Few things can make a house seem brighter than sparkling clean windows. Clean glass seems to invite the sunlight inside. There are dozens of products for cleaning glass available at the supermarket, but I always wondered why the professional window cleaners never use them. It turns out that they have something that works better. You're likely already in possession of the most important ingredient: dishwashing soap. The liquid kind used for washing dishes by hand.
Dishwashing liquid makes the water wetter, provides cleaning power and in most cases doesn't streak (I'll provide a solution for streaking later in this post).
Here's what you'll need:
- a bucket (preferably lightweight plastic)
- dishwashing soap
- white vinegar
- scrub sponge (gentle type)
- razor blade (optional)
- dry cleaning clothes
- newspaper (optional)
Mix about one tablespoon of liquid dish soap into one gallon of warm to hot water (it may not look very sudsy, but it will provide enough cleaning power for most situations).
Apply the soapy water to the window with a clean sponge. Use the scrubber if the dirt is hard to remove. Escalate the war on spots to a razor blade (handle with care) if you're still struggling.
Squeegee the water off. First side to side, dry the rubber blade, then top to bottom. If there is a little water remaining on the window use a clean cloth to mop it up. Alternately you can use crumpled newspaper instead of cloths. Some people claim that the ink give the windows extra sparkle. At the minimum it offers a green option to paper towels or towels that require laundering.
If your washing solution leaves streaks try adding a cup of white distilled vinegar to the mix. You might also wait for a cooler day, and clean when the sun isn't streaming directly on your panes. Sun-warmed windows often dry too quickly leaving soapy residue (streaks) behind.
©2007 Ken Hoyt
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