7 Most Common Window Cleaning Mistakes To Avoid

We all enjoy nice and clean windows, but as much as we try to avoid thinking about them, they sometimes seem to get dirtier faster than we can clean them. So, sometimes, we try to get it done quickly and easily or don’t pay full attention to the details, and they don’t look like we would want them to.

Today, we’ll have a look at seven of the most common window cleaning mistakes with some tips on how to avoid them, so let’s dig right in.

Mistake 1: Choosing the Wrong Time of Day

It’s easy to think that bright sunlight is better for cleaning windows because we can see any potential streaks and dirt, right? Well, it actually may cause the exact opposite and produce more streaks and, with that, frustration. The heat of the sun can cause cleaning solutions to evaporate quicker, leaving behind residue and streaks because it dries faster than you can clean it up, making the dirt even more noticeable.

To avoid this, choose the early morning or late afternoon, depending on which direction your windows face, to avoid direct sunlight or higher temperatures. This will allow your cleaning solution to remain on the surface for longer and ensure you can thoroughly clean your window without streaks. Overcast days are generally best for window cleaning, as you’ll run the lowest risk of your cleaning solution drying too quickly.

Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Cleaning Solutions

With many cleaning solutions on the market, it is easy to choose a chemical that is too harsh, use a cleaner that’s unsuitable for glass or try to mix up something on your own. However, harsh chemicals can corrode window surfaces over time, leading to irreversible damage. Likewise, homemade solutions can often leave behind residue that attracts dirt and grime, resulting in dirtier windows than before.

Instead, eco-friendly and window-specific cleaners are formulated to protect your windows while ensuring optimal cleaning. Look for ammonia-free cleaners, as that’s the main substance that leaves streaks and can damage certain types of glass.

Window Cleaning


Mistake 3: Ignoring the Frame and Sill

Most people clean the glass and leave it at that, but the frame and sill also contribute to the buildup of dirt and debris and may suffer from neglect. Start by dusting the frame and sill to get rid of bigger, loose debris, and then use a gentle cleaner on any remaining stains. Also, pay attention to any corners, nooks, and crannies that might hold dirt.

This will ensure that your whole window is clean, eliminate the buildup of allergens, like dust or pollen, and extend your window’s lifespan. You can use a soft-bristled brush or vacuum attachment to clean up the harder-to-reach areas. This will also allow you to check the frame and sill for any signs of damage, such as cracks or potential rot or mould. Addressing these issues quickly can prevent further deterioration.

Mistake 4: Using Improper Cleaning Tools

There are many different schools of thought about which material is best for cleaning windows. The often-used paper towels, like rough cloths, can leave behind scratches and streaks, while dirty or worn-out tools can also spread dirt and grime around instead of picking it up, so you might end up with windows looking worse than when you started.

The best tools are microfibre cloths and squeegees, designed to lift dirt and grime without scratching the glass. These microfibre cloths absorb liquids effectively and are lint-free, so they won’t leave any lint behind. Squeegees are great for removing water; ideally, ones with a rubber blade that really sticks to the surface and shape of your window.

Before cleaning your windows, always ensure all your tools are clean and debris-free. Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean your microfibre cloths, and check your squeegees for any signs of damage or wear and tear.

Mistake 5: Not Changing Cleaning Cloths and Water

One of the most common mistakes is to reuse dirty cloths and not frequently change your water. A dirty cloth can transfer any dirt from previous windows back onto the glass and leave behind dirt that may not even have been there in the first place, while dirty water is a surefire way to leave streaks behind.

The best method is to use two separate buckets: one for your fresh, clean water and window cleaner and a second one to rinse your cleaning cloth and wring out excess water before continuing. This will help you keep a fresh, clean surface.

Consider using distilled water, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Hard water has minerals that can cause residue and streaks on glass surfaces.

Window Cleaning


Mistake 6: Overlooking Interior Windows

Exterior windows are usually cleaned more often than interior windows. Sure, exterior windows are exposed to the elements and will generally accumulate more dirt and grime, but you will still find dust, fingerprints, and other debris on interior windows as well. Try to make it a habit to clean both sides when you clean your windows.

Remove anything that impedes access to the entire window surface, such as curtains, blinds or other window treatments. Use a gentle cleaner and microfibre cloth to remove dust, fingerprints and other debris.

If your windows have multiple panes, consider using a handheld steam cleaner to reach tight spaces and remove stubborn stains. Steam cleaning is an effective way to dissolve dirt and grime without having to resort to harsh chemicals or scrubbing. Finish by drying the windows with a clean, lint-free cloth to prevent streaks and water spots.

Mistake 7: Rushing the Cleaning Process

As much as we don’t like window cleaning and just want to get it done and over with, trying to rush it often compromises the final result. Take your time and go through all necessary steps, starting with loose dirt and debris and a soft-bristled brush or vacuum attachment.

Then, apply the cleaning solution and work your way from top to bottom to avoid streaks or drips. Make overlapping strokes with your squeegee to remove excess water and cleaning solution, again starting at the top and working your way down. Wipe the squeegee blade with a clean cloth to prevent streaks and water spots after each pass.

Finish by drying the edges of the window with a clean, lint-free cloth to remove any remaining moisture, and voila, you have a sparkling clean window.


Making one or more of these common window-cleaning mistakes is easy. Still, thankfully, they are easy to avoid, so you can enjoy clean and streak-free windows every time while also extending their lifetime. It’s a win-win situation. If you don’t have the time or tools to keep up with your window cleaning routine or may have harder-to-reach windows that would involve using a ladder or other obstacles, you can always reach out to the professionals.

Splash Window Cleaning has been the number one choice of businesses in Toronto and the GTA for over 18 years. With professional and efficient service, we stand by the quality of our service with our Splash Clean Guarantee! If you’re unsatisfied with your window cleaning, we’ll return within 48 hours and redo them free of charge! We’re not only window cleaners, but we also offer pressure washing servicesgutter cleaningasphalt sealing, and concrete paver sealing. And if you have trouble reaching the difficult places for your Christmas lights, we’ve got you covered!

Contact us today at 416-652-3074 for a quick and free estimate, or fill out our convenient online form to be your choice for residential and commercial window cleaning in Toronto!

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