Q: I dread the thought of another spring window cleaning.The pros make it look easy. What’s their secret?
Jay Weiser, Fountain Hills, AZ
A: In a word: squeegee. Most window washing haters are doing it all wrong. Leave the spray cleaners and newspapers for cleaning your mirrors. It’s all about the squeegee!
Don’t be intimidated by the fancy swirling squeegee techniques you see the pros using. Those methods add efficiency, but they’re not necessary to get great results. A basic top-to-bottom swipe method will leave you with sparkling windows in a fraction of the time you’d spend using up rolls of paper towels.
You can get all the basic gear you’ll need for less than $30 at most home centers, including a 12-in. scrubber, a 12-in. squeegee, a bucket, a microfiber cloth and a razor scraper. Make sure you get a good quality squeegee that is designed to clean windows.
The process is simple and can be used inside and outside:
•Mix about 1 tablespoon of dish soap with a couple of gallons of cool water. Dip the scrubber in the solution and wring it out.
•Scrub the window. Use a razor blade to remove stubborn spots, such as dried bugs.
•Tilt the squeegee slightly and wipe across only the top 1 to 2 in. ofthe window; then wipe that strip with a dry microfiber cloth. This creates a dry edge.
•Wipe the squeegee blade with a towel. Then place the squeegee on the dry edge area in the top left corner of the window and pull down along the left edge of the window. Use even pressure, and do not lift the squeegee until you get to the bottom.
•Wipe the squeegee with a towel. Make additional passes down the window, overlapping the previous pass by a couple of inches, until you reach the right edge of the window.
•Finally, use the microfiber cloth to wipe around the edges of the window and over any wet streaks.
You can try other patterns, such as swiping across the window in overlapping passes from top to bottom. The key is to first create a dry edge where you will start each pass and to use even pressure and not lift the squeegee until you finish each pass.
A crystal clear, freshly washed window is a thing of beauty. Don’t let your dread of washing windows keep you (and those you live with) from that sweet satisfaction.