Get the worst part of the window-washing job out of the way by tackling exterior windows and patio doors first to remove heavy-duty grime built up over time from harsh natural elements that cling to outside panes. Pick a day that's neither hot nor sunny to attack this project; cool and cloudy are the ideal combination for streak-free results as the sun can actually work against your efforts.
Take a broom to your exterior windows before you start washing them to decrease the amount of exterior dirt and grime you'll have to deal with before you begin the washing process. This step saves time and energy. Enlist old cloth diapers, other types of lint-free rags or keep a dry squeegee blade on hand to dry the windows once the scum and dirt are removed.
Squeegees, sponges and cloths are fine for window washing, but you can save a bundle and contribute to the nation's recycling effort by using newspaper for the job. Wear gloves so you don't wind up with ink all over your hands. If you prefer a squeegee, avoid buying a cheap one to obtain better performance and less material disintegration when tackling this heavy job.
Stick to your budget by replacing pricey window washing products with a large container of windshield washer agent available at any automotive department. Window cleaner is formulated to tackle bugs, street scum and messy concoctions that wind up on car windows from highway driving, so cleaning your windows with the product is a snap. Alternately, serve the environment by mixing a cup of vinegar per gallon of water plus a little dish soap or a couple of tbsp. of plain ammonia per bucket of water.
The Right Technique
Get through the window washing job faster and with better results by employing techniques used by professionals: Mix cleaning agents in a bucket, dip your paper, squeegee or other applicator into the bucket and scour the window. Work from the upper left corner, moving your tool in downward strokes quickly and smoothly. Wipe the squeegee after each stroke, or replace the newspaper frequently. Use the dry side of the tool or drying cloths to wipe panes dry.
Save time, energy and frustration by marking each screen with its original location (e.g.: "Susan's bedroom; left window) using a piece of masking tape and a pen so that when you've finished cleaning your windows and doors, you can snap screens into place fast.