Sep. 16, 2013 at 5:46 PM ET
Whether you’re a clean freak or not, those streaks, smudges and cloudy film fogging up your windows are enough to ruin even the prettiest view. Although getting clean windows may sound like a (tedious) all-day chore, it won’t take over your Saturday (we promise!) if you follow these easy-peasy window-washing steps. Now, let the sun shine through!
Prepare a bucket of warm water and squirt in a dime-size dollop of dishwashing liquid. Or, try one of these homemade cleaning alternatives to get the job done—they work just as well as soapsuds or any other industrial-strength cleaners.
Infuse two cups of warm water with ¼-cup of club soda, and a tablespoon of cornstarch.
Substitute the club soda with lemon juice, and mix with the two cups of warm water and a tablespoon of cornstarch.
Mix ¼-cup denatured alcohol with a quart of simple cleaner—the alcohol ensures the solution won’t freeze if you’re cleaning windows in low temperatures.
Whichever method you choose, clean windows on a cloudy day, because sunshine actually dries the glass too quickly and can cause streaks. (Who knew?!)
Submerge a handheld natural sponge (for multi-pane windows) or a strip applicator (for large windows) into the solution, and apply to the glass.
Don’t clean windows with paper towels—a linty cloth merely moves the dirt and debris around the glass and creates pesky streaks. Plus, that tired old method puts a static charge on the windows, attracting additional gunk more quickly. Instead, use a squeegee for a streak-free clean.
Move the squeegee from left to right, and then top to bottom on each pane. Use a bristle brush for loosening dirt in the corners and along edges.
Guide the squeegee from the top left downward, moving in a backwards “S” pattern, according to Handy Man Matters. Wipe the squeegee blade clean periodically to remove any residue.
Dry the window frame and windowsill with a rag to prevent erosion or paint removal.
Run one of these unusual materials over the glass for a crystal-clear, lint-free look.
Glide this super-absorbent, lint-free cloth over the glass to soak up any remaining wetness.
Crumple up a few sheets of newspaper and wipe. (Note: Wear rubber gloves to keep your hands clean.)
Run a filter along the glass for a pristine polish.
Once the inside windowpanes are complete, move outside and repeat the process. Don’t forget: Remove any screens, douse in a cleaning solution, rinse with water, and let dry before securing back to the exterior frame. You’ll have sparkling clean windows in now time!
Christine Petrozzo is a freelance writer living in San Francisco, Ca.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.