How to wash windows the old fashioned way | Anyclean

updated: 11/10/2023

A clean window in Central LondonWhen it came to window cleaning in London, your grandmother knew just what to do to make those glass panes sparkle and shine. She used a simple solution made from ingredients found in most kitchens and achieved results as good as or better than those we get today with commercial cleaners. And this solution is one hundred percent safe and friendly to the environment.

Materials needed for window washing:

White vinegar. I recommend that you buy at least a gallon. It’s a good all purpose cleaner and has a number of household uses besides cooking.

· Water

· Newspapers. You might want to save these up for a few days before starting your project. I would avoid using any pages with coloured ads.

· A bucket

· A squeegee if desired

· A ladder if needed

· A garden hose with sprayer attachment

· Rubber gloves if desired. The solution is not caustic to the skin but you will have your hands submerged in the cleaning solution for quite a long time.

Before starting to wash the windows, remove the screens for easy access to the surface to be cleaned. Use the hose and sprayer to wash them down and set them aside to dry.

1. Begin by mixing a solution in the bucket that is half vinegar and half water.Home window cleaning tips

2. Tear a newspaper into page sized sheets.

3. Crumple up a sheet of the newspaper and saturate it with the vinegar solution. Squeeze out the excess liquid.

4. Apply the solution to the window using a circular motion. Be sure to give extra attention to any especially dirty areas or any caked-on dirt. Discard the newspaper when it starts to fall apart and get another sheet. Repeat step 4.

5. Wipe the window dry with a clean sheet of dry newspaper. Be sure to wipe off what streaks you may see. Streaks are an indication that there is still dirt on the window, so you may wish to add a little more solution and dry the window again. Or, if you desire, use the squeegee to dry the window by running it across the glass horizontally in a straight and smooth motion. Be sure to wipe the squeegee dry after each pass over the glass for best results.

6. If you have windows that tilt inward for cleaning, now do the other side of the pane. For conventional windows, clean one side, then go outside to clean the other side. You might want to tackle all the windows inside first and then do all the outside surfaces. If you cannot reach the outside of the windows easily from the ground, you will have to get up on the ladder to get to them. Be careful. It is advisable to use the ladder only when another person is present, in case of accidents.

By using the newspaper, you should not see any residue of lint or streaks on the window. Newspaper gives a better result than paper towels.

Reinstall the screens and stand back and admire your handiwork. Take pride in beautiful, clean windows and a job well done, knowing that you have not added to the pollution of the environment.

Written by Marinell deGraffenreid – © 2002 Pagewise

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.