How to clean windows like a professional

For no money, little effort and a bit of fun.
How to clean windows

DINING NOOK The bay-window dining nook (above, where Sam is pictured reading) is a family drawcard. "We've been using that so much more lately," remarks Justin. "It's just the best being able to see the garden and what's happening outside while we're having a bite to eat."

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then your windows say a lot about your house. The beautiful windows we installed in our house when we renovated were, for me, one of the most significant changes to the way we live here. Inspired by loft living in New York, we chose big, vintage-style steel framed windows that open up the back of our house to reveal trees we never knew existed.

My husband cleans the windows downstairs every year for our Christmas party but the upstairs is my domain and these windows were starting to look a bit… gross. Filthy, inside and out. I’ve been sitting up here writing for Home Beautiful for months now looking out at the lovely view, while a growing film of grime has begun to obscure the trees and sky beyond the confines of my office.

This weekend was sunny, breezy and a lovely day to be outside. I stopped scrolling and resolved to clean my windows. While cleaning them I realised how easy it was and wanted to share the process because moving from window to window, one after the other was so satisfying that I went on to do the internal windows using the same method. They’re so clean! There’s neither a mark nor streak on them and I used my shower squeegee to do the job. It’s so easy. You can listen to a podcast while doing it, or your favourite music… even work. I dictated this story to you while I cleaned my windows.

How to clean your windows
This is me, loving my clean windows! (Credit: Photography: Cath Muscat / Styling: John Mangila)

Now, I’m not about to tell you to waste your whole afternoon, and don’t think I’m a person with a super clean house – I’m a bare minimum kind of girl and not a great housekeeper – if it doesn’t need doing, I won’t do it. But these windows were starting to annoy me and impair my view. So I’m sharing what I think is a brilliant hack to make you feel better every single day of the week.

Here’s what you need to do.

What you need to clean your windows yourself

  • Two clean buckets
  • Two clean rags
  • One washcloth or cleaning mitt
  • Two towels
  • One squeegee

How to clean your windows

Step 1 Fill your buckets

Fill one bucket with warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Not too much, you need only a tiny bit.

Fill the second bucket. With clean, cold water.

Step 2: Wash with soapy water

Roll one towel into a sausage and place it on the windowsill beneath the first window.

Using the cleaning cloth or mitt, wash the window from top to bottom, left to right, until the entire window has been soaped up. Redo with soapy water to ensure you wash away the grime.

Step 3: Rinse with clean water

On the same window, use the bucket of clean water and one clean cloth to rewash the window. This time it’s more like a rinse. Use the same action as when washing the window, working from top to bottom, left to right to wipe away soapy water, leaving a clean, wet window. Continue to the bottom, allowing the rolled-up towel to catch any drips or splashes.

Step 4: Squeegee excess water

Using the squeegee, work from top to bottom, left to right to draw the squeegee blade across the window. Repeat if necessary, working within the frame for a clean finish with no water or streaks remaining.

Step 5: Dry the drips

Use the second clean rag to dry the windowsill and frame, again working from top to bottom, left to right in a gentle movement. Remove any water that has pooled in the frame or corners of your window sill. Move your towel sausage to the next window and begin the process again from step one.

Not only does this method leave you with clean, streak-free windows using not only the most basic equipment, I can also guarantee a real sense of satisfaction.

It’s best to clean your windows on a warm day in absorbant clothing. Water may drip down your arm into your armpits!

hamptons inspired bungalow upper north shore dining area black gridded windows
(Credit: Photography: Chris Warnes / Styling: Lucy Gough)

I did this process in the afternoon on my office windows which have many panes and dirt on the outside, and more spotty and a bit cloudy with small spots of mould on the inside. The dishwashing detergent removed this with no problem at all. My efforts resulted in beautifully clean windows I’m looking out of as I write the rest of this story.

What’s surprising about this process is how quick and easy it was, and how satisfying. You don’t need to pay for a window cleaner, any special equipment or store-bought window cleaning products. The results were so good. Full disclosure: this is my husband’s method, so I can’t take the credit. He says you’re welcome.

Let me know if you try it yourself!

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