8 Clever Solutions for Cleaning Windows

Washing windows is a tiresome chore. Here are some expert tricks to have your windows sparkling in no time.

1. "My windows always streak after washing"
Use a window-washing squeegee with a smooth, soft rubber edge. Washing windows is a tiresome chore, but it's even worse when your labors leave streaks on the windows. Here's how the pros avoid streaking when they wipe off their windows:Use a window-washing squeegee with a smooth, soft rubber edge. (Or use crumpled-up black-and-white newspaper-avoid the color sections.) Dry a 1-inch (2.5 centimeter) strip at the top or side of each window and always start your squeegee there-starting on dry glass is one key to avoiding streaks. Don't wash windows in direct sunlight, because quickly dried glass is more susceptible to streaking. Evenings or cloudy day sare the times for window washing.

2. "My blinds are dust magnets!"
Use an antistatic spray.
To keep dust from piling up quickly, use an antistatic spray, such as Static Guard, on the window blinds right after you clean them.

3. "There's mildew on my window frames
"
Wash with a bleach-detergent solution.
Black or gray mildew spots on wooden frames can be cleaned for good with a solution of 2 ounces (60 milliliters) of household bleach and 1 ounce (30 milliliters)of laundry detergent in a quart of water. Wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands, sponge the solution on the spots, let it sit for ten minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

4. "My outside windowsills get dirty so quickly"
Apply a coat of floor wax.
Because your exterior windows are exposed to the elements, they are subject to collecting a lot of dirt. But there is a simple way to keep your sills clean: Wipe on a coat of clear floor wax to protect them.

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5. "My shades are filthy"
Dust or wash the shades.
Dust shades regularly with a soft cloth, a duster such as the Swiffer, or the dusting brush on your vacuum. (Be sure to dust both sides of the shades.) If they're stained or spotted, it's time for a real cleaning. Though you can wash them in place (with a drop cloth over the floor and furniture), it's best to remove the shades. Place one shade at a time across a worktable covered with a plastic sheet or shower curtain. Wash vinyl shades using a sponge and a solution of 1⁄4 cup white vinegar in 1 quart (1 liter) of warm water. Washing them in the bathtub is even easier. Run some warm water in the tub, add a squirt of dishwashing liquid, and wipe each side with a large sponge. To rise, dunk them in clean water or hold them under the shower. Then wipe with a clean, soft cloth.Many fabric shades can also be washed, but take a close look at the care instructions before washing them. It's best not to leave them in the water for more than a minute or so.

6. "My windows get dirty too fast"

Change your heating and cooling system's filter.
If the interior glass surface of your windows gets dirty unusually fast, you may need to change the filters on your furnace or air conditioner. Modern airtight homes trap more dust, pollen, dander, and other particles inside than ever before. Furnace and air-conditioner filters help trap that dirt and also extend the life of your appliances. Filters should be changed every month or two or anytime you can't see light through the filter when you hold it up to a light.

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7. "Secondhand smoke is killing my windows"

Wash it with ammonia solution.
To remove nicotine film or other grime from windows, you need ammonia. Mix 1 cup of lemon scented ammonia in 21⁄2 gallons (9.5 liters) of water and use this solution to clean the windows. The ammonia will cut through the grime, and the lemon scent will leave your house habitable.

8. "My screens are filthy"
Remove and wash. The best way to clean window screens is to remove them from the window and wash them outside. Using abroad, soft-bristled brush, scrub both sides of the screens with warm to hot water and lemon-scented dishwashing detergent. Pick up the screen by its edges, hold it at an angle so most of the screen surface is facing the ground, and rap one edge lightly against a firm surface. This will shake loose any dirt. Rinse with a hose and air-dry thoroughly before reinstalling.

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