How do professionals clean windows without streaks?

Cleaning windows can be a tedious task, especially when it leaves behind annoying streaks and smudges. Professionals who clean windows for a living have tricks up their sleeves to get windows crystal clear without all the aggravating streaks. Here’s a look at their techniques and cleaning solutions for getting flawless, streak-free windows every time.

Use the Right Tools

Having the proper tools is essential for professional window cleaners to get perfect results without streaking. Here are some of the key tools the pros use:

  • Squeegee – A professional-grade squeegee with a sharp, flexible rubber blade lets window cleaners apply even pressure to smoothly wipe water and cleaning solution off windows.
  • Window brush – For scrubbing and agitating dirt and grime before rinsing.
  • Cleaning cloths – Lint-free microfiber cloths are ideal for polishing windows after squeegeeing without leaving streaks or lint behind.
  • Extension poles – Let cleaners easily reach and clean high, hard to access windows from the ground.
  • Window cleaning solution – A specially formulated cleaning solution helps lift dirt while leaving windows spotless.

The pros know how to use these tools effectively together to get perfectly clear, streak-free windows.

Prepare the Window Surface

Before cleaning, professionals take steps to prepare the window surface for streak-free results. This includes:

  • Removing screens – Window screens are taken out so they don’t interfere with cleaning.
  • Scraping off debris – A plastic scraper or putty knife is used to gently scrape off any stuck-on debris like paint, tree sap or insect splatter.
  • Wiping down frames – Frames are wiped down to avoid drips onto the glass.
  • Spraying water – Spraying the window with water helps loosen dirt and acts as a lubricant for smooth squeegeeing.

Taking these preparatory steps allows cleaners to start with a clean slate for streak-free cleaning.

Use the Two-Bucket Cleaning Method

Professional window cleaners use the two-bucket cleaning method for optimal results. This involves filling two buckets with clean water – one with cleaning solution added. Here is the cleaning process using two buckets:

  1. Dip scrub brush into bucket #1 with cleaning solution.
  2. Scrub window surface with brush and solution.
  3. Rinse brush in bucket #2 with just clean water.
  4. Dip brush in bucket #1 and scrub another section.
  5. Rinse brush in bucket #2.
  6. Repeat steps 4-5 until entire window has been scrubbed with solution.

The two buckets keep clean solution separate from dirty rinse water, preventing reintroducing dirty solution back onto the window. This gives professional-grade cleaning power.

Rinse Windows Thoroughly

After scrubbing with cleaning solution, professionals thoroughly rinse windows with clean water. They use an extension pole and squeegee or a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle. The key is to completely rinse away all dirt, debris and cleaning solution. Any residue left behind can dry and leave unsightly streaks and water spots.

Squeegee Vertically First

Here’s a pro window cleaning tip – always squeegee in a vertical direction first. After rinsing, cleaners start at the top corner and pull the squeegee down in long vertical strokes from top to bottom. Vertical squeegeeing helps prevent drips from one section causing streaks on another.

Wipe Edges and Sills

For perfectly streak-free windows, the pros make sure to wipe down the edges and windowsills. Excess water and drips can collect in these areas and leave behind telltale streaks if ignored. Wiping edges and sills with a cleaning cloth finishes the job.

Squeegee Side to Side

After the initial vertical squeegeeing, window cleaners repeat the process using side-to-side horizontal strokes. Starting at one side, they pull the squeegee across the window from one side to the other. This ensures the entire window surface gets completely wiped clear of all water and cleaning solution.

Dry With a Clean Cloth

The final step is drying and polishing the windows with a clean, lint-free cloth. Microfiber cloths work great for this finishing touch. The pros use gentle pressure and smooth motions to lightly buff the windows dry without leaving any lint, streaks or smudges behind.

Use Clean Water and Solution

Dirty cleaning solution and rinse water is a recipe for streaky window disaster. Professionals always start with fresh, clean water and newly mixed solution. They frequently change their rinse water buckets and mix up fresh cleaning solution to keep it clean. Clean solutions = clean, streak-free windows.

Work Top to Bottom

Gravity can ruin freshly cleaned windows with drips from above. Window cleaning pros avoid this by always working from top to bottom. They start cleaning at the topmost area and work down methodically to the bottom. This prevents dirty solution and rinse water from cascading down and causing streaks on already cleaned sections.

Focus on Cleaning Motion

More important than pressing hard is using the right motion. Professionals use smooth, consistent brush strokes and squeegee movements without stopping mid-stroke. The right motion distributes pressure evenly and wipes windows clean without pushing around dirt or solution to cause streaks.

Angle Squeegee for Corners

Window corners and edges can be challenging. Pros angle their squeegee in corners to cleanly wipe away all liquid. They also lift at the edges of paned windows to prevent solution from getting trapped in window dividers.

Overlap Strokes

To prevent skips and streaks from missed spots, window cleaners use overlapping strokes. Their squeegee and cloth strokes overlap each other to make sure no area goes untouched. Overlapping also provides more uniform pressure and cleaning motion.

Take Time Between Steps

Rushing is a window cleaner’s enemy. Professionals allow plenty of time for solutions to penetrate and water to drip off between steps. Taking their time ensures windows are thoroughly cleaned and dried without streaking.

Double Check Work

Before walking away, the pros give windows one last look over. They double check edges, sills and corners and buff out any last streaks or water droplets. Taking a moment to inspect lets them catch any flaws before considering the windows done.

Clean Window Screens Separately

Window screens trap dirt, grime and debris. Cleaning them together with glass leaves screens dirty. The pros pop screens out and clean them separately for crystal clear windows and screens.

Safely Clean High Windows

Cleaning 2nd story and higher windows safely is crucial. Professionals use safety harnesses and extended tools so they can reach and clean high windows from secure footing. Safety first allows quality cleaning.

Rinse Window Frames and Sills

Window frames and sills easily get dirty from overspray. Pros thoroughly rinse frames and sills to wash away any cleaning solution residue. This prevents drips and streaks from frame residue.

Use Squeegee Channels

Channels create space between the squeegee and window for optimal water control. Professionals ensure their squeegee has functioning water channels so all liquid gets directed into the cleaning path rather than slipping out the sides.

Have Backup Squeegees

Cracked, worn or bent squeegees can streak. Window cleaning pros always have backup squeegees on hand so they can quickly swap out any that aren’t gliding smoothly across windows and wiping them cleanly.

Consider Weather Conditions

Outdoor weather impacts results. Window experts plan outdoor cleaning for overcast days without direct sunlight. Sunny days can cause cleaning solutions and water to dry too fast, leading to streaks.

Use Low Mineral Water

For cleaning solution, filtered, distilled or demineralized water produces the best results. Tap water contains minerals that can leave water spots. Low mineral water eliminates spotting issues.

Wipe Away Excess Before It Dries

Window cleaners keep a towel handy during the job. This allows them to immediately wipe up drips and excess cleaning solution before it dries and leaves residue. Quick wipe ups prevent streaks.

Clean Window Screens

Dirty window screens ruin the overall look of clean windows. Professionals remove screens and clean them with a brush, mild cleaner and rinse. Clean screens enhance visibility and complements clear glass.

Rinse Cleaning Tools After Use

Pros rinse away dirt, rinse out brushes, and wipe down other tools after each use. Letting residue dry on causes streaky messes on the next job. Keeping tools freshly rinsed maintains cleaning power.


Streak-free windows separate quality cleaning jobs from amateur work. Professionals produce crystal clear results by using proper tools, methods and solutions. Following these best practices allows anyone to clean windows like the experts do – without all the frustrating streaks and smudges.

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