How to Clean Windows Without Streaks, According to Experts

Updated June 13, 2021
cleaning windows without streaks

It can be so discouraging to find a bunch of streaks on all the windows you just cleaned around your home. But it doesn't need to be that way. Instead, use a few simple, streak-free homemade cleaning solutions and tips by experts to get your windows and mirrors streak-free in no time.

Window Cleaning Materials List

When it comes to cleaning anything, it's always best to start with a materials list. Why? Because it keeps you from scrabbling to find cleaners. To get started on your windows, you need:

  • Sponge or window scrubber

  • Sqeegee

  • Lint-free cloth

  • White vinegar

  • Dish soap

  • Bucket

  • Alcohol

  • Chamois

  • Spray bottle

  • Corn starch

With your materials at the ready, it's time to get scrubbing those outside and inside windows.

Best Way to Clean Outside Windows Without Streaks

Many DIY home improvement experts recommend very simple cleaning solutions for outdoor windows. According to experts, the secret to streak-free outdoor windows is technique and using professional tools.

  • Both Ron Hazelton and Brent Weingard note that about a tablespoon (or squirt) of dishwashing detergent to a bucket of water is good. The Family Handiman recommends a slightly different ratio of one teaspoon of detergent to two gallons of water.

  • Martha Stewart recommends using one part white vinegar to one part warm water.

Directions for Streak-Free Outdoor Windows

Whether you choose to use white vinegar or dish soap, you need your bucket at the ready and some dirty windows. Now follow these steps to a streak-free shine.

  1. Dust off the windows to remove any loose dirt or spray them with the hose.

  2. Combine the dishwashing detergent or vinegar with water in a large bucket.

  3. Apply the cleaning solution with a long window scrubber or large natural sea sponge on smaller panes you can easily reach.

  4. Remove the cleaning solution with a rubber blade squeegee.

  5. On large picture windows, start in the upper left corner and pull the squeegee over the surface in a reverse "S" pattern.

  6. On smaller or narrower windows, use the tip of the squeegee to clean a narrow strip along the top or side of the window.

  7. Remove the cleaning solution in overlapping rows, always starting from the clean strip.

  8. Wipe the blade of the squeegee after each stroke with a clean, lint-free cloth.

  9. Use a damp, well-wrung chamois to remove any excess water near the edges, which will absorb the moisture without leaving streaks.

Make Your Own Streak-Free Solution for Indoor Glass

When it comes to indoor windows, white vinegar is the best, according to Crunchy Betty. That's why it's the main ingredient of this streakless indoor window recipe.

  1. Remove any curtains or blinds in your way.

  2. In a large spray bottle, combine ¼ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 tablespoon of corn starch, and 2 cups of hot water.

  3. Shake vigorously until the corn starch is dissolved.

  4. Hold the bottle 6 to 8 inches away from the window's surface.

  5. Starting at the top, spray an even coat of cleaner over the entire surface.

  6. Wipe the solution away with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Tip: Remember to shake the mixture before each use, so it doesn't clog the sprayer. Use a sharpie to label your bottle as "Glass Cleaner - Shake Well."

Tips and Tricks for How to Clean Windows Without Streaks

If those recipes don't quite work out for you, or you need another method for cleaning your windows, there are many of them out there. Try these tips and tricks to clear sparkling windows.

Microfiber Cloth

When using microfiber cleaning cloths, either dip the cloth in the solution and wring it out or spray the glass surface. Begin to wipe in a circular motion and as the spots disappear, follow-up with vertical strokes and finish with horizontal strokes (or vice versa). Use your fingertips/fingernails for extra scrubbing power or scrunch up the cloth on stubborn spots.

Vary the Squeegee Strokes

Finish one side of the window with horizontal strokes and the other side with vertical strokes so if streaks appear, you know which side they are on.

Baking Soda and Lemon Juice for Tough Window Stains

Lemon juice and baking soda (mixed with water to form a paste) effectively remove spots from windows or mirrors. Allow the baking soda paste to sit a few minutes on stubborn stains like toothpaste or hold a cloth soaked in cleaning solution against the spot to loosen its hold.

Use Shaving Cream to Prevent Glass Fog

Shaving cream removes soap scum from glass shower doors, cleans cloudy mirrors, and will prevent foggy windows and mirrors in the bathroom after hot showers. Apply the cream with your fingertips and smear it all over the surface. Remove it with a clean, dry cloth and reapply every 2-3 weeks.

Use Newspaper or Coffee Filter to Wipe Glass Cleaner

If you prefer using a newspaper or a coffee filter, apply the solution with a spray bottle. Wipe the solution away using horizontal or vertical strokes for a streak-free finish.

Clean Windows on Overcast Day

Clean your windows on an overcast day or when the sun isn't shining directly on the window. The sun dries the cleaning solution before you can remove it, leaving behind streaks and marks.

Things to Avoid When Cleaning Windows

Cleaning your windows correctly is important. Not only do you want them to have a streakless shine, but you don't want to damage them. Therefore window professionals offer a few window cleaning hazards you can avoid.

  • Never use abrasives on the windows. You might create a scratch and then need to use a glass scratch remover.

  • Avoid using paper towels as they leave bits of lint and paper remnants.

  • Take special care when cleaning stained glass. Dust the surface frequently and use only filtered or distilled water to avoid discoloring the glass.

Seeing Clearly Now

Learning a quicker and easier method for cleaning your windows with streak-free results is likely to encourage more frequent cleanings. The more often you clean your windows, the easier they are to clean; clearly a win-win solution! Next, you can take a look at cleaning those window tracks.

How to Clean Windows Without Streaks, According to Experts