The Best Way To Clean Inside & Outside Windows Without leaving Streaks or Smears Behind

Everyone has at some point tried to clean the outside windows of their home. Most people that have had a go, have tried several ways to clean the outside windows without leaving streaks behind afterwards. Most have tried vinegar some have used vinegar and newspaper and lots have purchased professional window cleaning solutions online. I am sure that many

of us have tried to clean the windows using the traditional window cleaning method that you see window cleaners use with the lambs wool applicator , (most these days are not actually lambs wool!) and then finishing off with the rubber squeegee swirling from left to right and watching streaks appear as you glide up and down.

There is a secret as to why you may get streaks when using a rubber squeegee, keep reading, I will tell you in a bit.


The three main methods are, The Swirl, The Vertical Method and the Three Rag Roll. Some people would say four if you count cleaning windows using vinegar and newspaper.

How to clean glass windows without streaks in Four Simple Steps using the Swirl Method.

Step 1 Firstly, equipment and solution. You will need an applicator like this one, and a squeegee like this one. As far as solution goes, their are lots of different types of miracle solutions available. the only type you will need is good quality washing ups liquid like this one. You now have everything that you need to get started.

Step 2 Next runs a bucket of soapy hot water with plenty of washing up liquid. its best to squeeze the washing up liquid into the stream of water as the bucket fills to make sure that it dissolves.


Also squeeze a bit of washing up liquid onto the applicator its self. Rub it in with your hands so that you don’t get any clumps of washing up liquid on the glass.


Step 3 Apply the soapy water onto the glass with the applicator. Try not to get too much soapy water on the window frame, particularly on the top of the window.


Step 4 Here is the tricky part. Hold the squeegee with a very loose grip and a relaxed wrist.



Put the squeegee vertically on the glass at the left corner. If you want to start at the right then reverse the following instructions.

Run the squeegee to the right with the top edge of the squeegee about 2 inches in front of the bottom. (Very Important) See below image. This is because you want the excess water cleaned off the glass to fall away at the bottom.


If you adopt the wrong angle then you will find a line of water at the top of the squeegee. (see image)



As you reach the right hand top corner, start to turn clockwise so that the top of the squeegee goes into the corner. next proceed vertically down.




Continue to turn clockwise until you are effective holding the squeegee up side down. next turn clockwise whilst moving slowly and remember to collect any soap that may have got left behind in the turn.

Continue back to the right and continue down the glass to the bottom. Try to finish square against the window frame. Should there be any soap left in the corner you can wipe this away with a scrim or microfiber. if you do then only wipe once and make sure that the cloth is bone dry or you may risk a streak or smear.




The Vertical Method is a little easier for beginners and one worth learning as it is the best way to clean a window at height with a pole using the traditional method. This can be particularly useful for inside windows where water fed pole options aren't available.


Simply put follow the initial steps to soap up the window. Put the squeegee against the glass at either side (we will start at the left for this example). Pull the squeegee down the glass with the left side higher than the right side. If you are working to the right then keep the right side higher. This is because you want the water to run off the left side so that you can pick it up of the next stroke.


Once at the bottom lift the squeegee away from the glass and place it back to the top, overlapping by about an inch. As you lift the squeegee be careful not to let excess water o the squeegee drip onto the glass.



Keep going int he same direction until you complete the clean. Should you be left with any runs along the top of the window, wipe clean with a scrim of microfiber cloth (make sure it is a very dry cloth) If working at height, put the cloth over the squeegee so that you can reach.


The Three Rag Roll.

This is the best method to use for outside windows that have decorative lead stuck on them, when the water fed pole method is not available. The lead will prevent the window cleaner from using a squeegee. The reason that we use three cloths in rotation (hence the name 'Three Rag Roll') is because wet cloths leave streaks and smears. Don't get the window too wet as the water will sit behind the lead and cause problems later. Use cloth one to lightly dampen the glass. Use the second cloth to partially dry the glass. then use the third very dry cloth to remove any smears. Its a very simple method. The draw back to this method is that it is very labor intensive and requires the window cleaner to be in front of the glass. This means that for upstairs window, ladders may be required.


You can click here to return to window cleaning tips and tricks or continue to our next article.


Common questions asked.

How often do you need to wet your applicator?

You will be able to both see and feel when the applicator is getting dry. Us may need to add additional washing up liquid to the applicator. if so follow the steps in this article.


What sort of angle do you need to hold the applicator in relation to the glass?

It doesn't matter about the angle of the applicator.


How about stubborn stains on the glass?

You and either use a glass scraper or for less stubborn stains, many applicators have a scouring pad on the end of the applicator.