I hate washing windows. A few years ago, I asked my husband whether he thought it made sense to hire someone to wash our 41 windows, 3 sets of French doors, and two doors. His response: "Windows need to be washed?" That line of inquiry got me nowhere.
The last two years, my mother has visited in the spring, and I've conned her into helping me (thanks, Mom). This year, she visited too early in the year. While my six-year-old did her best to help with windows a few weeks ago, the windows still need work.
I live near the ocean and have struggled to find something that would remove salt build-up. My new method did a great job.
Here's what you need:
2 old undershirts or other light-lint rags
a spray bottle of laundry detergent and water
a spray bottle of vinegar and water
You can repurpose a spray bottle from another product or purchase one at Lowe's for about $1.00. I'd estimate about 5:1 water to detergent and 2:1 vinegar and water. I like a strong vinegar solution, and you should be able wipe off the detergent solution with a dry towel with no sticky, soapy residue.
On the outside of the windows, spray the detergent solution and wipe with the first rag, the Dirt-Wiping Rag. You will want a separate rag for this step because it quickly will become covered with dirt (and salt near the shore). There is no way you'll get a clean window using only that; below is my Dirt-Wiping Rag after only four windows.
After you wipe off the grime with the detergent solution and Dirt-Wiping Rag, liberally spray the vinegar solution on the window and wipe with the remaining clean rag.
Unless your windows are covered with yogurt handprints, you should be able to skip the detergent solution step for the inside of the windows. Just liberally spray the vinegar and wipe with the clean rag.
My best window-washing tip: Never look at your just-cleaned windows in the setting sun because you will see every streak you missed. The same probably applies for sunrise, but I'm never awake at that time so wouldn't know.
Ten windows and three doors down, with miles to go before I sleep.