The Perfect Combination: Harnessing the Power of Steam and Traditional Methods for Windows

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Updated on:

August 30, 2023

Efficiency Showdown: Steam Cleaning vs. Traditional Methods for Windows

Your windows are your viewing gateway to the outdoors. Having clean and streak-free windows makes a difference in the vision and brightness in your home. How many times have you cleaned your windows and then asked yourself, how could you have gotten the windows cleaner and streak-free? Cleaning windows can be frustrating if you do not achieve the clear windows you want. As you search for answers, there are some simple things you can do when cleaning your windows that will give you the clarity and view from your windows that you want.

Key Takeaways:

  • Traditional Window Cleaning: Gather cleaning items, clean regularly, choose a dry day, use vinegar solution, clean screens, vacuum before interior cleaning.
  • Steam Cleaning: Use steam cleaner for efficient and chemical-free cleaning, wipe with microfiber cloth, benefits include sanitization and mold and mildew removal.
  • Common Questions: Steam clean windows, no streaks, no vinegar needed, steam cleaner works on double-glazed windows.

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  1. Traditional Windows Cleaning
  2. Cleaning Windows with Steamer

Commonly Asked Questions for Archiving Cleaner Windows

1. Traditional Window Cleaning

You can choose to use traditional methods for window cleaning with window cleaning chemicals. You also have the option of using a steam cleaner to effectively and efficiently clean your windows. Steam cleaners also offer the benefit of disinfection. Any way you choose, by following a simple and effective window cleaning process and tips, you can achieve the clean windows you desire.

1.1 Items For Cleaning Windows

There are few things you can gather to prepare for cleaning windows.

  • Sponge
  • Windows microfiber cloth
  • Squeegee
  • Medium-sized Cloth
  • Towel
  • Bucket
  • Window cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Old toothbrush
  • Spray bottle
  • Step stool
  • Vacuum

You can learn more about professional window cleaning tools at this guide

1.2 How Often Should I Clean My Windows?

Cleaning your windows is an ongoing process. If you notice smudges, fingerprints, dog marks or other dirt on your windows, take a quick moment to clean them off. You can spot clean those with warm tap water or a commercial window cleaner. Rotate the cloth on the glass if you are cleaning multiple spots.

Deep cleaning windows every two to three months can be best. How often you clean is dependent on the dirt, dust and pollen levels in your area. If you live on a dirt road, your exterior windows will get dirty quicker, and require more frequent cleaning.

Do a cleaning comparison for yourself. Clean two windows that are side-by-side. Clean the interior of one and then the interior and exterior of the other. See if there is a difference in the clarity of the glass. This can help you develop your cleaning schedule for the interior and exterior windows in your house. Your family and your house plants will appreciate the sunshine that clean windows deliver.

Many homeowners that live in a cold climate clean their exterior windows in the fall and spring.

before and after windows cleaning

1.3 Spread the Cleaning Out

Do not feel that you have to tackle all of your windows in one cleaning session. If you clean the windows in two to three rooms at a time, it may not seem like such a large cleaning project.

1.4 Clean Windows on a Dry and Cloudy Day

Choosing the right day for cleaning will make all the difference with windows. The sun will heat up the surface of your windows. This will cause the cleaning agent to dry before you have a chance to wipe it off. This will cause streaks to appear on the window. You will not win this battle.

Choosing an overcast day or the shady part of your house for your window cleaning day is the way to clean. This will yield clean and streak free windows.

1.5 Cleaning Exterior Windows

Mix a cleaning solution of 50/50 vinegar and water in a bucket. Use a clean sponge with this natural and water-based solution to loosen and free the grime and dirt from the window surface. Clean the window from top to bottom with a back-and-forth cleaning motion.

Promptly after, use a squeegee to remove any excess water from the glass surface.

A squeegee can often leave window streaks. Use a spray bottle with the vinegar and water mixture to finish the cleaning. Spray the solution on the glass and wipe with a back-and-forth motion on the glass surface. Use a microfiber cloth for this step until the window is dry.

For stubborn stains around the base or molding, you can clean them with a brush or old toothbrush. Follow up with a cloth around the area for a 100% complete clean.

1.6 Clean the Window Screen

Remove the window screen if possible and spray with a garden hose. Run a sponge or cloth over the window screen with dish soap or the cleaner of your choice. Rinse and let air dry.

Be sure to thoroughly clean your sponges after your cleaning is complete so they are ready for your next cleaning job. This also helps prevent household chemicals from being mixed if you clean with a different agent in the future.

cleaning windows with sqeege
Cleaning windows with sqeege

1.7 Cleaning Interior Windows

When cleaning interior windows, you have to be careful of the surrounding areas including the walls. Before you start cleaning the actual windows, use a vacuum to free the window sills and surrounding areas of dirt and dust. This will inhibit the loose dirt from mixing with your cleaning solution and creating a muddy substance.

Remove the window coverings if possible. If you have drapes, clean them according to the instructions. For blinds, clean both sides with a microfiber cloth or duster. You can also clean each slat individually with a damp cloth followed up by a dry wipe.

If you have plants on your floors or furniture near your windows, you may want to move them prior to cleaning.

Use your vinegar and water mix in a spray bottle to generously spray on the window. Spray the window you want to clean top to bottom. Clean one window at a time. Wipe the window in a back-and-forth motion with a microfiber cloth. If you do not have a microfiber cloth, use a medium fiber absorbent cloth to clean the dirty window. Select brands of paper towels can also work.

If you still see streaks or the window needs a touch up cleaning, use a lighter mist spray with your cleaning solution. Go over the area with a dry cloth.

If you do not want to use the vinegar and water solution, you can use a commercial cleaner for windows. There are many liquid or aerosol cleaning agents to choose from. Find the best one to clean your windows.

To put the finishing touches on your cleaning job, take a soft or microfiber cloth and polish the glass. This final cleaning step will remove any smudges or smears that may still be on the glass.

1.8 Cleaning Film from Windows

Smoke and other contaminates can form on your windows. The way to clean window film does not significantly differ from the window cleaning tips we detailed above. For effectively cleaning the film from windows, you will have to rotate your cleaning cloth frequently.

Film can be a thicker and a more stubborn grime on glass. If you do not rotate your cleaning cloth frequently, it will cause multiple layers of smudges and streaking dirt on the glass.

1.9 To Clean with Newspaper or Not

Newspapers can be used to clean windows. Newspapers do not leave behind fibers that some cloths can. Newspapers can also be stronger than paper towels. You may find ink residue on your hands after using a newspaper. There are also some newspapers that use oil-based ink that may leave a residue on your windows. If that happens, steam can easily remove that residue.

windows steam cleaner
Steam cleaner for windows

2. Steam Cleaning of Windows

A great way to clean windows is to use steam. You get the same results as professional cleaning services. With your own machine, you will save money. Steam vapor delivered at a high temperature will result in streak-free windows. You will also find that using steam to clean windows is very efficient. Steam cleaning lets you achieve the results you want the first time in fewer steps than traditional windows cleaning methods.

2.1 Using Straight Steam as a Cleaner

The first step in steam cleaning windows is to load your water in the steam cleaner reservoir. You can fill with tap water to steam the glass surfaces as long as your water does not have a high mineral content. If it does, you can fill with distilled water. You do not have to use hot water. Search out a power source, and you are ready to go.

You can use a handheld steamer or a portable steam cleaner. There are high quality steam cleaners on the market. Do not steam clean cold windows. The heat could crack the window.

Set your steam cleaning machine for low pressure steam. This steam setting will allow for less moisture. It is not necessary to use an attachment. Use steam to pass over the glass surfaces from top to bottom. Let the steam do its work. The steam will remove dirt, grime and bacteria. Wipe the window clean with a microfiber cloth in a side-to-side motion. You will immediately see that the window is cleaner.

There will be no streaks on your clean windows because steam cleaners do not use any household chemicals. If there is any residual moisture on your steam-cleaned window, it will simply evaporate.

portable steam cleaner
Portable steam cleaner

2.2 Steam Cleaning With a Squeegee Tool

Some steam cleaning machines may come an attachment assortment. This could include a squeegee or window cleaning attachment. If your machine has a squeegee, you can use it to steam clean windows. Determine which method works best for you to steam clean.

Use one side of the squeegee tool to steam the window. The steam will roll from the machine, cleaning as it is delivered. Move the steamer from top to bottom on the glass surfaces. Turn the squeegee attachment over and squeegee the moisture from the window surfaces. Use the same top to bottom motion. If there are areas, such as under a handle that the squeegee could not reach, use a cloth to wipe the excess steam.

The squeegee steam cleaning method is a way to clean that will yield similar results to using a cloth to wipe.

You can replace squeegee with mop attachment to clean floors and ceramic walls.

2.3 Benefits of Steam Cleaning with a Machine

There are multiple benefits of steam cleaning your windows.

  • Steam sanitizes as it cleans
  • Steam penetrates the trim for a complete clean
  • Cleaning with steam takes only two to three simple steps
  • Steam is eco-friendly
  • Steam kills bacteria and germs
  • Steam removes mold from exterior windows
  • Steam is chemical-free
  • Steam eliminates small insects and mites
  • Steam removes oil and water-based stains
  • Steam eliminates trapped allergens and pollen
  • Steam is safe for surrounding surfaces
  • Using steam for window cleaning is safe for pets
  • Using steam for window cleaning is safe for plants
  • Using steam to clean windows is quicker
  • Steam cleans handles and hardware in one step
  • Steam can also be used to clean drapery and furniture
Check this guide for car window cleaning

3. Commonly Asked Questions to Achieve Cleaner Windows

Can I clean my windows with a steam cleaner?

Absolutely. Using steam to clean windows is one of the most effective and easiest methods to use. A steam cleaner is the ultimate cleaning machine that uses hot steam to remove all forms of dirt and grime from windows. Steam cleaning is a simple two to three step process.

Learn more about best vacuum steam cleaners

How do you steam clean windows without streaks?

Window streaks are caused by the window chemical as you clean. If you steam clean windows with a machine, you do not have to use chemicals. Steam is delivered at high temperatures. After you deliver the steam, you simply wipe away the vapor and dirt from the window.

using chemicals to clean windows

Can I put vinegar in my steam cleaner?

There is no need to use vinegar when cleaning with a steam cleaner. The steam does all the work. Steam effectively cleans and removes germs and bacteria from the glass. You only use water with steam cleaning.

Learn more about best microfiber towels for glass.

Can you use a steam cleaner on double glazed windows?

Double glazed windows are also known as double paned windows. You can use a steam cleaner to clean double-glazed windows. Steam cleaning these types of windows is much like steam cleaning other types of windows. A squeegee attachment can be used along with the steam to clean double-glazed windows.

Learn more about removing of water spots out of windows and paint.

About the Authors

Olga Drążewska
With a decade of experience in export operations and logistics, I bring a wealth of expertise to the field. I've navigated the complexities of logistics with precision, ensuring smooth operations and seamless exports. Cleaning expert.
Sabrina Tretyakova
In the world of cleanliness and hygiene, Sabrina Tretyakova stands as a beacon of expertise and dedication. As an ISSA-certified cleaning technician, Sabrina brings a wealth of knowledge and three years of unwavering commitment to her profession. Having served a staggering 1,200 clients

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