by Texas Homesteader ~
Mirror and window cleaning can be done quickly, easily and streak-free using these simple eco-friendly tips. No need for commercial glass cleaners to get a beautiful shine.
Whether mirrors or windows, glass cleaning has always been one of the most difficult surfaces for me to clean properly.
Oh sure I can clean the grime off of the surface easily. But trying to get the glass actually streak free used to drive me crazy. My cleaning session went something like this:
“There! Looks great. No, wait… is that a streak? OK, THERE! Wait… “
It was so frustrating. Until I remembered something my dad taught me years ago.
Dad said if you polish windows or mirrors in a with crumpled black & white newspaper after they’re cleaned but while they’re still damp, the streaks will disappear.
And by golly he was right!
My window and mirror cleaning routine is pretty simple these days. Very quick & easy. And even cheap, non-toxic and zero waste.
I have a repurposed spray bottle of a vinegar/water mixture in the cabinet beneath my kitchen sink for cleaning purposes. It’s an inexpensive, non-toxic and effective cleaner for many surfaces. But especially for glass.
So these days when I’m cleaning a mirror I’ll first spray the surface with my mixture of vinegar and water.
Then I use a damp rag to scrub the surface, the same as I’ve always done. Any splatters, dirt or grime disappears quickly with this step of cleaning.
But as you can imagine, the glass itself is certainly not streak free now. No worries!
When the glass is clean but still damp, I’ll wad up some black/white print newspaper and using a circular motion I’ll polish the mirror with it. The newspaper will finish drying the surface of the glass and polish it to a streak-free shine at the same time.
Let’s stand back & take a look…
YES! Now that mirror is clean, shining and streak free! (Can I get a hallelujah??!)
It’s fast as well as simple. Plus this cleaning method uses no purchased-just-to-be-thrown-away paper towels. Heck I haven’t purchased paper towels in over a decade.
And the glass cleaner in my repurposed spray bottle is super-cheap homemade & non-toxic – Just vinegar & water!
How many cleaners can you say are so safe they’re actually edible? My glass cleaner is! HA!
And there’s no waste. Now that my glass cleaning chore is complete I’ll take the wadded newspaper and toss it in my composter.
Surprising Benefit of Clean Windows
Our home features an open floorplan design. Light coming through the windows is a huge benefit of an open floorplan, and a large reason we opted for it in the first place.
Because of our open floorplan, most days we need no electrical lights to be turned on until the sun goes down.
Really! The light from the windows provides all the light we need in the entire house throughout the day.
Natural FREE light vs electricity purchased for that same light makes a huge difference, both from an economy standpoint as well as an environmental one. And y’all already know how crunchy-green I am.
Windows Don’t Always ‘Look’ Dirty
I’ve found it’s so true – the cleaner the windows, the more light comes streaming in. Although that seems like an no-brainer intuitive statement, I’m always surprised at what a difference in amount of light coming in when the windows are actually clean.
I mean, just looking at them, they don’t necessarily *look* dirty. But believe me, there’s a film of dirt on them. And a quick cleaning will prove that fact right before your very eyes!
So I use basically the same method to clean my windows as I did with the mirrors.
Typically for cleaning windows I’ll begin on the outside. So first I’ll remove the window screens.
The screens set aside for me to use the water hose to spray away any dust, spider webs, etc. But for now let’s tackle cleaning those windows.
I lightly spray my vinegar/water mixture onto the window glass surface. Each window pane is then scrubbed with a damp cloth.
If the windows are reeeeeeally dirty (which is pretty common living off a country road) I’ll rinse my rag and repeat. Sometimes I even finish this portion of window cleaning with a quick run from a squeegee. It seems to pull even more dirt off the windows.
Then just as with mirror cleaning, to finish up I’ll spray a very light spray with my vinegar/water mixture. Finally I’ll do a quick polish using some wadded up black & white newsprint newspaper. Voila! Streak-free, shining clear windows.
Thanks for the advice, dad!
I’m always amazed at how much more light comes through the windows after they’re cleaned. And using this method of glass cleaning assures the chore of window cleaning is quick and painless.
Time-Saving Tip On Washing Windows
Here’s a quick tip on washing windows.
You know how it is – you wash the outside of a window, then come inside the house to wash the inside of the glass as well. But looking closely you see a streak.
How could I have missed that?? Is it inside or outside?
Squinting you come closer to the glass and rub your finger on the streak to try to determine. You decide the streak must be on the outside. So through the house you go, out the door and around the house to get to the other side of the window.
Squinting and moving close to the glass you inspect the glass surface again. But, you’re not sure – maybe it really was on the inside. Hummmm…
Here’s a time-saving trick I learned years ago:
When you’re cleaning one side of your window, use vertical sweeping motions as you clean the glass. Then use horizontal sweeping motions when you’re cleaning the other side of the window.
The direction of the streak you’re seeing on the glass will help you easily determine if you need to touch up that stubborn streak on the inside or outside.
OMGosh this tip has saved me so many frustrations trekking inside & out when I guessed wrongly which side of the glass I needed to touch up.
So if glass cleaning frustrates you, give these simple tricks a try. In no time you’ll have clean, gleaming and streak-free windows and mirrors.
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