AT HOME MAGAZINE

5 tricks for flawless windows

Getting blinds right is just one element of a thorough window-cleaning job. (Dreamstime/TNS)
Getting blinds right is just one element of a thorough window-cleaning job. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Window cleaning is never fun, but doing the job right involves much more than a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth and a spray cleaner. These five tricks will help you get perfect windows.

Clean out the window tracks

Window tracks attract dirt like few other areas in your home. You can clear gunk out of your window tracks in a hurry with this mixture: Blend equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. (Add a bit of dish soap for extra punch.) Sprinkle baking soda along the inside of the window track, then spray. The mixture will foam up; just let it sit in the track for 5-10 minutes to loosen up the grime. Clean out the foam and gunk with a toothbrush or painter’s sponge, and your track will sparkle like new.

Clean your blinds quickly

Blinds take forever to clean by hand, but this trick will save time. Take a pair of kitchen tongs and wrap a rag around each end. Secure them with rubber bands. Spray cleaning solution on the rags. Then, lightly clamp them to a slat and swipe the dirt away. (Make sure the rags completely cover the tongs to avoid scratching your blinds.) Continue this process on every slat, and your blinds will be clean in no time.

Clean your windows perfectly

You can get a flawless, streak-free shine by cleaning your windows inside or out the same way the pros do — with a squeegee. You can buy one from a big-box store or order online. For cleaning solution, either buy from a store or make your own by mixing two tablespoons of white vinegar into 1 gallon of water. Apply your solution, squeegee it off (moving top to bottom, left to right) and remove any drips with a clean microfiber towel. For particularly tough marks, use 0000 steel wool, a low-grit material that shouldn’t scratch glass.

Repair a scratch

You can repair superficial window scratches on your own with a little effort. Only try this on standard windows; specialized windows require qualified care. And if the scratch is deep enough to catch a fingernail tip, it’s probably too deep to repair.

For homemade scratch remover, mix a paste of water, white toothpaste and baking soda. Rub it into the scratch with a clean, slightly damp cloth. Rub the paste in a tiny circular motion and try to avoid applying it outside the scratched area. Once finished, use a clean soft cloth to wash the window. This process may take several attempts to minimize or completely hide the scratch.

Clean window screens

People often overlook screens when cleaning windows, but they can quickly build up dust, gunk and insects. A horsehair brush or even a vacuum cleaner with brush attachment can get rid of most dirt. Outside screens or particularly dirty indoor screens may require a more thorough cleaning. Remove them, gently wash with a brush and soapy water, rinse them with a hose, then let them dry completely before putting them back. Many window-cleaning companies will also take care of screens, but this usually costs extra.

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