Pros and Cons from a Professional:
There are few different ways you can go about cleaning your windows. They all have their pros and cons, but with these tips, you can make the most of these options:
1. Traditional method - Glass cleaner
Pros - Easy to do, materials are inexpensive.
Cons - Glass will develop build up over time. Smearing, streaks, and smudges are easy to do.
This is my least favorite method. There are many commercial and homemade solutions out there, but anytime you are wiping a window with a towel or paper product, you increase the odds of streaking. However, it is better than not doing anything.
Tip: If you notice streaks after cleaning, try watering down the solution little by little until you have the right concentration for your particular glass and climate. Also, buy 6 or so microfiber towels that you only use for wiping windows. Only air dry them after washing to avoid accumulating lint.
2. Non-traditional method - Water and microfiber towels
Pros - Towels are relatively inexpensive and last a long time. Streaking is less probable than when using glass cleaner. Won't leave the film that most glass cleaners can leave.
Cons - Microfiber towels can get linty if not cared for properly. They will not clean glass as well if there is food or grease on the window.
This is the method I recommend for most touch up jobs in the home. Keep one towel damp for cleaning and use the other (typically 6 or more) towels for drying. Very easy to do and great for daily maintenance.
Tip: As mentioned above, have towels that are only used for window cleaning. Make sure the damp towel is not so wet that water drips off of the glass, but not so dry that it evaporates before you can wipe them. You want to use tight circular motions to minimize any potential streaking.
3. Skilled method - Soapy water, squeegees, and blue huck towels.
Pros - Best way to get glass fully clean and remove dirt, food, or film.
Con - Squeegees take time to learn how to use them effectively. Quality equipment can be hard to find and expensive. May have to order online or go to a janitorial store.
This is the best way, in my opinion, to make mirrors and windows shine. It will take time to become proficient, but once you learn how to squeegee it makes cleaning glass a breeze.
Tip: For a beginner, start on one side of the glass and bring the squeegee across starting from the top, allowing the rubber to run along the top of the frame. When you run the squeegee in the middle of the glass, tilt the top part slightly ahead of the lower portion to ensure the water travels downward and won't leave a line in the middle of the pane.
4. Professional method - Hire a window cleaner
Pros - You can relax and not have to stress about the work.
Cons - It can be expensive and if you are hiring someone who you are unfamiliar with, you may not be sure of their quality of work.
As a window cleaner, I constantly have customers tell me, "I wish we had called you sooner!" Few people are able to get the results a professional window cleaner can achieve in just a short time.
Tip: Do your homework. Check their online presence and reviews. Get quotes. Remember, new windows cost thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars to replace, not to mention the property that they are around while working. It IS worth the extra $50-$100 for a job if you know they have outstanding reviews and have a long presence in your community. Zero, few, or several bad reviews are red flags. Act accordingly. Many companies change their name after working for a while and accumulating bad reviews or complaints. Don't be fooled, do your homework.