A while back a good friend of mine who owns a small window cleaning business lost his only employee and asked me if I would help him out for a few days. I really didn’t stick with it long enough to be really good at it, but he did give me his window cleaning tips, the tools he uses and what window cleaning solutions to mix for the best results. Window cleaning like a pro is probably not what you think it is (forget the blue stuff). The following window cleaning tips will get you started on the right foot and have you washing windows like a pro in no time.
All you need, really is a squeegee that fits the bulk of your window sizes. The best tips often come in the form of tool lists. A 12″ squeegee works for most homes but they come in a variety of sizes. You’ll also need something to scrub the window with. I use a lamb’s wool wand that can be attached to a standard extension pole (like what a painter uses for his paint roller). You will also need a bucket to mix your solution in, some paper towels and an all-purpose spray bottle. Rougher paper towels work best because the very soft kind can leave more lint. A few extra tools might come in handy at times, but for the most part that really is all you need.
Window Cleaning Solution Recipes
Dish washing Liquid (Dawn or Lemon Fresh Joy)
White Vinegar (the cheap stuff)
TSP (Tri-Sodium Phosphate)
Recipe #1 (Best All-Round Window Cleaning Solution)
A few drops of dishwasher liquid and white vinegar added to a gallon of water. The dish soap makes the water “wetter” so it is easier to squeegee of before it dries. A few cap fulls of rubbing alcohol will help reduce streaking if you are working in the sun.
Recipe #2 (A Little Stronger Window Cleaner For Grease And Grime On Your Windows)
The same recipe as above only add some Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP). TSP will help to cut the grease and heavier grime buildup on windows and you’ll still get the benefit of the dish soap for making the water wetter.
Recipe #3 (Window Cleaning Solution And Tips For Extra Dirty Windows)
The same recipe as above, only increase the TSP content. Probably not a good idea to add too much more dish soap since you’ll want to keep the suds down.
So that’s it for the window cleaning solutions. It’s what professional window cleaners use and the exact amounts can vary so you’ll have to work out what works best for your windows. It’s not rocket science, and my friend never measured anything. When he gave me his window cleaning tips, he’d say “A squirt here and a pinch there always works for whatever window washing application we face…so just do it”.
Then he’d say “Okay, now go to work”. Haha!
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Professional Window Cleaning Tips
After you’ve made up your window washing solution, dunk your wand into the solution and use your free hand to squeeze out some of the solution. Use the wand to scrub the window until everything you want off the glass is dissolved. Then just squeegee the water off. You can use a paper towel dampened by spraying the paper towel (not the window) with a vinegar and water solution to wipe off the squeegee between strokes. Keep the squeegee wet, because a dry squeegee will “bounce” and leave marks.
Your damp paper towel can be used for the corners (roll up the damp paper towel to make it like a small “ball” for the corners and twist it into the corners for the best corners). Use a new damp paper towel or the same dampened paper towel (if it’s still clean enough to use) for any leftover squeegee marks as well as wiping off the sill once your done. This is really a fine tuning of your window cleaning tips, but really getting into the corners makes a pretty big difference.
General Window Cleaning Tips:
- Crumpled up newspapers are often used for cleaning windows for a couple of reasons. First, newsprint ink once contained ammonia and second, the paper is pretty much lint free. It still works pretty good for the lint-free effect, but printing ink no longer contains ammonia. If you’re pretty much sold on using newsprint, use week-old newspapers so the ink is very dry and don’t use pages with colored ink. That should keep your hands from getting ink on them.
- Razor blades for hard deposits may work, but you may end up with scratches on your glass. If nothing else works and you feel you need to scrape the glass with a razor blade, make sure it is a brand new blade. Nicks in the blade spell disaster. A heads up about old razor blade use is a window cleaning tip worth remembering before you scratch your glass.
- Never use a solution with vinegar in it for mirrors! The vinegar will eventually turn the edges black from the acidity in it. The best solution for mirrors is a simple dish washing soap and water mixture.
Good luck and let me know what you use and how well these professional window cleaning tips worked for you!