Advice about window cleaning seems to come from every direction, and everyone has a different opinion.

“Use a circular motion. Use a straight motion.”

“Use a squeegee. Use a microfiber cloth.”

“Use vinegar and water … but use it sparingly.”

Sheesh! Who do you listen to? It seems no matter which option you use, your windows never seem clean enough. Even in the summer, it can be a challenge, but window cleaning during Michigan’s winters is downright exhausting. Not only do you have basic dirt and dust, but you also have snow, ice, and salt to contend with. Making it even worse, cleaning solutions can easily freeze on windows if you’re cleaning the outside.

We know how you feel. We’ve tried it all. After eliminating what works and what doesn’t, we’ve just about gotten window cleaning down to an art.


What You Should Do

1. Clean the windows regularly. We would recommend at least once a month.

2. Complete a more thorough cleaning once every six months. If you’re the manager of an office building, hire a professional window cleaning company to come out at least twice a year.

3. As you’re cleaning your windows, start at the top and work your way down. That way, if cleaning sprays and water drip down, there’s no harm done.

4. Clean the frames around the windows.

5. Spend some extra time to thoroughly clean the sills and thresholds of sliding patio doors, as those areas can accumulate a lot of dust, particles, and the occasional bug or insect that got trapped and couldn’t find its way to safety.

6. Start with using a dry, microfiber cloth to gently remove surface dirt before spraying the window. This will help you avoid a muddy mess.

7. After spraying the window with your cleaning product, wipe and dry the window with a microfiber cloth. While some people like circular motions and others like straight motions, we like to use the Z motion when cleaning windows.

8. If you do use a squeegee, make sure you use plenty of water and natural soap. Hold the squeegee firmly against the window. Start at the top, push the water down in a makeshift column, take the squeegee off the window, dry the excess water off the blade quickly, and place the squeegee back up at the top to clean the next column. Do not move the squeegee up and down while holding it against the window. Alternatively, you can use a crescent-shaped motion with a short stroke, which some people believe is more effective at preventing streaks.

9. Go over every window pane twice, maybe even three times … once or twice to get it clean and a final time to make it sparkle.


A crescent-shaped motion is used to clean a window with a squeegee.
Using a crescent-shaped motion with short strokes when cleaning windows with a squeegee may help prevent streaks.


What You Should Not Do

  • Do not use harsh chemicals, as they can leave streaks on your windows. Harsh chemicals can also irritate your skin and eyes. Bob Vila recommends simply mixing one part white vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle.
  • Do not wait too long between window cleanings. If you do, the task will be more of a challenge when you do get around to it. On top of that, waiting too long between cleanings means more allergens in your home, not to mention an unattractive appearance.
  • Do not clean the outside of your windows on an especially sunny or an especially cold day, as this could cause the cleaning solution to dry or freeze before you have time to dry it. If the sun dries the solution before you have time to wipe it away, you’ll get the dreaded streaks.


Bonus Tips and Tricks for Window Cleaning During Michigan’s Winters

  • If you have to clean your windows in freezing temperatures, consider using windshield washer fluid diluted with water. A solution made of rubbing alcohol, water, and just a touch of natural dishwashing liquid is an option as well.
  • Dress warm to keep your body warm, and be sure to wear gloves when cleaning windows in the winter.
  • Only use cold or room temperature water on your windows when it’s cold outside to prevent cracking or breaking. It’s not common for this to happen, but it’s possible.


For additional window cleaning and maintenance tips, send DeYonker Window & Door a message through our website or visit our door and window showroom on Auburn Road in Rochester.