As a homeowner, it may not always be worth hiring a professional to wash your windows. The quality may not be as good as a professional’s work, but with the right approach, washing windows doesn’t always require an expert’s eye. However, while washing windows seems simple enough, many homeowners don’t invest in the right supplies. You can spend an entire afternoon rubbing a window down with paper towels and spray, only to wind up with streaky, cloudy glass and dirty screens.
Window Washing Supplies: 10 Important Tools and Resources
A windowpane with streaks may not seem like the end of the world, but in the long run, windows and screens that are not effectively cleaned can result in the build-up to harmful mildew and mold. These types of elements can grow and make their way into every room of your home, so properly cleaning a home is vital for the health and wellness of its occupants.
The risk of these hazards is why a lot of homeowners choose to hire a window washing service instead of doing it on their own. However, homeowners can complete this task quickly and efficiently with our recommended window washing supplies and process. In this article, we’ll share what quality window washing is and the supplies you need to get it done.
1. A Strong Bucket
An important window washing supply is a strong, clean bucket that is free of dirt and debris. A bucket with a sturdy handle won’t bend or warp when filled with water, making it easy to move from window to window and prevent accidental spills. In terms of size, the best bucket option will comfortably fit a squeegee and/or mop. Depending on the size, a heavy-duty bucket can cost anywhere between $15 - $25. If you designate a bucket for window washing only, you can use it to hold and store the supplies.
2. Dish Soap or a DIY Cleaning Solution
While there isn’t one correct soap to use for window washing, there are soaps and solutions that will work better than others. After filling your bucket with clean water, we recommend mixing it with a few drops of dishwashing liquid, such as Dawn. If you prefer a more natural alternative, you can also try white vinegar and warm water. Household vinegar, available at the grocery store, mixed 50/50 with water, is another cleaning solution that will leave your windows sparkling. Please note that, unlike dishwashing soap, the vinegar solution will not have suds.
3. Window Washer
A window washer will come with a squeegee and/or sponge on top, making it easier to clean the corners of windows. Many of these window washers will also include a 5 to 12 ft rod, which you can use to access hard-to-reach places. For homeowners who need the extra height, you can also purchase washers with rods that can extend up to 25 and 30 ft. With this extension, homeowners can use a ladder to wash larger and/or second-floor windows. A brand new window washer can cost anywhere from $40-$60, and washers with extended rods are typically priced closer to $100. Homeowners can also substitute a window washer for a mop. We suggest using a brand new or recently cleaned mop to ensure that debris, dirt, and residual chemicals are not transferred to your windows.
4. Clean Water
Having access to clean water is important for successful window washing. For outdoor window washing, having a hose nearby should suffice. However, homeowners with a second floor and/or large windows should consider a water-fed window washer pole. The water-fed pole feeds water to the rod, making it much easier to rinse off soapy windows. These poles are also similar in price to window washer rods.
For indoor window washing, a hose or water-fed pole to rinse off the windows is not feasible. In this case, a second bucket of clean water (without soap) is the best choice. While using window cleaner and paper towels seems like a good option, some cleaners leave streaks and chemicals on the windowpanes. Alternatively, some homeowners use distilled water for cleaning, ensuring that the minerals commonly found in tap water don’t leave behind any residue.
5. Rubber-Bladed Squeegee
A handheld, rubber-bladed squeegee will accelerate the process of drying wet windowpanes. Similar to a squeegee used in the shower, a squeegee for washing windows will remove excess water and prevent drips. Rubber-bladed squeegees can also come in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes, so it’s important to choose the right squeegee size for your window. Investing in both a large and a small squeegee may be ideal for making sure all areas and corners are effectively cleaned. These types of squeegees can be purchased for a few dollars, but we recommend investing in a sturdier piece to get the job done well.
6. Towels and Microfiber Cloths
While many people still use paper towels and window spray to wash their windows, towels or microfiber cloths are a better option that will not leave streaks. You can dab your towel into a bucket of warm water and soap, rub over your window, then dry with a microfiber towel or cloth. Dry towels are also useful for cleaning off dusty window panes and frames to scrub away caked-on dirt or cobwebs.
Terry towels are a popular choice for cleaning and can be bought in a package for $15-$25. Microfiber cloths are typically sold in packs for $10-$15. Homeowners that aim to reuse and recycle can also use old (but clean) t-shirts and rags for cleaning.
7. Window Washing Kit
For the homeowner in a hurry, a number of retailers sell window washing kits. Window washing kits may not always include the highest quality of tools but are a fair choice for one-time use on smaller windows. These kits can include a squeegee, a sponge, a bucket, a collapsible pole, a microfiber towel, and more.
Homeowners who have a second floor or large windows to clean will probably require a ladder. A sturdy ladder can be a great purchase for a homeowner who does a lot of their own cleaning and chores. It also ensures that every part of a window will be thoroughly washed and cleaned. If windows can easily be reached and cleaned without a ladder, they may only be needed for jobs such as roof and gutter cleaning.
9. Rubber Gloves and Masks
When washing windows, both indoors and outdoors, homeowners can be exposed to all sorts of irritants. Rubber gloves are an affordable window washing supply that can protect the skin from chemicals, grime, and dirt. Gloves that cover the hands and extend to the elbow will prevent skin from drying out or cracking and allow homeowners to comfortably use hot water to clean. Depending on the brand and quality, rubber gloves can cost between $10-$20.
Masks can also be used to protect homeowners from harmful chemicals and toxins, keeping dust and spores out of airways. The correct mask to use will depend on how much cleaning needs to be done, as well as how much dirt, debris, mold, and mildew is built up. Disposable masks won’t cost more than a few dollars, while masks with reusable respirators for windows in basements or attics can be from $20-$150 or even more.
10. Window Screen Cleaning Tools
When you’re planning to wash your windows, don’t neglect the window screens. Over time, window screens can become quite dirty from outdoor exposure, collecting insects, dirt, leaves, cobwebs, and more. There are a few different ways to clean a window screen, including soap and water, a power washer, a vinegar bath, and/or a Mr. Clean Eraser. To ensure that the screen is completely cleaned of any debris, you can also use an old toothbrush to scrub the corners of the screen, as well as a lint roller to collect smaller particles of dirt and dust.
Getting Clean, Streak-Free Windows and Screens
The process of washing windows is simple but requires time, patience, and the right number of supplies. Depending on how dirty your windows are, it may be worth getting a deep clean done before taking on the job yourself. We’ve cleaned countless windows and screens and have the tools and knowledge required to leave your space bright and streak-free. To learn more about our window washing services, as well as the additional exterior cleaning services we offer, request a free quote today.