How to clean windows inside and out — with no streaks whatsoever

Streak-free glass? Yes, please!

A person using a microfiber cloth to clean a window.
(Image credit: Getty)

Learning how to clean windows is all about that covetable streak-free finish. We all want windows that are so clean that they're completely transparent. If you still see grime or streaks, it may be time to turn to expert advice and investigate lesser-known window-cleaning hacks alongside traditional methods (hello, vinegar). 

Even the best window cleaning products won't work if you're using the wrong tools or haven't nailed the technique. Don't worry, though. As soon as you get the hang of it, you could probably do it with your eyes closed.

Armed with our top tips and all the necessary supplies, your panes will rival those cleaned by a professional. Here's your guide on how to clean windows.

Good to know

Time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Helpful hints: When washing windows avoid direct sunlight as the heat can cause the water to dry into spots or streaks. It’s also a good idea to wipe down the frames and window sills before you start so they’re clean too. 

Here’s what you’ll need

How to clean windows inside and out

Step 1: Pick the right day for streak-free clean windows

Is it a sunny day? Hold off washing windows until it's cloudy out. While it might be easier to see smears on a sunny day, direct sunlight often dries the windows too quickly, which is a major cause of streaks.

Step 2:  Remove blinds and curtains 

Once you've chosen the right weather to clean your windows, the next step is to remove curtains or blinds. After they've been taken down, you can use a vacuum cleaner or a duster to remove cobwebs and dirt from around the edges of the window frame. 

Step 3: Fill a bucket with warm water and add your cleaning solution 

Get your cleaning solution filled up and ready to go. To make your own vinegar-based window cleaning solution, simply add two tablespoons of it to a small bucket of warm water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid irritation.

Step 4: Begin cleaning the windows

If dirt is hanging on for dear life and won't come off, add the vinegar solution in a spray bottle and apply it to the panes, then leave it for a few minutes before tackling the grime with your sponge.

WARNING: Do not use a vinegar solution on any windows that have matte paint or undercoated-only frames as it might lead to staining.

Step 5: Squeegee and let them dry

Once the solution has been sponged on, grab your squeegee and microfiber cleaning cloth and begin wiping down each pane. Use the cloth or towel to wipe off excess water and catch any drips. After squeegeeing, allow your windows to dry. That's it — clean windows made easy!


How do you clean windows without streaks?

Still struggling to find out how to clean windows without streaks? You may have to rethink what you're using to clean your windows rather than the cleaning solutions you're using. "If you want your windows to be appropriately cleaned, we highly recommend you invest in a professional cleaning tool," says Alicia Johnson, the owner of West Covina-based Cleaning Green LLC. "Nowadays, you can get your hands on a window vacuum that cleans your window spotless and leaves ZERO streaks behind. There are even magnetic window cleaners available in the market!"

That's definitely food for thought. A robot window vacuum cleaner from Amazon will cost you around $150. It's not cheap but it's game-changing.

How do you clean windows from the outside?

If you like buying specialist window-cleaning sprays, save these for cleaning windows from the inside. If you want to know how to clean a window from outside, Ray Brosnan of Brosnan Property Solutions, says don't bother with "fancy chemicals or detergents." He notes that all you really need is a good squeegee, dishwashing soap, and warm water. 

When It comes to the technique, Brosnan recommends "the S-Shape method," which entails covering the whole pane in an S motion, making "sure to not take the blade of your squeegee when cleaning the glass or you’ll be left with water marks."

What is the best thing to clean windows with?

There are lots of options for choosing what to clean your windows with, so knowing what option to choose for your windows can be tricky. You can’t go wrong with distilled white vinegar, however pre-made solutions, and dish soap mixed with vinegar can also work just as well. 

Beth Mahoney
Staff Writer

Hi! I’m Beth, and I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy. I’m forever searching for items that will add style to my rather sterile, rented newbuild townhouse. I am forever searching for eye-catching and on-trend pieces of decor that will add personality without damaging the paintwork. When I’m not writing and researching trends and news pieces, you’ll usually find me camped out at my favorite coffee house with my Kindle, testing out new beauty products to blog about, restoring old furniture, or going on Instagrammable beach walks with my dog and fiancé.