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Cleaning your windows can be a big undertaking, but the payoff is huge. Having bright, streak-free, clean windows enhances the beauty of your home’s exterior and lets more sunlight in. Many people clean their windows twice a year. Follow these tips for keeping your windows clean year-round.
Avoid Cleaning on a Sunny Day
You should always avoid washing windows in direct sunlight. Dried glass is more prone to streaking. Cloudy days or evenings are great for this job. For the best results, consider using a “pro” window washing tool like a squeegee with a soft, rubber edge.
 
Make a cleaning solution from just a small amount of dish soap and water (you don’t want a lot of suds). Start in the upper-left corner of the window and work your way down. After each pass, wipe the squeegee clean with a soft, lint-free or microfiber cloth. (Cloth diapers or linen napkins work great for this). If you have extra grime, you can use glass cleaner or make your own solution from a few drops of dish soap, a half-cup of white vinegar and three cups of distilled water. Mix and spray the solution onto windows then squeegee as stated above.
 
To catch missed spots, use vertical strokes on the inside of the windows and horizontal strokes on the outside.
Clean the Blinds and Screens
Keeping your blinds clean helps prevent dust and dirt from transferring to your freshly-cleaned windows. You can use a Swifter brush, dusting attachment from your vacuum or just a clean, soft cloth. Don’t forget to do both sides of the blinds, as the side that faces the window is what will transfer dirt from the blinds to the panes.
You can also wash the shades by removing them and dunking them in a bathtub containing water and dish soap. Rinse them in clean water or use the shower head to spray them off.
 
If you have screens on your windows, you also need to clean these with a damp cloth. If you don’t remove the dirt from the screens, its will also transfer to your windows, especially after it rains.
Clean Tracks, Sills, and Frames
For thorough cleaning, window tracks, sills and frames need to be cleaned along with window panes. You can simply run a damp, clean cloth along patio slider tracks and window sills from one side to the other. Window tracks may collect debris, so you can sweep this away with an old paintbrush or toothbrush for more intricate nooks and crannies. Squirt dish soap onto a wet cloth and wipe interior and exterior window frames and slider frames to clean them.
Ways to Keep Dirt at Bay
So, you’ve cleaned the windows. What can you do to keep dirt from building up quickly? Here are a few tips:
Clean your HVAC air ducts and chance the furnace filter regularly. This cuts down on the dust, dander and pollen that floats around your home (and onto your windows).
 
Don’t burn candles near windows. The smoke can leave a residue on them.
 
Run the exhaust fan in your kitchen so grease and oils don’t splatter around your home and onto the windows.
Consider not using screens. If you don’t open certain windows much, or maybe not at all, consider not using screens with those, as screens essentially trap water, dirt and debris after it rains and make your windows get dirtier faster.
 
By Lori Melton
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