How to Wash Windows

Our favorite window washing technique includes a secret ingredient: vinegar! Learn how to clean your windows inside and out with this simple DIY solution.

May 10, 2021

Washing your home’s windows inside and out doesn’t have to be a tough chore, but there’s definitely a method to be followed if you want it done well. Not only is it a physical workout that might challenge the calorie burn from your morning spin class, but cleaning windows can be a frustrating task, too. Windows are often hard to reach, weather conditions may not be in your favor, and your cleaning rags of choice might accidentally smudge the dirt and dust around more than actually removing it. Having the right tools and cleaning solution can make it quite a bit easier.


Photo by: Getty Images/Catherine Ledner

Getty Images/Catherine Ledner

Follow this approach, and we think you’ll be happy with the end result.

What You'll Need:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 16 cups hot water
  • 4 teaspoons dish soap
  • bucket
  • measuring cup
  • spray bottle filled with water
  • spray bottle for cleaning solution (for indoor use)
  • window washing mop
  • hose with spray nozzle
  • dry microfiber cloths (not paper towels)

Remove Your Screens

If you’re washing both the inside and outside of your window, transfer the screens to a safe location so they’re out of the way.

Mix the Cleaning Solution

In the bucket, combine the white vinegar, dish soap and hot water. Agitate the solution until it’s bubbly.

Wash the Window

Start by wetting the window with the spray bottle of plain water to pretreat the glass. If you can’t reach the window, you may want to mist it with your hose. Dunk your mop directly into the soapy water bucket and transfer it to the window. You can avoid a ladder by using a mop with a long, telescoping handle if your windows are out of reach from ground level.

Mop the window from the top to the bottom, because dirt and dust will flow downward as you work. Be sure to tackle the dirty window trim with your mop, while you’re at it.

Man washing window with long pole and brush outdoors in California


Man washing window with long pole and brush outdoors in California

Photo by: Getty Images/Bill Oxford

Getty Images/Bill Oxford

Rinse the Window

After scrubbing with the mop and cleaning solution, use the hose to rinse away soap and residual dirt, spraying again from top to bottom until the window is clean.

Dry With a Microfiber Cloth

A microfiber cloth, or a dry microfiber mop on a telescoping handle, is inarguably the most important tool for cleaning a window. A microfiber cloth will dry the window thoroughly and make it less likely that it’ll dry with unsightly streaks.

Man cleaning window of a home.


Man cleaning window of a home.

Photo by: Getty Images/Bill Oxford

Getty Images/Bill Oxford

Clean the Inside of Your Windows

Indoor windows can be cleaned following the same concept, but steer clear of using a drippy mop or hose. Use the plain water spray bottle to lightly pretreat the window and follow up with a spray bottle filled with the same ingredients you used for the outdoor solution. Use a dry microfiber cloth to collect the dirt loosened by the cleaning solution by wiping from top to bottom, and then lightly spray with plain water one more time. Use another dry microfiber cloth to wipe the window top to bottom before it drips and pools on your window sill.

Clean Your Screens

Before you reinstall the screens for your windows, you might notice how much pollen and dust has collected (especially if you frequently have your windows open). Rinse them outside with the hose on a gentle mist. Soap is usually not required. Spray top to bottom on both sides of the screen to help debris fall to the ground, and then use a microfiber cloth to wipe down around the edges of the screen. Avoid rubbing or pushing on the screen to dry it; screens are best left to air dry if you have a sunny spot to let them rest.

How to Clean Windows With Vinegar
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