How To Clean Windows Without Streaks: My Foolproof Method & DIY Window Cleaner

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By Candida

We live in East Tennessee, which boasts views of the Smoky Mountains almost anywhere you go.

We are very blessed to have a gorgeous, pastoral view along with seasonal partial views of the mountains from our home. It’s like having a ginormous, living, moving, canvas which is ever-changing — depending on how the light illuminates it, and the season.

To make the most of this stunning view, we replaced the existing cloudy, glass panel wood doors with a glass sliding door when we first moved in.

It was one of the best improvements we did on the house.

The view out our back door... it's worth keeping the windows clean!

Before... cloudy glass doors  After... beautiful glass sliding doors.

Although I do love looking at our gorgeous backdrop, I really despise looking through filthy glass.

Unfortunately, even if I was to clean the sliding glass every day, there will always be a dog sticking their nose on it, a cat scratching their dirty paws on it, or my son touching it with his sticky hands — all right behind me as I’m cleaning.

I'm constantly removing dog nose print, cat paw prints, and my son's hand prints from our glass sliding doors

So, for those tiny few moments of having the utmost clarity of the glass, this is the fastest way I can clean the windows without streaks or chemicals…

 

How To Clean Windows Without Streaks

The Supplies

Here’s a list of the supplies I use to clean windows without streaks using a homemade window cleaner with vinegar. Most of these items are from the Dollar Store:

#1 – Small bucket (I use a kids’ sand pail)
For this DIY window cleaner, you just need a small bucket or pail

#2 – Cleaning vinegar
My homemade window cleaner with vinegar only uses 1/2 cup of vinegar.

#3 – Warm/hot water
This DIY window cleaner uses 5 cups of hot water.

#4 – 3 clean microfiber terry cloths (I mark them each with a Sharpie, described below)The best way to clean windows is to use 3 separate cloths during the process. I'll show you how.  I mark each microfiber cloth with a Sharpie - so each one is only used for a very specific purpose.

 

The Steps

These are the steps I use to get sparkling clarity on my windows:

  1. Pour 5 cups of warm/hot water into the bucket.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar into the water and mix.
  3. With the first microfiber cloth, the “wash cloth”, dunk it in the hot water, wring it out, then wipe the entire glass — scrubbing any gunk and removing excess dirt. (I wipe the frame of the glass, too.)
    With the first microfiber cloth (the "wash cloth"), dunk it in the hot water, wring it out, then wipe the entire glass.
  4. With the second microfiber cloth, the “drying towel”, wipe dry only the top half of the glass — because it’s easier to work in smaller sections.
    With the second microfiber cloth (the "drying towel"), wipe dry only the top half of the glass.  It's easier to work in small sections like this when you're trying to clean windows without streaks.
  5. Next, wring out the “wash cloth” and re-wipe the bottom half of the glass to re-wet any spots which may have dried already.
  6. Then use the “drying towel” and finish drying the bottom half of the glass.
  7. Once the window pane is dry, use the third microfiber cloth, the “polishing cloth” to go over the entire freshly cleaned glass. It is this third step that virtually eliminates any streaks.
    Once the window is dry, use the third microfiber cloth (the "polishing cloth") to go over the entire freshly cleaned glass to remove any streaks.

TIPS:

  • If you’re doing a lot of windows, it’s important to get fresh water once it cools or gets dirty.
  • Replace the drying cloth once it is no longer drying the windows as fast.
  • It helps to have a replacement polishing cloth too — in case it starts retaining moisture.
  • Keep these cloths separate from your other microfiber cloths and use these for window cleaning only — so they do not get contaminated with other cleaners, dust, dirt, etc.
  • Repeat the same steps above for the inside of your windows as well.
  • I use this same technique on mirrors too!

Repeat the same steps for the inside of your windows.  First, use the wash cloth, then use the drying towel, and finally use the polishing cloth.

I’ve tried cleaning my windows with various other methods only to be disappointed and discover streaks after all of my hard work (…and usually after everything has been put away).

This homemade window cleaner with vinegar really works!

This homemade window cleaner with vinegar really works!

Oh how I love my clean, sparkly picture window, even if it only lasts for a couple of minutes.

Happy window cleaning!