10 Tips for Cleaning Apartment Windows

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Home Improvement

Cleaning windows can be a tedious task, but following the right methods can make it easier and yield better results. Crystal-clear windows can make us happy, and they rank fifth on the list of top five surfaces that people are most satisfied with when they are clean, according to surveys. If you live in an apartment and don’t have a window-cleaning service, these tips can help you get the job done.

10: Start with Vacuuming

Just like prepping a space before a painting job, a little prep before washing your windows can save you time and effort. Start by vacuuming or sweeping all around the windows, including the corners, screens, and windowsills. This will help keep dust and debris from streaking or scratching the glass as you clean. Use a cotton swab moistened with white vinegar to clean grime in corners. If your windows have blinds or drapes, take them down before cleaning and give them a good vacuuming too.

9: Avoid Cleaning on Sunny Days

Cleaning windows on a sunny day is counterproductive as the heat of the sunlight contributes to streaking. It’s best to choose a more gloomy day or a day that’s around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to tackle this task.

8: Use a Squeegee

A squeegee is one of the best tools for window cleaning, and it’s what the pros use. Properly using a squeegee won’t make a big mess and can yield great results.

To clean your windows effectively, it’s important to choose the appropriate size tool for the job. A 10- to 12-inch squeegee is ideal for most windows, while custom-fit squeegees should be used for skinny or muntin windows. Additionally, attach an extension pole to your squeegee for higher windows. While you probably won’t need to clean your windows frequently, you can still use your squeegee to clean a glass shower door. Instead of buying a special glass cleaner, you can make your own by using a few drops of liquid dish soap in warm water, or a one-to-one ratio of vinegar and water. Be sure to use the proper washing technique, starting with a scrubber and soapy water, and finishing with a squeegee to remove any remaining water droplets.

5: Use a Squeegee Indoors

Squeegees can be used for cleaning the inside of windows as well as the outside. When using a squeegee indoors, it’s important to avoid puddles and drips by using a wipe-as-you-clean method and keeping the window cleaning solution away from any woodwork. Use a small amount of water and keep the squeegee blade from becoming too wet by wiping or shaking excess water off the blade and resting it on a dry surface. Clean with new blades for best results and wipe up any drips as they may occur.

4: Dry with a Soft Cloth

Paper towels can leave unwanted lint behind on windows, so it’s best to avoid using them to dry newly-cleaned window glass. Microfiber cloths, soft and often-washed T-shirts, clean cloth diapers, chamois, crumpled black-and-white newspaper, or clean paper coffee filters are all good options for drying and buffing windows to a streak-free finish. Don’t forget to wipe the window frame with a dry cloth to catch any droplets or soapy residue that may have been left behind.

3: Polish with Paste

Toothpaste that contains baking soda or any non-gel toothpaste can be used to buff out minor window scratches. Apply a small amount of paste to a soft cloth and gently rub the scratch for about 30 seconds in a circular motion. Then wipe the area clean with a damp cloth and dry it with a lint-free cloth. Baking soda can also be used as an alternative to toothpaste. Buffing is also effective for removing tough stains that may have accumulated over time.

2: Remove Labels, Stickers, and Decals from Glass

Removing stickers and labels from windows without leaving a trace of glue residue is possible with isopropyl alcohol. Apply a small amount of alcohol to a cloth and rub the sticker or label until it comes off. Nail polish remover can also be used as an alternative.

To remove a sticker from glass, you can use isopropyl alcohol, lemon juice, or nail polish remover with acetone. Soak a soft cloth with the chosen substance and gently rub the sticker until it begins to lift and the glue dissolves. Wait a few minutes before peeling off the label for best results, and avoid cleaning in direct sunlight. Homemade glass cleaners made from distilled white vinegar or lemon juice mixed with warm water can be used to leave windows streak-free and break down any residue or grease. You can also use the cleaner to make your own glass cleaning wipes by combining white vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, and water over paper towels in a zip-top bag. Removing adhesive from glass can also be helpful for cleaning kitchen tools and pots.

Other Relevant Articles

  • 10 Essential Things to Check During Apartment Inspections
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Apartment Leases
  • Effective Ways to Insulate Your Windows
  • Simple Steps to Repairing Your Windows

Useful Links

  • American Cleaning Institute
  • This Old House: Cleaning
  • CNN — “How to clean your home in 19 minutes.”
  • Health.com — “How to Clean Everything Better.”


  • Andriani, Lynn. “There’s a Wrong Way to Dust? And 5 Other Cleaning Mistakes.” Oprah. Jan. 30, 2012. (June 14, 2013) http://www.oprah.com/home/House-Cleaning-Tips-and-Ideas
  • Apartment Therapy. “Quick Tip: Clean Scratched Glass with Toothpaste.” Feb. 17, 2011. (June 14, 2013) http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/quick-tip-clean-scratched-glas-139567
  • Better Homes and Gardens. “How to Wash Windows.” (June 14, 2013) http://www.bhg.com/homekeeping/house-cleaning/surface/how-to-wash-windows/
  • D’Agnese, Joe. “How to Clean Windows Like a Pro.” This Old House. (June 14, 20130 http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20364019,00.html
  • Forte, Carolyn. “Quick Window-Cleaning Tips.” Good Housekeeping. (June 14, 2013) http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning-organizing/quick-window-cleaning-tips
  • GlassesCrafter. “How to Remove Scratches on Eye Glasses.” (June 14, 2013) http://glassescrafter.com/information/remove-scratches-on-eyeglasses.html
  • LiveWell Network. “Glass Cleaner Wipes.” (June 14, 2013) http://livewellnetwork.com/Deals/recipes/Glass-Cleaner-Wipes/8707431
  • Marvin. “Glass Cleaning.” (June 14, 2013) http://www.marvin.com/cleaning_glass/
  • Palomo, Eulalia. “Natural Homemade Streak-Free Window Cleaners.” National Geographic — Green Living. (June 14, 2013) http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/natural-homemade-streakfree-window-cleaners-2457.html
  • Perratore, Ed. “Tip of the Day: How to Clean Windows.” Consumer Reports. July 31, 2007. (June 14, 2013) http://news.consumerreports.org/home/2007/07/tip-of-the-da-1.html
  • Sansoni, Brian. “Happiness is … Shiny Floors and Tidy Toilets?” American Cleaning Institute. May 14, 2008. (June 14, 2013) http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/happiness_is_shiny_floors_and_tidy_toilets/
  • Sansoni, Brian. “Spring Cleaning Survey Reveals Consumers ‘Dirty’ Little Secrets.” American Cleaning Institute. March 20, 2013. (June 13, 2013) http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/spring_cleaning_survey_reveals_consumers_dirty_little_secrets/
  • Sansoni, Brian. “Windows, Blinds, Curtains and Carpets: Top Targets for Spring Cleaners.” American Cleaning Institute. March 14, 2012. (June 14, 2013) http://www.cleaninginstitute.org/2012_spring_cleaning_survey/
  • The Family Handyman. “How to Clean Glass Windows and Doors.” (June 14, 2013) http://www.familyhandyman.com/windows/how-to-clean-glass-windows-and-doors/view-all
  • The Family Handyman. “How to Wash Windows.” (June 14, 2013) http://www.familyhandyman.com/windows/how-to-wash-windows/view-all
  • The Martha Stewart Show. “Washing Windows.” (June 14, 2013) http://www.marthastewart.com/265525/washing-windows


1. How often should I clean my windows?

It is recommended to clean your windows at least twice a year. However, if you live in an area with heavy pollution or near the ocean, you may need to clean your windows more frequently.

2. What supplies do I need to clean my windows?

You will need a bucket, squeegee, microfiber cloth, window cleaning solution, and a ladder if necessary. You can also use a homemade solution of vinegar and water.

3. Can I clean my windows on a cloudy day?

Yes, it is actually better to clean your windows on a cloudy day as the sun can cause the cleaning solution to dry too quickly and leave streaks.

4. How do I avoid streaks when cleaning my windows?

Make sure to use a squeegee and wipe away excess water with a clean microfiber cloth. Also, avoid cleaning your windows in direct sunlight.

5. How do I clean hard-to-reach windows?

You can use a ladder or extension pole to reach high windows. If you are unable to clean them yourself, consider hiring a professional window cleaning service.

6. Can I use newspaper to clean my windows?

No, it is not recommended to use newspaper as it can leave ink residue on your windows. Use a microfiber cloth instead.

7. Should I clean the window frames and tracks?

Yes, it is important to clean the frames and tracks as they can accumulate dirt and debris.

8. How do I remove stickers or adhesive residue from my windows?

You can use rubbing alcohol or a mixture of baking soda and water to remove stickers or adhesive residue. Apply the solution to the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.

9. Can I use a pressure washer to clean my windows?

No, it is not recommended to use a pressure washer as it can damage your windows and surrounding areas. Stick to using a squeegee and cleaning solution.

10. How can I prevent my windows from getting dirty too quickly?

Clean your windows regularly and consider installing window screens to prevent dust and debris from accumulating on your windows. You can also use a rain repellent solution to keep your windows cleaner for longer.

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