Between pets' noses, kids' fingerprints and regular household dust, keeping windows clean sometimes seems like a losing battle. Mirrors, glass shower doors and other glassy surfaces are just as prone to stubborn spots and streaks. Don't give up and accept that dirty glass is just part of your life. When you're armed with a set of quick and effective tricks to get glass spotless, it's easy to let the sunshine in.
1. Wait for a Cloudy Day
Here's some good news if it's currently sunny, and you're looking for an excuse to put off washing the windows. Save this task for cloudy days. Direct sunlight can make cleaning sprays evaporate before you have a chance to wipe them over the entire window. Plus, waiting until there's no glare on windows lets you spot streaks that you might not notice when the sun shines on them.
2. Start With Vinegar
When it comes to household cleaners, nothing beats basic white vinegar. It can be used to clean practically every surface in your home, including windows and mirrors. Pour a few tablespoons of vinegar into a spray bottle, add a few drops of dish soap and fill the bottle the rest of the way with hot water. Shake the bottle well. Spritz glass with the vinegar mixture and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
3. Banish Streaks With Black Tea
If using vinegar makes your windows streaky or if the smell is too strong for your comfort, try black tea. It makes a surprisingly effective window cleaner. Make a cup of black tea and let it cool completely with the tea bag inside the cup. Transfer the cold tea to a spray bottle and use it on windows along with a soft cloth. This method yields windows that are not just clean but also free of streaks, and all it costs you is the price of a tea bag.
4. Remove Minor Scratches With Toothpaste
Have your diamonds been scratching your mirrors? It's the only explanation for those random little dings and scratches. If you want to tackle them, try working a tiny amount of white (non-gel) toothpaste into those scratches. It's slightly abrasive and may buff out some of those imperfections.
5. Wash Outdoor Windows With a Mop
Washing windows on the outside of your house can be a daunting task. They're filthy and hard to reach, and spraying the hose at them isn't enough to get them really clean. A basic flat mop is the perfect tool for this job. Make a big batch of diluted vinegar and dish soap and wet the mop in it. Scrub those windows and follow with a rinse from the hose.
6. Substitute Coffee Filters for Microfiber
Microfiber cloths are ideal for washing windows and mirrors because they're super soft and absorbent, and they don't transfer lint. They can also be a little pricey, and you might not have one on hand when you're cleaning. Don't reach for paper towels, which can leave streaks. Instead, use a few crumpled coffee filters as a substitute for microfiber. They're nonabrasive and really effective for cleaning.
7. Use Lemon on Hard-Water Stains
Pesky hard-water stains are a problem in many homes, especially on glass shower doors. Naturally, water alone won't budge those stains. The acid in lemon juice will. Simply rub a cut lemon over water stains or mix lemon juice and vinegar in a spray bottle and thoroughly coat the water-stained glass with the mixture. Wait 10 minutes to let the acid break down the stains and then rinse with hot water.
8. Get Your Own Squeegee
You know what's really annoying about having to clean windows and mirrors? They'll just get dirty again, and you'll have to clean them again. It's worth investing a few dollars in a squeegee to make this job easier every time. (Plus, using a squeegee to remove cleaning solution from a window is so fun that you might actually be able to convince another member of your household to take a turn!)
9. Clean Eyeglasses With Dish Soap
Those who wear glasses are all too familiar with the constant battle to keep glasses clean of smudges. Cleaning them the wrong way only makes things worse and may even scratch the glass. Instead of buying every eyeglass cleaning product on the market, try using basic dish soap to wash your specs. Pour a few drops onto your fingers and gently massage the soap all over the lenses. Rinse them with warm water and dry them with a clean microfiber cloth.
10. Use Dryer Sheets on Shower Doors
Soap scum is inevitable when you have glass shower doors. Dryer sheets are an easy solution. Dampen one with water and scrub at the scum until it's gone. Even used dryer sheets can be used for this purpose.