Tips to Streak-free Windows

brilliant windows

Window cleaners and home owners alike are always asking me what is the best soap for cleaning windows. Should I use a commercial soap or just dish soap? Is ammonia okay? How do I keep from leaving streaks? Like much of the window cleaning business, many times this comes down to personal preferences, but here are some good considerations to keep in mind.

Ammonia

Many homemade window cleaning soaps are made with a mixture including household ammonia. Ammonia can be an inexpensive and effective cleaner, but there are important precautions to its use.

  1. Never mix ammonia with bleach. Even in small quantities or where the residue of one may be present, kept these two products separate. Ammonia and bleach combine to form a very toxic chlorine gas.
  2. Ammonia is poisonous and not safe for children or pets, even more so than most other soaps.
  3. Ammonia should be used with gloves and in a very well-ventilated area. Prolonged exposure can be dangerous.
  4. Ammonia is damaging to tinted windows.

As with other chemicals, be sure to read all label instructions and cautions and MSDS information.

Dish Soap

Another component for homemade window cleaners is regular dish soap. Used in a correct soap-to-water mixture, this can be a good choice for some, but dish soaps tend to leave a build-up of residue over time.

Window Cleaning Soap

All of the window cleaning soaps that we carry are ammonia-free and made of soaps specifically designed for cleaning windows and prolonged use.  They are all designed to work with a squeegee, the tool of choice by the pro’s.

Dish soap and window cleaning soap are less caustic to use than ammonia. The pro window soap is designed to provide the perfect amount of slide for the squeegee.  With the debris suspended in the solution and the squeegee able to slide, the window will dazzle and shine.

Other Tips

No matter what type of soap you decide to use, here are some tips to make those windows sparkle and to avoid streaks.

  • Avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight. This will cause the soap mixture to evaporate more quickly. If you have to wash hot windows, a water wetter, or squeegee glide, might help.
  • Remember, more is not necessarily better. Too much soap in your mixture can leave streaks on the windows.
  • Use a washer to apply the soap and a squeegee to remove it. Then, touch-up the edges with a lint-free towel. Microfiber towels work well for windows. (Remember to avoid washing towels with fabric softener or in a machine where fabric softener is used. This will cause towels to leave streaks.)
  • Make sure your tools are clean. Don’t use a really dirty washer. All of that dirty stuff on the scrubber can make it a lot more difficult to squeegee to a streak free shine.
  • Make sure your squeegee rubber is in good condition, an old blade can chatter or have knicks in the surface, causing streaks to be left behind.

Do you have additional questions about the various window cleaning soaps available?  Comment below or email us from the About Page!

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21 comments

  1. What type of dish or window cleaning soap would be best to use for cleaning windows? I ask this because my son and I are thinking about buying a good soap that would give us some streak free windows. As part of our small commercial window cleaning business we’ve been in search of some good tools to use.

  2. Rob Benton says:

    I was wondering if you know if newspaper is also good to use for cleaning windows. I have heard this, and even tried this, but I still can’t figure out if this is a myth. It seems to clean them better, but what I am not sure on is whether the newspaper is causing damage to the window overtime. I’m curious if anything if maybe the quality of the transparency in the window decrease by using newspaper.

  3. Being able to clean my windows without having to deal with the streaks that go across them would be nice. I should replace my windows and use this cleaning method on them. They are old, covered in streaks and scratches, and starting to cause a draft anyways.

    • Jamie says:

      Yes, unfortunately there’s no good fix for scratches or old seals, but a good cleaning regiment should lengthen the life and beauty of new windows.

      ~ Jamie

  4. Drew says:

    Ammonia is my go to product for window cleaning so that’s a good suggestions. I may just have to try some of these other ideas you have. Thanks for sharing.

  5. My husband and I recently moved into a house that has a lot of windows. Although I am excited for how well-lit our home will be, I am overwhelmed by the idea of cleaning all of them. I really appreciate all of the suggestions that this post makes, especially the tip about avoiding cleaning windows in direct sunlight. It makes a lot of sense, but it’s something that I have never considered.

    • Jamie says:

      Oh good. I’m so glad you found this post helpful. I hope it helps with cleaning all of those many windows!

      ~ Jamie

  6. Laurie says:

    I’m not a fan of the dish soap or the ammonia. I haven’t tried the soap specific for window cleaning yet though. I will have to look into that, thanks!

    • Jamie says:

      I’m glad this post was helpful. Yes, soap specifically for window cleaning is designed to not leave behind a residue, which can help in your windows staying cleaner, longer.

      ~ Jamie

  7. Rachel Finn says:

    I never thought about how cleaning windows in direct sunlight could cause streaks. That’s a great tip! I’ve also heard that using a super high quality microfiber cloth can work for keeping streaks away. Have you ever tried that technique?

    • Jamie says:

      A high quality microfiber cloth is good for touching up around the edges, to catch drips. One thing to keep in mind there would be to make sure when you wash the cloth, you’re not using fabric softner. That will will a residue on the cloth and can cause streaks.

      ~ Jamie

  8. Elden Gatley says:

    I agree that ammonia can be an effective cleaner for windows. I think it’s because of how powerful the chemical is. As you mentioned, though, it can also be dangerous if not used properly.

  9. When cleaning windows, I think that you should only use products that are made for cleaning them. There are plenty of things out there that could harm the windows. Like you said, if you use a cleaner with ammonia and you have tinted windows, that can damage them. If anything, I would feel better with a professional company cleaning mine.

  10. Vivian Black says:

    It can be hard to keep my windows clean with two dogs and a toddler. The advice to make sure and not use too much soap in your mixture was good to know. I also appreciated the tip to avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight. I have found that using a good squeegee has definitely made the most difference and made the process faster.

  11. Hazel Owens says:

    I didn’t know that ammonia was dangerous to tinted windows. I normally use store-bought window cleaners, and I’ve never taken notice of if they have ammonia or not. I’ll be more diligent in looking at the cleaners’ labels in the future, and I might try using dish soap occasionally as well. Thanks for the info!

  12. I wouldn’t have thought that cleaning windows in direct sunlight would help instead of hinder. It seems like the best way to get streak free windows is through trial and error. Though if you don’t have time then maybe it’s best to hire professionals.

  13. john says:

    Thank you very much for mentioning the precautions with ammonia Although whole article is very informative.keep it up!

  14. This site gives us a lot o positives idea that helps us cleaning our every day in life . Thanks .

  15. Christina says:

    You’re right about the low expense of ammonia. It can also be quite effective.

  16. Trenton says:

    Dirty windows are one of those small things that irritate me especially in my car. I have tinted windows but I did not know that cleaners with ammonia damaged the tint. This is something I will look out for when buying cleaners. Thanks for sharing.

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