Inside & Out: Window Cleaning Tips

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It is that time of year again: time to ready the house for winter.  Over the weekend I set out to get one of the winter ready chores checked off my To-Do list.  I spent Saturday cleaning my windows inside and out so that all winter long I will be able to see clearly out each and every one of them.  I don’t spend too much time in the spring cleaning the windows since they get covered with screens, but in the fall they get a serious cleaning.


I could not live without the screens in the summer to let in the fresh air, but I get giddy – truly I do… when I take them off because not only does more light come into the house, but the house looks so much better sans screens.

Exterior house decorating tips

I wrote about this in a post called: What I Am Loving Now: Bare Windows.

In the fall, I remove the screens to store them for the winter. It always amazes me how much nicer not only the windows, but the exterior of the house looks when the screens come off.  The white trim looks bolder and the glass shines which adds contrast to the texture of the brick facade on the front of the house.

The first floor windows were pretty easy to clean when the shrubs around the house were small, but once they grew, I could no longer get a ladder up to them to clean the outside of each one. I ended up having to lower the top sash and hang out upside down to clean the outside of each.   A few years ago I found a much better way to do the hard-to-reach exterior side of the windows.

For the second floor windows: I use Windex Outdoor that I got at my local True Value hardware. You simply attach the bottle to your garden hose, move the nozzle to rinse, clean, and then rinse again to get the windows sparkly clean – no ladder or hanging upside down out the window needed.

For ground floor windows: I use a window cleaning tool and pad that comes with an Outdoor All-In-One Glass Cleaning kit.  One pad cleans up to 20 windows. Cleaning pad refills  can be purchased separately.

I could use just the Windex Outdoor for all the windows, but since I can reach some of the lower windows with the cleaning tool and pad that reaches to 11 feet, I feel I can really scrub them. Both products are safe to use around plants and leave no dulling residue – just shine.

Between these two products, I can get the exterior side of all the windows cleaned in under two hours.  There are always a few dead insects and dried leaves on the sills when I remove the screens.  To clean them, I fill a bucket with detergent and hot water and use a microfiber cloth to wipe the sills with the sudsy water so they are nice and clean, too.

Window Cleaning Tips: 

  • Only clean windows when they are in the shade or on a cloudy day.  When the sun is out, it dries the window and cleaner too fast and will leave streaks.
  • Remove all the window screens so that once you turn on the hose, you can move easily from window to window as you clean them without having to stop.
  • Do the upper floor windows first so no dripping water or suds get on a clean lower window.
  • Wear old clothes since your arms may get wet.
  • When rinsing with the hose, work from the top of each window down, then repeat.
  • Clean only when the temp is 50 or above.

How to Clean on Hard to Reach Windows


Attach garden hose to the bottle of cleaner.


Turn nozzle to “Rinse”.


  1. Hold bottle as high as you can and spray window to wet entire surface.
  2. Turn nozzle to “Clean”. Spray suds from bottom of window to top going back and forth and making sure to cover entire window surface. Wait 20 seconds – do not allow suds to dry.
  3. Turn nozzle back to “Rinse” and spray the window from the top to the bottom to remove suds. Repeat rinsing to ensure window is free of suds.

How to Clean Ground Floor Exterior Windows with an Outdoor All-In-One Cleaning Tool


Assemble cleaning tool and attach cleaning pad.


  1. Spray window with garden hose to wet the surface.
  2. Attach cleaning pad to the cleaning tool. Wet the cleaning pad with hose. Clean the window using the water on the window to activate the soap in the cleaning pad. It may take a few swipes to get it going. Once it does, you will see suds on the window. Throughly wipe/scrub the surface of the window in all directions.
  3. Rinse entire window immediately to remove all suds. Repeat rinsing to ensure no suds are left to dry on window.  The formula’s sheeting action rinses the windows to a streak-free shine, so there is no need to hand dry.
  4. All done.

Now that the windows on the back of my house are clean, I have to go around the side and front to clean the rest of the windows.  Then its back to good ole newspaper and vinegar and water to clean the inside of each window.  Once that is done, my windows will be sparkling, ready for winter, and will be smiling to greet all who pass.

Windows are the smile of a house

The quick and easy way to clean your home's windows. - it really works!


I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about the products I personally chose to write about and share my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

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  1. Hi Diane – Do you add anything to the vinegar for cleaning windows? Or is it just 100% vinegar?

    1. Hi Christy – Good question. I fill a spray bottle with a 50/50mix of white vinegar and water. For really dirty windows you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap to the mix.

  2. I’ve always been hesitant to use newspaper…but I think you’ve convinced me to give it a try! I’ve used Windex outdoor before, and been quite pleased with the results. Ladders scare me to death…so this product seemed like a good idea! ;)

  3. Looks great. I never knew about the outdoor glass cleaner with the handle. You really don’t have to use a squeegee?

    1. Hi Caroljane – I have been using the Windex kit for a few years now and have never used a squeegee. I am quite happy with the results. You do need to clean the windows only in the shade though-if you try to clean them when the sun is on them, they may end up looking streaky.

  4. Diane this has always confused me;
    When people say they use newspaper to clean their windows, doesn’t the newsprint get on the windows, and on your hands?
    I have used old sheets in the past.
    I like your idea of using the hose, spray, and cleaning tool for the outside.
    We have taken the whole window out and either cleaned it in the bathtub or outside.
    The process is long, gruelling, and backbreaking. I do the window and the screens, my husband is responsible for the sills. I would not be succeful doing them as I have a phobia of spiders. There are plenty of them.
    I am definitely going to try this, the time that I will save.
    Thank you soooooo much.

    1. Hi Marsha – I used to be confused by this too, but it works – no newsprint smudges. I like using it because it leaves no lint behind like paper towels do. I also like to find ways to reuse items – this is a perfect way to use up the piles of newspaper. Although this year, our pile is a lot smaller since we began reading the morning paper online. :-)