How Often You Should Really Be Cleaning Your Window Panes

Washing the windows both inside and out is, to say the least, not the most fun household chore. While cleaning the inside may seem simple, there are a number of complications that could make it more difficult. For instance, certain materials may leave behind lint, which could make your panes always appear dirty. Further, even when using the right cloth, you may find it hard to keep the glass streak-free. As for cleaning the screens, this requires careful planning, as you'll need to remember which screens go in which windows.

This said, while the interior can have some difficulties, cleaning exterior windows often proves to be much more challenging. Depending upon the time of year, you'll need to make sure you're using the right water temperature so you don't break the glass. To reach high areas that need a bit more scrubbing, you may need to use a ladder, which can not only be inconvenient but also dangerous. However, even though this chore can be quite tiresome, we do have some good news: You don't have to clean your windows that often.

Every six months is often ideal

Most people only need to clean their windows twice a year, both inside and out (via Forbes), and the screens only need to be cleaned once a year. Those who clean their interior windows as part of their regular schedule, perhaps once a month or once every few months, may find this surprising. However, if there are no visible pieces of debris, fingerprints, or streaks, these surfaces shouldn't need to be touched very often. If you do find that your windows appear dirty before the six-month mark has arrived, you can always touch them up, but a full cleaning shouldn't be required. 

The best times to clean your panes are on cloudy days during the spring and the fall. This is because, during the summer, the sunlight could cause streaks of product to stay on your panes, and in the winter, it can be inconvenient to clean your windows in the cold weather. You'll also need to use cold water in the winter, as hot temperatures could shatter the freezing glass.

How to avoid common mistakes

If you often find that lint is left on your windows after you've cleaned them, you're probably using paper towels or a similar material, which can disintegrate and leave small pieces of the product behind. Instead, a microfiber cloth is best, and a squeegee could help you avoid streaks. When cleaning the screens, make sure you label each one so you know which window it fits into. To clean them, first rinse the surfaces with a hose and wipe them down with a mixture of water and a small amount of all-purpose cleaner, then rinse them again and allow to dry.

When cleaning the exterior of your windows, start by rinsing them with a hose as well. To reach spots that need more care, instead of climbing up on a dangerous ladder, use an extension pole with a microfiber cloth dipped in cleaner attached to the end. You'll then need to rinse again, and to avoid streaks, use a long-handle squeegee.