How to clean windows without streaks

Our foolproof 5-step guide on how to clean windows inside and out leaving nothing but streak-free shine

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Learning how to clean windows is all about nailing that covetable streak-free finish so we’ve taken a deep-dive into lesser-known window cleaning hacks alongside five-steps to traditional, affordable, and sustainable methods (hello, vinegar).

Armed with our top tips and handy equipment list, your streak-free panes will rival those cleaned by a professional with the added bonus of not having given your hard-earned cash to someone else to do the task for you.

But, 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, our step-by-step guide on how to clean windows without streak and the supplies you'll need has you covered.

How to clean windows in five easy steps

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. 

What you’ll need

How to clean windows without streaks

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, the heat from direct sunlight often dries the windows too quickly, which is a major cause of streaks. We've got more info on why you should never clean window panes when the sun shows its face.

Step 2:  Remove blinds and curtains 

Once you've chosen the right weather to clean your windows, the next step is to remove curtains, blinds, or any other window treatment. After they've been taken down, you can use a vacuum cleaner, handheld vac, 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 clean your windows with vinegar (our favorite window-cleaning hack), simply add two tablespoons of it to a small bucket of warm water. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to avoid irritation. Yes, vinegar has a pH level of 2-3 which means it's super acidic.

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 homemade window cleaning solution on any windows that have matte paint or undercoated-only frames as the vinegar in it might cause 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 a cloth or towel to wipe off excess water and catch any drips. After squeegeeing, allow your windows to dry.  Alternatively, you could invest in an automatic window vacuum, like a Karcher (available on Amazon). That's it — clean windows made easy!

A recap of our favorite window-cleaning essentials


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 watermarks."

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 (like Windex on Amazon), and dish soap (i.e.: Dawn Platinum also on Amazon) mixed with vinegar can also work just as well. 

Our experts

Ray Brosnan is managing director at Brosnan Property Solutions
Ray Brosnan

Ray Brosnan is managing director at Brosnan Property Solutions, a home and commercial cleaning and maintenance company in Ireland.

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Christina Chrysostomou
Acting head ecommerce editor

Hi, I'm the acting head ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a first class degree from Keele University, and a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket. I'm the in-house appliances expert and have gone through the internal customer advisor accreditation process.

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