered in smears and streaks, it can really down-play all of your efforts. Sometimes, no matter how you wipe or scrub the glass, those smears subtly change their appearance but never quite go away.
Giving your windows that streak-free shine does not have to be a mammoth task, we’ve got some great tips and tricks for you here on how to get smear-free windows.
Things to Avoid
Before you go and grab your cleaning supplies and set to work on your windows, here are a couple of things to avoid using:
Cloths or Rags
Fabric cloths and rags have a tendency to leave behind small fibres that make your windows look dusty and add to that smeary appearance. Along with leaving behind pieces of fluff, they will also soak up and retain the moisture of whatever cleaning solution you are using – rapidly decreasing the cloth’s ability to work well in cleaning glass surfaces.
Microfibre cloths tend to shed a lot less and attract dust and fluff to them, so this kind of cloth would most likely be a good choice for cleaning windows.
Kitchen roll has a similar effect to cloths – leaving behind dusty-looking fibres as you clean. Also, papers the paper towels may break into bits as they get snagged on corners and edges. Since kitchen roll is made to be absorbent, so will soak up the cleaning solution well, but won’t help to clean your windows very effectively.
Overly Soapy Solutions
Soap does have a tendency to cause the smudges we see on our windows, so the soapier the solution you use to clean your windows, the bigger the problem. In reality, we do not need a lot of soap in the water to properly clean our windows.
If you don’t feel like you can get the cleanest results without soap, you could just try to use less soap when mixing up your solution.
Also applying less of the cleaning solution to your windows in the first instance could help – mix your solution in a spray bottle to allow for the most even coverage when applying it to your windows.
A great mixing ratio to aim for with soap is 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid to 1 litre of water.
Tips for Smear-Free Windows
Before cleaning any windows, make sure curtains or blinds are safely out of the way or taken down where possible. Also, clear any ornaments from windowsills to give yourself a completely clear workspace. Give your windows a once-over with a duster to remove any loose debris or cobwebs – wet dust can get moved around on glass causing those unsightly smears, so deal with it while it’s dry.
Now, let’s get into these tips and tricks:
This is perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the book for glass cleaning (you may have seen it in movies when people are cleaning car windscreens with newspaper to make some extra cash).
Newspaper is a great alternative to cloths for cleaning glass surfaces. This is true for a few reasons:
- Newspaper does not leave behind any fibres or lint.
- Newspaper absorbs moisture and grease well (often smears are a little greasy so newspaper is perfect).
- Newspaper will clean a large surface before needing to be replaced.
- Packing paper is a great alternative to newspaper in the event that you do not have a newspaper at hand.
We love this solution to cleaning glass as newspaper is so readily available and cheap to source – even free sometimes!
Check out this video which demonstrates how easily windows can be cleaned with newspaper and your favourite glass cleaner:
Use a Vinegar Solution
Vinegar is widely held as a solution or remedy for just about everything – white vinegar in particular.
The uses for vinegar range anywhere from healing various sicknesses to unclogging drains by mixing it with baking soda. When the topic of how to clean windows without leaving streaks gets brought up, sure enough, vinegar will be one of the tricks that get mentioned.
- Mixing 1 part white vinegar in 4 parts warm water.
- Decant it into a clean empty spray bottle for ease of use.
- Use the mist setting on the spray bottle to cover more surface area.
It is important to note that this cleaning method will not kill bacteria, but it will work well to leave your windows smudge-free. Another great perk of using this method is that it is safe for the kids and pets in your home.
Use a Streak-Free Window Cleaner Cautiously
Streak-free window cleaning solutions do exist in the shops and could be a good option for quick and easy results. However, sadly, just because the bottle says that it is “streak-free” does not make it so.
If you just want a window cleaner that is already premixed and ready to go, make sure to look at the customer reviews. This is a great way to feel out the reliability of the product and verify that it stands up to the claims that it makes.
One of our favourite glass cleaning products is Method’s non-toxic Glass surface cleaner, which is ideal for windows, shower screens and mirrors alike. Use this with the newspaper technique for shiny smear-free windows in every room of your house.
Invest in a Window Vac
If you find yourself cleaning the glass surfaces in your home very frequently, then it may be an excuse to invest in a window vacuum. This contraption is shaped like a window squeegee and simply sucks up any moisture/water from glass surfaces – perfect for condensation in bathrooms as we as when cleaning your windows.
The Kärcher Window Vac comes with multiple attachments to make window cleaning a breeze and they have their own brand of cleaning solution too. This is a little on the pricier side, but definitely helps to safe time and effort when it comes to cleaning glass.
Smears and streaks on windows are mainly caused by watermarks and areas where cleaning solution has remained on the surface – this is down to excess moisture not being absorbed when wiped away.
Window cleaning products will say that they are streak-free, but it is not that simple.
The streak-free window cleaning options found in stores do have the ability to be cleaned off of our windows without a streak being left behind. However, some solutions are easier to absorb without leaving smudges than others. Vinegar is a good alternative to the options that are found in stores and using newspaper to wipe it away should leave you with windows so clean you’ll think they’re open!
- Avoiding certain types of material when cleaning our windows is important if we want to avoid adding to smudges.
- Using less cleaning solution should reduce any residue build-up.
- Not overusing the same material to wipe our windows will avoid dirt from being spread around, causing smears.
Try cleaning your windows with newspaper or packing paper while keeping in mind some of the other tips in this article and you’re sure to be chuffed with the results.