The Dos and Don’ts of Window Cleaning

Last update: 4 months ago

The do's and don'ts of cleaning your windows

With the spring knocking on our doors, it’s time to think about cleaning our windows. Usually, we recommend window cleaning twice a year but to be fair, the best time to clean your windows is in the spring. You don’t want the bright summer sun to show all the imperfections of your windows, right?

Due to the huge interest in our Guide to Streak Free Window Cleaning, we decided to do this follow up with the most important things you need to know about cleaning your windows.

DOs and DON’Ts of window cleaning

Window cleaning has its tricks. In fact, achieving a streakless cleaning from the first try is hard.

Just like with any other type of surface cleaning, knowing how to clean windows correctly can save you a ton of time. Here’s what to (and not to) do!


  • Wipe excess water with a soft microfiber cloth.
  • Wash the window in sections. Soap, rinse and dry one section at a time. If you put soap on all windows at once it will dry up until you get to the last section.
  • Use a stable ladder and apply ladder pads to avoid scratching the windows if you’re cleaning windows that are too high.
  • Even if you think you’ve cleaned the window perfectly step back and look from a different angle. You may see some streaks and smudges left.
  • Wash your windows in the spring. That’s the best time for window cleaning. Don’t wait for the hot summer days. It’s harder to wash windows in a hot day as the water evaporates much faster and you’re left with a lot of streaks on your window.
  • Dust the blinds and clean the sunscreens before you start cleaning the windows. Otherwise, your windows will become dirty again.
Fantastic Tip: Use mineral-free distilled water. Tap water contains hard minerals, which may leave behind streaky deposits.


  • Don’t always use a scraper. A scraper is required only when the windows have persistent marks and stains such as sticker residue.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaning detergents. Abrasive cleaning detergents or tools with abrasive surfaces must not be used for window cleaning, as they may scratch the glass. If your window turns out scratched it’s hard and expensive to re-polish the glass and sometimes it requires complete change.
  • Don’t use a newspaper instead of a microfiber cloth. One of the biggest mistakes when cleaning a window is drying the glass with newspaper. They contain chemicals, which may damage the window and often you can find ink smudges on the glass.
  • Don’t use a towel. The towel leaves particles behind, which will make your window look dirty.
  • Don’t use too much soap. The residue will attract dust and pretty soon your windows will look dirty again.
  • Don’t clean your windows in hot, sunny days. The sun will dry the window very quickly and you’ll end up with marks before you get to rinsing the window. The perfect time for cleaning your windows is early in the morning, or at dawn.

FAQ on window cleaning (…or all the answers you need)

Is special equipment needed for window cleaning?

The trade of window cleaning is about 99% labour and 1% equipment. It is amazing, though, that this 1% you’ve spent on the right window cleaning tools can reduce the amount of time it takes you to clean a window dramatically.

While most of the equipment for cleaning windows can be easily found in the stores, we suggest you invest in cleaning detergents, as they will do the most of the cleaning.

What’s wrong with spray bottles and rags?

Just because a spray bottle and a rag is the widest spread method of cleaning windows it doesn’t mean it’s the best.

When moisture gets left on a piece of glass some of it is absorbed into the surface. Under a microscope, you can see that the glass is not smooth. It has many jagged edges and all these edges have reflective qualities.

As you start to dry one side of the glass the rag slowly gets wetter and wetter and so each area of glass actually gets left with a different amount of chemical, minerals and moisture on it.

Sometimes this may not be visible in low-light areas. However, on glass in direct sunlight where the light being reflected is very bright, it will show all smears and streaks on the window.

It’s simply impossible to have a uniform reflection on a window in direct sunlight using spray bottles and rags.

Instead, use a squeegee that has a very sharp soft rubber edge that absorbs nothing. When used correctly it squeegees the water evenly off the glass, leaving a perfectly uniform reflection.

Why it’s important to use the right window cleaning solution?

Most window cleaners use some type of dishwashing liquid. You normally want one that cuts through grease and grime and is fairly slippery. The only problem with cleaning solutions that contain dishwashing liquid is that they can be a bit sudsy and we don’t want foam in our solution.

The window cleaning solutions must break down the dirt and grime. Its goal is to help the squeegee glide without any leftover residue.

The right products cuts through grease and grime, helps the squeegee glide and has very little foaming. Just a small squirt in a large bucket is enough.

Which is the correct window washing machine?

The right window washing tool depends on the purpose. There are many different types of commercial window washers.

Some are better to be used outside. Others are more suitable for inside washing as they don’t let drips. Other types are great when you need to scrub the glass without scratching it.

Choose one according to your needs or simply use a sponge.

How wet should the window be?

It’s best to spray the window thoroughly, but be careful not to soak it. If you’ve scraped the window beforehand, it is important to make sure it’s still wet enough when you go to use your squeegee.

If the window has started to dry you will end up with a non-uniform reflectivity and a lot of smears.

How to scrape a window?

If you need to remove things like sticky tape, stickers, paint, silicone or cement, then you’ll need to use a scraper.

When using a scraper always wash the glass first and only use the scraper on wet glass.

Window scraping should only be done in one direction. Invest in brand new scrapers. The sharp edges will save you a lot of time, and prevent scratches on the window.

Is a bucket necessary?

No, but it will make the job easier. You can use any type of container that will hold enough water.

Sponge or brush?

We recommend using a sponge since the bristles on the brush can scratch the surface of the window. It’s best to use a sponge to damp the glass with soapy water.

Why are there so many types of squeegees?

Squeegees can be found in different sizes, shapes and with different types of handles. We recommend the fixed type of squeegee.

Use an ordinary squeegee that has a rubber blade. Invest in a high-quality squeegee as they will last you a lifetime.

Fantastic Cleaners Australia logo

Window cleaning isn’t for everyone. Luckly we’ve covered the land down under and can send professional window cleaners right away!

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Paul Routledge
Paul Routledge
1 year ago

Great article. You did a great job condensing some of those key window cleaning “do’s and don’ts” into some actionable tips. Looking forward to reading more on your blog about some other aspects of cleaning.

1 year ago

I don’t know how many people told me to use a newspaper when cleaning windows, I was always arguing noway thank you for a bit of back up.

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