Revealed: The £1.99 cloth that cleans glass better than a window vacuum

We put window cleaners to the test to reveal which works best, and the results are surprising...

What is the best way to clean windows? We tested Marigold, E-Clloth and Karcher window cleaners to find out
(Image credit: Marigold, E-cloth, Karcher)

Keeping windows, mirrors and shower screens sparkling can be a bit of a pain. Whether it's water marks or greasy finger prints, they always seem to need cleaning. So, which cleaning product should you reach for to get your glass sparkling? As part of the Real Homes Show, our online TV show, we've put different cleaning methods to the test to see which is best value for money. Read on to see the results...

The contenders

  • Marigold Crystal Clear Window Cloth – a machine washable microfibre cloth that you wet and use to wipe the surface. RRP £1.99 on Marigold (above left)
  • E-cloth Cleaning Kit – contains a mircofibre cloths that you wet and use to wipe the surface, and a separate polishing cloth. RRP £6.94 on Amazon (above middle)
  •  Karcher WV5 Premium – a battery-powered window vacuum with two heads for cleaning different sized surfaces. RRP £68.07 on Amazon (above right)

The results

We wanted to know the quickest and most efficient way to clean mirrors, shower screens and windows, so we tested each cleaner to see how easy it was to use, how well it cleaned, and how easy it is to keep clean itself.

1. Ease of use

When you're in a hurry (and when are we not?), you don't want to be faffing around with loads of bottles, so we tested all three cleaners with plain old water. The E-cloth Window Cleaning Kit is the only one that promises not to need a window cleaning detergent, with the Marigold Crystal Clear Window Cloth and Karcher VW5 both designed to be used with either water or a spray-on detergent for more thorough cleaning. The easiest to use is definitely the Marigold Cloth – a single cloth that you dip in water and then use to wipe away marks. The E-cloth kit is a close second, but it does require polishing with a separate cloth. The Karcher window vacuum needs storing, charging (for 35 minutes' run time), and emptying, so it's definitely the most hassle of the three.

Winner = Marigold Crystal Clear Cloth

2. Effectiveness of cleaning

If you want to quickly whizz around the inside of your windows, then the Karcher is probably the quickest option. Spritz on water or window cleaner and vacuum away the residue. However, it only works on flat surfaces, so isn't any use for curved shower screens, and we found it left streaky marks. It also didn't cope well with greasy marks when used with water, so you'll need to invest in that window detergent. Both the E-cloth and Marigold cloth got our mirror sparkling with minimal effort – simply wet and wipe. The E-cloth is slightly more hassle as you have to use a separate polishing cloth, but we found this strangely satisfying!

Joint winners = Marigold Crystal Clear Cloth and E-cloth Window Cleaning Kit

3. Keeping it clean

 Surely somebody needs to design self-cleaning cleaning products soon? In the meantime, the E-cloth and Marigold cloths can simply be popped in a 60-degree wash, which makes them simple to keep clean. The E-cloth is the only cleaner we tested that claims to get rid of 99.9 per cent of germs without a detergent, so it could be worth considering if you like getting up close and personal with your windows or mirrors. The Karcher has to be emptied and rinsed between each use, and also needs charging. We also found finding somewhere to store it the most difficult. A cloth can be popped under the sink, but the window vacuum is quite bulky, so you'll need to factor in a dedicated home for it..

Joint winners = Marigold Crystal Clear Window Cloth and E-cloth Window Cleaning Kit

Which should you choose?

  • If you're short on time and money (and aren't we all at this time of year?), then go for the Marigold Crystal Clear Window Cloth. At £1.99 it's an absolute bargain and left our mirror sparkling with minimal effort.
  • If you want to banish germs and know your window cleaner will last, then go for the E-cloth Window Cleaning Kit. It's a great price when you consider it comes with a three-year guarantee.
  • If you love appliances and have lots of large, flat areas of glass to clean, then go for the Karcher VW5 Premium but make sure you also invest in a bottle of window cleaning spray for streak-free results.