Solving the big issues: Let there be light

Another reader request here, and about time too! It’s been too long in between these important issues. Today we are discussing windows. The cleaning of the windows. The method used. The time between cleans. Seriously important stuff. And do you know how much it pleases me that I have a selection of photos to choose from the last time I cleaned my windows? It must have been early Spring. Why yes, I am mental.

As you would know, I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to cleaning. Windows are no exception, although they aren’t done as often as everything else. In fact, they would be lucky to be done once a year in places that I don’t look out of much, and maybe twice a year in high traffic areas like our lounge room and kitchen.

A clean window is a thing of beauty. It just makes everything look better. Like a face with some make up on it, it just looks finished. Like it’s cared for. I could never live by the sea with all that salt spray – I’d be a mess trying to keep the view pristine and the windows clean. I actually spent one holiday by the beach cleaning all the windows for the first day before I could relax – that’s just how I roll. Cray you say? Yuh. Huh.

I don’t have any great secret mixtures for cleaning windows but I know that you all will and I have pen and paper ready for the list. I am old School. It’s window cleaner – the nasty blue stuff – and good quality paper towel. I need some absorbency and newspaper just doesn’t cut it for me.  It’s also got to be at least 3 ply – the thin stuff just won’t do and will leave little papery bits on the window. Shudder. When I’m doing the ones outside I use a bucket of hot water and windex and a broom so I can give them a good scrub (and remove cobwebs) before finishing off again with paper towel. It’s just good practice. I have been known to put my body and safety on the line for a clean window – wobbly ladders, hanging OUT of windows in high apartment building – whatever it takes people.

So what’s your secret to clean windows or do you just let them be? Do you live near the beach – DEAR GOD HOW DO YOU COPE? How often should they be cleaned – once a year in spring, or monthly?

Do you know what a pain in the arse my lovely windows are to clean? No squegee action here – it’s all hard muscle in those little window panes. I wonder if I was a maid in a past life..? Tell me your window cleaning ways oh lovely people…


  1. We live in a two storey house so my husband does upstairs and downstairs thoroughly around once a year. My kitchen window where I gaze out whilst doing the dishes is a weekly affair with windex wipes( greatest invention ever!), same with our glass sliding door, sometimes even more than once a week with all the little people here putting their fingerprints everywhere!

  2. I used to use windex (never the cheaper brand), however then my MIL kindly pointed out how I was killing my windows.

    As a woman who cleans glass as part of her job (she works in a museum where everything sparkles) she tells me the secret is near boiling water (not hot, not warm, “so-close-to-boiling-that-you-could-make-a-coffee” boiling), a glug of cloudy ammonia and a small squirt of dishwashing liquid.

    With that concoction you take your very expensive squeegie (she laughed at my Ikea one and made me buy a new one) and a non-fuzzy rag, and wet, squigie, and wipe down the edges with the cloth.

    To her credit, it does do a much better job than windex.

  3. Oh Beth I can feel a warm unfamiliar feeling deep with in me…it’s motivation…..I feel like maybe just maybe I shall clean my windows for the first time in years….xo p.s paper Towell and metho is what my mum always used….

  4. I just wait til my Dad visits and he does it for us. So probably about once a year. I wouldn’t want to do it myself and deprive him of the pleasure he gets out of it (much like you by the sounds of it).

  5. I’ve been putting this off for months. I have a thing for museum glass so I’m totally trying out April’s tips above.

  6. We totally gutted and re-built our house nearly six years ago. The builder employed professional window cleaners then and yep, they haven’t been cleaned since! Our house is split level, and yes we live by the sea…… For some very odd reason (I am a neat/clean freak) the state of my windows does not bother me (well, maybe a little, but I can live with it).

  7. Very hot water with methylated spirits in it and newspaper.

  8. Enjo all the way! Best thing ever the amount of times I have used it I have got mye moneys worth.big outlay great investment.

  9. Flickster says

    We were moving out of a rental a few years ago, in our agreement the agent specified that the windows must be professionally cleaned before moving out. Still to this day I could not believe what a difference it made.

    So now whenever I want to be distracted from the mess within the house, I clean the windows and put a bunch of flowers on the table. Makes people look outside the house and not be distracted by the dust inside…..

  10. Anonymous says

    My Husban is a window cleaner so we have clean windows year round, It makes such a differance when they are clean.

  11. Anonymous says

    I am an amonia/hot water/good paper towel girl and ALWAYS in spring. The need to rid the inside windows of condensation/mould which may have built up over winter sees me happily wiping away for hours. I also wash all the curtains at the same time. Takes a whole weekend, but I feel great afterwards! Kitchen window and sliding doors off family room get the windex wipes treatment more frequently out of sheer necessity.

  12. We live by the sea, and I cannot stand dirty windows!! I can’t explain the feeling of calm I have for the whole next day after I’ve cleaned my windows… sad, I know.
    Have tried the paper towel, but now only use microfibre cloths, much easier and less streaking.

  13. Ahh…I actually have very fond memories of cleaning windows. When I grew up it was a family affair…every spring dad did the outsides and mom, my sister and I did the insides. Very hot water and ammonia was my mother’s secret window potion…and squeegees and rags. Just thinking about the smell takes me back!

    These days my windows NEVER get cleaned. We live in a very high set Queenslander…probably about an eight meter drop from the windows to the ground. So since cleaning the windows isn’t really practical or possible.

    However, when I was pregnant and nesting I made my husband risk life and limb and clean all the windows…I just knew Baby C would feel better about entering a world where the glass was sparkling!

  14. I have noticed that you don’t have any window coverings, How do you do it?? Having paddocks all around, If I don’t close my thick sunout curtains as soon as it is dark I have a barrage of insects! now that is one thing but then from the slithers of light, i get the resulting spiders and webs and spider shit! and then frogs eating the bugs too! Now the frogs then leave their footprints and shit splats all over the windows- then of course there are the snakes that then come up to feed on the frogs. Horror all around!

    I have tried having those bug zappers out in the pool house and at the shed, to draw them there rather than to the house but it is always a pain.

    So my cleaning methods – on the outside a big hose and plenty of water with a soft haired broom squirted with sunlight washing up liquid, then I go over them with a microfibre cloth. Inside windex and paper towel too, or just my microfibre cloths, but i am going to try that museum glass cleaner above!

    I must recommend to you some purple microfibre cloths that I bought from in the states. They are the best you can get. I bought them for my girls at work and they rave about them too. They also clean any marks off stainless steel without any cleaner , just water. Get them you will not regret I promise!!!!

  15. Don’t beach & sea siders, have staff?? They can do the windows!!
    I just bought a 12 pack of Viva paper towel from CostCo, want a piece of my 3 ply paper towel stash??
    My windows, i’m a steam cleaner, kills the tennis elbow but GLORIOUSLY clean windows. I steam both sides, as the chicken run covers all the main windows down the one side of the house, i like them to be able to see us too. Right now it’s pouring in Canberra, great weather for ducks – literally, they are swimming around & showing off to the ducks, who are taking cover in the coop. Brrr, love Posie

  16. Oh man! I love your windows and would have put similar in my house… but cleaning them?… torture. I’m a windex and newspaper girl, but have been known to use the hose and a broom on those windows that are too high to reach. Outside, of course!

  17. I have these exact windows,only my panes are a little larger! They are PAINS to clean but I adore them and would suffer the pain of cleaning any day just to keep them! Twice a year for me (Spring and Autumn). Maybe once more depending on what the weather has done. Same method as you. (Its the only way) G.x

  18. You have beautiful windows lady. I don’t have enough windows to worry about the cleaning of them unfortunately. Terrace living! xo

  19. Ohhh those are some nice arse windows. I love me a clean window but i dont think i could bring myself to do it more than once a year. I have no secrets but I am aching for everyone elses! Tell me – what is the magic way?! I think a follow up post may be required. xsx

  20. Oh excellent my favourite sort of post. When we moved into the hut last year we began obsessing about clean windows, not only that, all our external doors are glass too, and our internal doors! Add to the mix 2 snotty nosed German Shepherds who smear their noses on the doors. I think we’ve cleaned them 5 times this past year. I did make a big mistake close to Christmas, I said we needed a proper window cleaning squeegie. A few days before Christmas Rob squirreled something away to wrap. Yep, he bought me a window cleaning kit. I was speechless. He did look a bit scared. He even admitted that when he told the shop assistant at the professional cleaning shop they almost wouldn’t sell it to him!
    I’m keen to try the museum recipe. As the blue stuff Santa gave me still leaves streaks.

  21. Thank you, thank you Beth! A very expensive squeegee and ammonia are now on my shopping list! xo

  22. I love clean windows.
    It’s usually done about 4 times a year here – each school holidays!
    You can tell I don’t have school aged children yet – but am a part time teacher.

    But a couple of weeks ago (during term – gasp!!) I got the urge and every.single.window. had to be cleaned that day.
    I use all Melaleuca products here – so it’s their glass cleaner with copious paper towel.

    You know what shits me though, the outer fly screens on some of my windows.
    I’m too lazy/unco to take them off so a beautifully cleaned window will have one pane of semi single sided clean. Grrr.

    How gorgeous are your windows???
    🙂 x

  23. Jim’s window cleaning. ’nuff said.

  24. sadly I am probably running biannually too, though I wish it was more. we have really big sliding windows and the really annoying part is having to lift the sliding side OUT to clean the exterior properly because of the fly screens – which means more often than not only the free side gets cleaned properly because hubby normally isn’t home when I clean them to lift the window out for me.. I can’t be without the fly screens in warmer weather! exterior is hot water, spot of dish liquid and a good splash of vinegar with squeegie thingo. inside is the windex and cut up old cotton clothes. my parents live by the sea in an apartment complex – they pay to have them cleaned monthly, though my dad has been known to hang out the side of the building when he couldn’t wait long enough for the cleaner to arrive..

  25. We haven’t cleaned our windows since the Nesting of 2010. Oh dear. About time I had a reason to nest again, maybe my windows might get cleaned.

  26. I was told by a window cleaner/ exterior house cleaner not to use windex. It actually makes dirt and dust adhere onto the windows as it leaves a filmy residue. He said the best thing was to use hot water with a squirt of detergent and a good squeegee… I figure you can’t argue with a pro! xx

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